We recently reviewed the ZenFone 3 Max from Asus which was mid-range mobile focusing on battery along with a good camera and design. ZenFone 3 Laser is it’s sibling with a smaller battery but identical in terms of other aspects. Let us see how this device fares compared to the Max version.
ZenFone 3 Laser has a unibody metallic design which looks premium and feels solid in the hand. The device features a 5.5 inch FHD LCD display protected by a 2.5D Gorilla glass. The phone measures 149x76x7.9mm and weighs 150 grams making it a relatively lighter device. The back has a protruding camera along with the LED flash and laser focus, below which we have the finger print scanner and at the bottom there is Asus logo. To the left side, we have a hybrid sim slot and to the right we have power and volume rocker keys. On the top we have a 3.5mm audio jack along with a noise cancelling microphone and bottom houses the speaker, primary microphone and the microUSB charging port. We would expect companies like Asus to start implementing the Type-C USB for their devices given the price they are being sold at.
The 5.5 inch LCD display has a resolution of 1080×1920 with a pixel density of 401 ppi producing crisp text and images, and is also vibrant. The color reproduction is very good and the brightness level is sufficiently high with good outdoor visibility and viewing angles. Asus has improved the quality of it’s mobile displays considerably over their previous models.
ZenFone 3 Laser is powered by the octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clocked at 1.4GHz along with the Adreno 505 GPU. On the memory side, we get 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB. Like other ZenFone 3 models, Asus has offered the free 100GB Google drive space for two years here as well. The phone performed well mostly with the snappy UI and only slowed down when too many apps were open. There were no heating issues given it is the power efficient SD430 processor. The device is well suited for the casual users who play games occasionally or play less graphic intensive games. Below are some of the benchmark scores for the device.
The device runs on ZenUI 3.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is very snappy. There are lot of customizations available in the ZenUI which includes a store for themes as well. There are lot of pre-installed applications like trip advisor, need for speed, Sims Challenge etc which could have been avoided by Asus. You also get many Asus apps like Photo Collage, ZenCircle, Mini Movie, ZenSync, Weather, Game Genie, Do It Later etc.
There is a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED real-tone flash. The laser focus on this device is similar to the one on Asus Zenfone 3 model which helps in quickly locking the focus, 0.03 seconds to be precise when taking pictures. The camera is capable of taking some good pictures when the lighting conditions are great but we can notice some noise when there are slightly low lighting conditions. There are modes like Manual and HDR Pro which help in taking better pictures. Low Light mode is a great one to capture pictures during night times or at low lighting. The 8MP front camera also captures good pictures and has beautification mode by default that can be disabled. Overall the camera performance is good and consistent.
ZenFone 3 Laser has a 3000 mAh battery which easily lasts for more than a day with browsing, Youtube videos, calling and messaging. Unfortunately the phone does not support fast charging like the other ZenFone models. The phone supports 4G LTE and all the usually connectivity options. The voice clarity was good and the loudspeaker was clear and sounding well.
Overall the Zenfone 3 laser is a good mobile on it’s own but at the price point it is offered, makes it difficult for us to recommend this device in the midrange segment. The display, good design, battery and camera are all pros but the Zenfone 3 Laser looks like a redundant device in the line-up where Zenfone 3 Max is very similar to this device and with a bigger battery too.