Asus first came up with the Asus Zenfone in 2014. Mainly targetted at mid-range segment of smartphone buyers, the device was a great success. The second generation could not repeat the success story of the Zenfone though. Maybe it had something to do with the stronger competition.
For 2016, however, Asus seems to have a different strategy ahead. The focus now has shifted towards the premium segment. Asus Zenfone 3 looks forward to competing with the giants like Apple and Samsung and other such bigwigs.
Asus Zenfone 3 ( ZE552KL ) Full Review
With multiple models and variants across, let us make an attempt at understanding the 5.5-inch version in the following paragraphs.
Design and build
The Zenfone 3 is a completely different model from the predecessors. It comes with an all new design parameters. The reasoning is quite obvious. Asus wants to shed its tag of being a budget brand and move towards being a premium device maker.
In a stronger departure from what has been the current trend of using an all-metal unibody design, Asus has introduced something entirely different. The Asus Zenfone 3 has curved glass both on front and rear. The glass on the either side is secured by a metal frame.
The device appears and feels durable and quite sturdy. The ease of comfortable handling is quite evident. The rounded edges of the Asus Zenfone 3 make it quite good to handle and grip it.Asus has made it a point to pay attention to all the details while designing the looks of the phone.
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The space below the screen houses the capacitive buttons for Home, Back and Recent Apps buttons. The tactile feedback of the buttons is quite easy. There is no backlight, though. It could be a reason for some worry.
The physical dimensions read 56.4 x 77.4 x 7.5mm and it weighs at 155 grams. That would make it neither lighter or slimmer, but the importance being paid to the comfortable handling makes it a good choice. The glass on either side may make it a little slippery, but not to the extent of making it uncomfortable.
The Asus Zenfone 3 comes with a 5.5 inch full HD IPS display. The resolutions read 1080 x 1920 pixels. The display is quite sharp. We are sure you will love watching those high definition videos and high-intensity games on your device.
Asus has stated that the device has a 77.3 screen to body ratio. The display provides you lifelike colors which are quite vibrant. The Zenfone 3 has a brightness level of 600 nits which should make it one of the brightest screens. The pixels density stands at whopping 480 ppi.
The viewing angles are comfortable. The screen also has a good sunlight legibility. The screen is a 2.5 D curved one along with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. You can customise the display parameters with the Splendid app from Asus.
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The insides and performance
The Asus Zenfone 3 – ZE552KL variant in our case – is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. The 64-bit octa core processor clocks at 2.0 GHz. Coupled with it is the Adreno 506 to handle the graphics. You get a whopping 64 GB internal storage.
You can expand it by another 2 TB with the aid of a microSD card ( by the way, do we have microSD cards of that capacity available as of now?). In addition, you will also get 100 GB of cloud space free for two years. This initiative has been in collaboration with Google.
As for the performance, the Zenfone 3 works through the multitasking in a breeze with the help of 4 GB RAM. There have been no complaints of frame drops or stutters while playing games.Even the high-end games like Asphalt 8 or Need for Speed perform quite easily. Launching of apps and switching between different apps is quite trouble free and smoother.
The fingerprint scanner to response quite quickly. It has been observed to work seamlessly even with wet fingers. Even the connectivity in terms of call quality has been impressive. Switching between different network modes is quite easy. You get decent download/upload speeds.
One of the best features with the Asus Zenfone 3 is its ability to hold on to weaker WiFi signals.The device has been found to get a few great benchmark statistics. The existence of a USB Type-C connector ensures faster transfer speeds.
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The rear camera on Asus Zenfone 3 is of 16 MP resolution. It comes with a f/2.0 aperture and a 6P lens system along with dual LED flash. The camera has a Sony IMX298 sensor. Asus claims to have developed its own TriTech autofocus technology on Zenfone 3.
The technology combines laser, phase detection and continuous autofocus together to arrive at best focusing. It has been stated that the device can lock into focus in just under 0.3 seconds.The camera – as has been a constant feature with all Zenfone models so far – is one of the best features on this phone.
You have access to Optical Image Stabilisation along with Electronic Image Stabilisation. They would be much helpful in getting great snaps and shooting some high-end videos respectively.
The images shot in low light like the indoor shots have a great detail. That could be because of the high-end focus technology. The flash works great in lighting up the dark shots. Zenfone 3 can record videos at HD and full HD resolutions. You also have 4K video recording functionality.
The 8 MP front camera is capable of shooting decent selfies with a lot of details. Even the low light shots were found to be quite good. You also have some nice settings to enhance the quality of the shots. Beautification is one such tweak. You can record full HD videos on the front camera.
The camera app on Asus Zenfone 3 is quite good in terms of customizations and settings. It comes with a wider range of modes to support almost every condition. HDR Mode improves the dynamic range, while Low Light Mode takes care of dimly lit scenes. Manual Mode offers you the settings that would be needed by professional photographers. Other modes include Night Mode, Super Resolution Mode and Real Time Beautification Mode.
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The Asus Zenfone 3 runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0. The customisation is by ZenUI 3.0. The UI is quite cleaner and comes with some new features not available in the previous versions of Zenfone models. ZenMotion is a neat and great addition that supports some nice gestures. There is also an app named Mobile Manager which lets you control different settings including managing your app permissions and RAM usage.
There is also a Theme Store to find your favourite content.However, one of the points that we did not like is the plethora of preinstalled apps. We wish Asus had lowered the number of them.
There are apps like PhotoCollage, Do It Later, Share Link, ZenFone Care, ZenTalk, Laser Ruler, Quick Memo, Splendid, Puffin, ZenCircle, ZenFlash camera, and MyAsus Service Centre. Many of them are probably never used by most of the users.
Battery and other features
The Asus Zenfone 3 has a nonremovable 3000 mAh battery. Video loop tests have indicated a back up of over 13 hours. Under standard conditions, you should get more than a day’s backup.
There is a support for fast charging.As for connectivity, it does support 4G on both SIM slots, but you can have 4G enabled on any one SIM at a time. The 4G speeds are quite decent. Other connectivity features include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, GPS/A-GPS, and Glonass.
Well, at Rs. 27999 it would definitely be a good choice. There are many positive points in favour of it. Faster and smoother performance and UI are one of them. However, the camera could be one of the great features that you will fall in love with. It could face stiff competition from the recently launched One Plus 3. Please note that there are different versions launched for the varied base customers.
The different versions include a 5.2-inch ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL) priced at Rs. 21,999, a 5.5-inch ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) at Rs. 27,999, the ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) at Rs. 49,999 and the ZenFone 3 Laser (ZC551KL) at Rs. 18,999. The most premium model, named ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL), is available at a price of Rs. 49,999.
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Share your views here about the features and review of the Asus Zenfone 3. We would love to have your feedback on the latest Asus premium phone.