The Zenfone series was introduced by Asus couple of years back and they did pretty well everywhere because of the features and the value for money. With Zenfone 3 series, Asus is taking the lineup to next level in terms of build, design and performance. We had a chance to spend sometime with the most recent entrant – the Zenfone 3 (3 GB variant) and this is our review of the device.
- Mobile phone
- Power/Travel adapter
- Data cable
- SIM eject tool
- Quick Start Guide
Build and Display:
We knew Zenfone 3 was one of the most beautiful devices made by Asus as soon as we held it for the first time. There is 2.5D glass both on the front and the back held by a metal frame which feels sturdy. The rounded sides make the device comfortable to hold in hands and provides a good grip. The back of the device is very glossy and a finger print magnet due to the glass layer but still looks great with Asus’ Zen circles pattern called the “Zen design”. There is a 16MP camera along with the laser sensor for focusing and LED flash. The fingerprint scanner is placed below the camera and at the lower end we have the Asus logo.
On the right side, we have volume rocker and the power/lock key. The buttons are solid and provide a good tactile feedback when pressed and to the left side we only have a hybrid sim slot. At the bottom there is a USB Type-C port, primary microphone and the speaker. There is a 3.5mm audio jack and the noise cancelling microphone at the top.
The Zenfone 3 has a 5.2 inch FHD IPS display with 75.6% Screen-to-body ratio. The display has a brightness of 600 nits making it vibrant and crisp. The color reproduction is good, the viewing angles along with outdoor visibility is great. Above the screen we have a 8MP camera, proximity sensor and the earpiece. Below the screen we have 3 capacitive touch buttons – Back, Home and Options which are not backlit but very responsive.
The Zenfone 3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset which consists of a 64 bit Octa-core processor clocked at 2GHz with Adreno 506 GPU and paired with 3GB RAM. Snapdragon 625 is one of the first processors to be fabricated using the 14 nm technology to provide superior performance and at the same time power efficiency. The performance of Zenfone 3 was super snappy and smooth, be it animations or switching between applications. Asus has done a good job with memory management too making the 3GB to effectively manage running applications. The fingerprint scanner on the back is pretty good and accurate, sometimes even identifies the pattern when fingers were wet. Below are some of the benchmarks of Zenfone 3.
The device runs on Asus’ own OS called the “ZenUI” based on Android Marshmallow 6 and is very snappy. There are lot of customizations available for the user right from toggles in the notification bar to the multi purposing navigation keys. The OS offers applications like mobile manager to optimize the main memory, clean up cache or apps. There are also different modes offered like Normal mode which is the default one, Easy mode which makes icons look larger and reduces app usage and finally kids mode which helps in locking applications and taking calls. The only drawback or negative of the ZenUI is the number of pre-loaded apps by Asus. The device consists of at least 15-20 applications from Asus which cannot be un-installed and also some third party applications.
Zenfone 3 features a 16MP camera on the back and a 8MP camera on the front for selfies. The camera on this device is easily one of the best we have seen so far. It produces amazing pictures with natural colors and great details. The camera has a f/2.0 aperture with 6P largan lens setup and uses the company’s TriTech auto-focus technology to combine laser, phase detection and continuous auto focus resulting in very quick focusing for pictures.
The camera also features optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS) to produce stable shots and videos. Outdoor pictures are very vibrant and detailed while indoor pictures were also pretty good. There is manual mode which allows you to play with focus, shutter speed, exposure etc to produce professional like pictures. The front camera too produced very detailed pictures with good color reproduction. Overall we were very satisfied with the camera of Zenfone 3.
Call quality and battery life:
The call quality on Zenfone 3 is pretty good and there is no distortion. The voices were loud and clear on both sides of the call and even the loudspeaker offers good quality sound. Connectivity wise, the phone supports 4G and offers good speeds. The wifi connectivity was pretty stable even with weak signals. The device has a 2650mAh battery which might sound less for a device of this caliber but thanks to Snapdragon 625 processor, the phone produces great battery life even after heavy usage with games, music and videos. You can easily charge the device once and use it whole day and still have little juice left at the end. The device comes with USB Type-C port that enables fast charging and also quick transfer of media to the phone.
Zenfone 3 is a great phone in terms of build quality, performance and most importantly the camera that takes amazing pictures. The phone is easily recommendable for anyone who wants to do casual gaming, daily tasks including intensive ones at times, for watching videos, and a click a lot of pictures and videos. The battery life is very good even with intensive usage and far superior when compared to some devices having a bigger battery capacity. The only concern is the pricing of the device because of which Asus might find it difficult selling expected number of devices. The device is currently listed for INR 21,999 and goes head to head with likes of flagships like Le Max 2, Lenovo Zuk Z2 and MI5 which are all priced lower. If you are a person who is only concerned with good performance and high quality camera without worrying about heating issues, then Zenfone 3 is easily the best one available in market right now.