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Zenfone 3 review

Asus launched the Zenfone 3 in India this month, and the price starts from Rs.21999. We will give you the Zenfone 3 review in detail. The 5.2-inch Zenfone 3 (ZE520KL) priced at Rs. 21,999; the 5.5-inch ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) at Rs. 27,999; the Zenfone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) at Rs. 49,999; the Zenfone 3 Laser (ZC551KL) at Rs. 18,999. The most premium model, named ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL), is available priced at Rs. 49,999 with a Special Edition variant priced at Rs. 62,999.

ALSO READ: Asus ZenPad 3S 10 Tablet and ZenScreen Portable Monitor Launched

Asus Zenfones were cheaper with the Intel chipsets. Thanks to Intel’s exit from mobile SoC market, Asus can’t keep Zenfone prices low. Using Qualcomm’s chipsets raised the prices.

Zenfone 3 review

Here is the review of 5.5-inch Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL). This model will be available in Shimmer Gold, Moonlight White, Aqua Blue, and Sapphire Black.

Design

This Zenfone 3 review has a lot to talk about its design. Unlike the previous generation Zenfone models, this third generation has a different design. Asus Zenfone 3 has a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on both front and rear side of the phone, this make the device look elegant. Gorilla Glass 3 is kind of old now, Samsung Galaxy S7 has Gorilla Glass 4. The front bezels are thick and comes with thin stripes over it. This handset has rounded curved and it makes gripping the handset easy. There are no visible antenna bars on the rear panel, instead they run on the top and bottom. Asus used capacitive Back, Home, and Recents buttons which are placed right below the display. These buttons don’t have backlight, which makes them difficult to use in the dark. Holding the device doesn’t give the feel that you are holding a premium phone which cost Rs.27,999.

Zenfone 3 review

Asus Zenfone 3 is not the slimmest and lightest smartphone in the market with its 7.69mm thickness and 155 grams in weight. The rear glass does make the device slightly slippery, and it will be wise to use both hands for a better grip. The rear camera lens sticks out of the rear panel, and it may get scratched in prolonged use. But, Asus claims that the sapphire lens on the Zenfone 3 will provide protection from any type of scratch.

Zenfone 3 review

The rear camera sits accompanied by an LED flash and a fingerprint scanner, which is placed right below the camera. The phone is wide and it will make it tougher to reach the fingerprint sensor. Asus logo is placed on the bottom of rear panel. The power button and volume buttons are placed on the right side, and hybrid SIM slot is on the left side. The bottom has the USB Type-C port as well as a speaker grille and microphone. The 3.5mm audio jack is on top.

According to the company, the Asus Zenfone 3 has a 77.3 percentage screen-to-body ration. The 5.5 inch IPS display with Full HD (1080×1920-pixel) resolution is sharp and it is a pleasure to watch videos and play games in it. The display has a pixel density of 401PPi, and brightness rating of 600Lux, OnePlus 3 has 800 Lux on our tests. The display is vibrant and offers rich colors. We had no issue with sunlight visibility or viewing angles. A blue light filter makes the display more comfortable to use at night. The Asus Splendid app will help us to make changes to the display settings. The display can also support touch recognition through gloves.

Zenfone 3 review

The display doesn’t have the deep black that most premium smartphones have. It has an IPS display, which is far from AMOLED display which we can see in smartphones like OnePlus 3.

Specifications

The Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clocked at 2GHz with integrated Adreno 506 graphics, as well as 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. There is 64GB internal memory and it supports MicroSD cards up to 2TB. Customers will also get 100GB of free cloud storage for two years.

The hybrid SIM slot can be used with one Nano-SIM and one Micro-SIM or MicroSD card. The company says that the both SIM slots can run 3G/4G, but only one SIM card can connect to 3G/4G at a time.

This smartphone has a 3000mAh non removable battery with support for fast charging.

The rear camera is Sony’s IMX298 sensor, which is of 16MP with f/2.0 aperture, 6P Largen lens and dual LED real tone flash. The front facing camera has 8MP with f/2.0 aperture. The rear camera uses Asus’ new TriTech auto-focus technology which Asus describes as a combination of laser, phase detection and continuous auto-focus modes.

This handset has a 5-magnet speaker at the bottom, which the company claims to deliver up to 40 percent battery performance that previous Zenfone models. Connectivity options are Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, GPS/A-GPS, Glonass and Bluetooth.

Asus Zenfone 3 runs the company’s new ZenUI 3.0, which looks far better than the first generation Zenfone OS. The new interface is clean and has real-time animated weather widgets and new wallpaper motion effects. Users can download free as well as paid themes, wallpapers, icons, and ringtones using the all-new Theme Store.

ZenMotion is a new feature in ZenUI 3.0, which consists of various touch and motion gestures. There is a one handed mode option, that basically shrinks the display to one corner of the screen for easy access. The same feature is also available in Xiaomi’s MIUI. Users will have to enable this features in settings, and double taping the home key will trigger the mode.

