Following the ASUS Zenvolution launch in Malaysia, consumers were left at the edge of their seats during the announcement of the suite of ZenFone 3 smartphones coming to the market. Among the family of devices is the 5.5-inch variant of the standard ZenFone 3. This particular model fits right in the upper mid-range smartphone segment, pitting against the likes of OnePlus 3 and Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro. Read on to find out my thoughts.
Beautiful to Look At
Design-wise, ASUS has certainly stepped its game with the ZenFone 3. It features contoured glass body – front AND back – giving the device a stylish glossy finish as opposed to the ZenFone 2 metalised body. Where it excels in beauty, it fails in practicality. The device feels very slippy in hand, as one could imagine with an all-around glass body. I felt like I needed to be hyperaware of how I am carrying, holding and handling the ZenFone 3; one drop, and it could be the end of it! And don’t get me started on the smudges! If you’re the sort that dislikes your phones being a fingerprint magnet (and fragile), run for the hills!
Despite its shortfalls, I do love the whole multimedia experience on the ZenFone 3. The camera is particular strikes my fancy, with little touches of user-friendly features that makes capturing moments faster and easier. For example, instead of pre-setting your timer for selfies (in Beautification mode), just drag the shutter button following the line – how far you drag it is the amount of time (up to 5 seconds) you have to get ready to selfie! In general, pictures and videos come out great, and further enhanced by the clear and crisp Super IPS+ display.
Given the hype over the ZenFone 3, my expectations for the device was already set. That said, on both the AnTuTu and PCMark benchmark tests, the ZenFone 3 scores lower than its supposed competitors, namely the OnePlus 3 and Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro. Perhaps something to ponder about. The overall performance of the smartphone is snappy and there is no noticeable lag switching between apps and games. Heat is also not an issue with the ZenFone 3, perhaps the advantages of a glass body. While I expected the benchmark results to coast mid-range results, I had the shock of my life to see the 3DMark score of 467! Not sure why though, I had no problem playing Asphalt 8!
Glass, glass everywhere
The ZenFone 3 uses the Corning Gorilla Glass 2.5D front and back.
Be sure to turn off the flash light if you’re not using. It’s so bright, it’s borderline blinding.
Full of Bloatware
I suggest upon receiving your ZenFone 3, pick and choose what pre-loaded apps you’d like to keep. The new ASUS ZenUI 3.0 comes together with a whole boat of them.
Example 1: Hello there 😉
Meet the PC.com Team Selfie. The 8-megapixel front camera is a little grainy, but that Beautification mode is on point.
Example 2: HDR Landscape
Even in back-lit situations, the ZenFone 3’s camera manages to capture decent silhouettes.
Example 3: Zoomed-In
Even when using the digital zoom, the multi-coloured bubbles didn’t lose any detail.
Dimensions: 152.59 x 77.38 x 7.69 mm
Weight: 155 g
Operating System: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with ASUS ZenUI 3.0
Processor (CPU): 64-bit Qualcomm® Octa-Core ProcessorSnapdragon 625 @2.0Ghz
GPU: Adreno 506
Display: 5.5-inch FHD(1920×1080) IPS display, contoured Corning Gorilla Glass 2.5D
Memory: RAM 3GB / 4GB LPDDR3
Capacity: eMCP 32GB / 64GB (Internal Storage), Micro SD Card up to2 TB
Camera: 8MP Camera, f/2.0 aperture (front), 16MP Camera, f/2.0 aperture, 6 P Largan lens (rear)
AnTuTu: 61892 (3DBench: 12983)
PCMark (Work Performance): 6608
Total score: 8.4
Verdict: A mid-range smartphone that’s above-average in performance with relatively good value for money.