Zenfone 3 review
Zenfone 3 review : Asus Zen UI 3.0

Swipe upwards from the bottom of the display to launch the Manage Home page. It gives you several options such as Apps & Widgets (to add new apps or widgets to home screen), Home edit (for changing the icon size, scroll effect, and font), Wallpapers, Icon Packs, ZenUI Theme and Lock Apps (which allows you to lock certain apps). The dropdown notifications shade packs the standard toggles for various settings.

There is a RAM cleaner app called the ‘Mobile Manager’ to clear background apps, check performance and app permissions. While setting up the phone, Asus offered a really handy way to download commonly used apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. This feature definitely saved us some time.

Zenfone 3 review
Zenfone 3 review : Asus Zen UI 3.0

Overall Asus ZenUI comes with lots of features and it looks clean and colorful. But there are lots of preloaded apps like the Asus branded apps some of which might never be used, including PhotoCollage, Do It Later, Share Link, Zenfone Care, ZenTalk, Laser Ruler, Quick Memo, Splendid, Puffin, ZenCircle, ZenFlash camera, and MyAsus Service Centre.

Camera

The Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) has a 16-megapixel rear camera has an f/2.0 aperture and 6P Largan lens. This camera uses Asus’ TriTech auto-focus technology which combines laser, phase detection and continuous autofocus. The company claims that the camera can focus in just 0.03 seconds.

The camera also supports features like optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS), which are nice features and will come in handy. The camera module if of 16MP, but the default image resolution is set to 12MP, we can change the settings using the camera app. The camera app is fast and easy to use.

Outdoor photos are decent with vibrant colors. The low-light indoor shots were also decent but we noticed noise at the edges. Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) could be the best option for low-light shots. The dual-LED real-tone flash did the job well. Asus Zenfone 3 also support to record 4K videos.

Asus Zenfone 3 Camera Samples

The 8MP front camera surprised us with sharp images. Selfies were clean with decent amount of detail. The low light shots were also not bad. The front camera can record Full HD videos.

There is HDR mode to expands the dynamic range and enhance detail from high-contrast scenes. The Low Light mode enhances light sensitivity for clearer and brighter low-light shots. Manual mode offers DSLR-like camera settings. Real Time Beautification mode applies multiple facial enhancements even before you press the shutter button. Super Resolution mode is claimed to take composite images at up to 4X resolution, and Night mode slows the shutter speed allowing clearer still shots.

The super resolution mode does give images with more detail and less noise than regular ones. The HDR mode also works very well.

Zenfone 3 also supports features like GIF animation mode, which captures a series of images and coverts them into a GIF animation. The Zenfone 3 also supports Timelapse and Slow Motion videos.

Performance

The Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) can handle multi-tasking very well with the octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor and 4GB RAM. Apps launched with ease and switching between apps were also fast. While playing games like Need for Speed: No Limits, we didn’t face any frame drops.

Zenfone 3 review

Zenfone 3 review Zenfone 3 review Zenfone 3 review Zenfone 3 review

The fingerprint sensor gives quick response, and we didn’t have to try more than once to unlock the device.

Network connectivity was very good; we didn’t face any call drops during the test. It has the ability to hold to even weak WiFi signals, and the 4G download speeds are fast as well. Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) has USB Type-C for faster file transfers. The single speaker placed at the bottom part gave loud sound with less distortion compared to other smartphones in the same segment.

AnTuTu returned a score of 38,250, while Quadrant produced 36,818. GFXBench and 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme produced 24fps and 8,143 points respectively.

ALSO READ: Asus ZenBook 3, Transformer 3 Pro Launched in India

Battery life

The Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) comes with a non-removable 3000mAh battery that ran for 13 hours and 45 minutes in our video loop test. In our Zenfone 3 review with moderate usage the device managed to last through a day with over 40 percent left at the end. We used apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter, and streamed music while running other everyday tasks. We also used the camera occasionally. We tried gaming, YouTube videos, recording 4K videos which made us to charge the device twice in a day, which is usual.

Zenfone 3 review
Zenfone 3 review : Asus Zen UI 3.0

The device does get hot, while extensive usage. There is considerable amount of heat, especially while recording 4K videos, but it was expected.  In our Zenfone 3 review, the device didn’t cross the 35-37 degree Celsius barrier.

Asus claims that the device can give 2 hours of talk time just from 5 minutes of charging. Zenfone 3 took 90 minutes to charge from zero to hundred. Within 20 minutes, it was between 30-40 percent.

Conclusion

At Rs. 27,999, the Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) smartphone directly competes with the OnePlus 3 (Review). The phone does have good design, and display quality. Asus Zenfone 3 will be available offline unlike the OnePlus 3, which will help Zenfone 3 to reach for more customers. If you want a smartphone with great design, and the ZenUI over the stock Android, Zenfone 3 can be considered. We hope our Zenfone 3 review is helpful for you.

ALSO READ: Asus ZenWatch 3 with circular display launched at IFA 2016

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