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Hãng Asus Zenfone"s made for great budget devices in the past. But with the company pairing the premium-looking Zenfone 3 with budget hardware, buyers are going lớn be confused.

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Sheldon PintoSep trăng tròn, 2016 10:03:59 IST






When Asus announced the Zenfone 3 at Computex 2016, everyone was excited to lớn see how the new Zenfone had matured into what many would hotline a mid-range điện thoại thông minh.

While the flagship capabilities were reserved for the Zenfone Deluxe cộ with a Qualcomilimet Snaprồng 821 chipphối & 6GB RAM, all eyes were indeed on the Zenfone 3, its lower priced sibling.

Soon enough, the Taiwanese manufacturer brought the Zenfone 3 along with the Zenfone 3 Deluxe & the Zenfone 3 Ultra to India. While the Zenfone 3 Deluxe pháo with its Snaprồng 821 sits at the very top of the current flagship điện thoại thông minh pyramid (in terms of specifications) the Zenfone 3 (5.5-inch and 5.2-inch models) & the laze sit at the bottom kết thúc of Asus’ Zenfone offerings in India.

With that said, Rs 18,999 is a pretty hefty price tag for a Zenfone Laser and the same can be said about the smaller Zenfone 3 priced at Rs 21,999. But what happens khổng lồ the 5.5-inch Zenfone 3 that"s priced at Rs 27,999? It"s price tag puts it in the same league as the OnePlus 3 or LeEco"s Le Max 2. Does it hold its own? Let"s find out!

Build và Design: 8/10


I have to h& it to lớn Asus, this is indeed the first Zenfone that actually feels truly premium và it gathers plenty of attention from onlookers as well. While I am not a người of gold coloured smartphones (I would have been happier with the blaông xã or the White model) it is the build unique và finish that would easily fool anyone inlớn believing that this is a premium, flagship smartphone.


Hold it in your hvà and there are no bumps or breaks in the construction. Asus seems to have sầu found its sweet spot with the combination of metal và glass in what feels like a seamless thiết kế. And seamless it is!


There appear lớn be no antenna bands running across the baông xã of this smartphone; all you will find is some well rounded 2.5 chiều glass on the front & the back that’s made by Corning. As for the antenna bands, they run at the top và bottom parts of the metal frame, which is again well-rounded, with a 40-degree bevel-cut edge that adds khổng lồ the seamless feel.


The back prominently showcases the camera module centered at the top with the laser assist on the left và the flash unit lớn the right.


The left side is mostly clean with just a single cavity for the SIM tray while the right showcases some well-designed buttons made of metal that feature the Zen’s signature concentric-circle pattern similar to that on the front bezel và under the baông chồng glass.

While everything looks premium, there’s just one big problem. The Zenfone 3 is just too slippery! Place it on a any table (face down) that is inclined by about 5 degrees and you will see your Zenfone 3 sliding downwards. Place it on its bachồng on a pillow và it slides down as well. Holding it in your hands, well it slips out really easy và this applies more for the 5.5-inch model than the smaller 5.2-inch Model. The Xperia Z3 had a similar problem, more so because it was entirely flat, Sony fixed the same by extending the metal edge of the smartphone’s baông xã with the Z5. The simple fix prevented the glass (which was also matte) from making contact with flat surfaces leading to lớn fewer or no slip ups.

Features: 7.5/10

While the Zenfone has evolved from its budget & plasticy past, there are plenty of upgrades under the hood as well. The specifications of the Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) include an updated Snapdragon octa-core 625 (64-bit) chipset that is paired with 4GB RAM and offers 64GB of internal storage. The điện thoại thông minh even offers expandable storage and will tư vấn microSD cards of up to lớn 2TB in capathành phố.

On the front we have sầu a 5.5-inch Full HD Super IPS+ display & an 8MPhường. camera for selfies, while the baông chồng features a f/2.0 aperture, 6 MPhường Largan Lens with the Sony IMX298 sensor.

The smartphone features the usual radquả táo including 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n/ac), GPS and an FM Radio.

Coming to the software, Asus continues to stiông chồng with its ZenUI & offers Android 6.0 Marshmallow as the base. The Zenfone 3 features a 3,000 mAh battery that should work in its favour since the chipmix is built using the 14nm manufacturing process. The chipmix supports Qualcomm’s Quiông xã Charge technology that Asus calls "Fast Charging".

Display: 8.5/10

The display on the Zenfone 3 is indeed one of the best we have seen on a Zenfone till date. I have sầu reviewed the premium Zenfone Zoom in the past, but this new display that uses "Deep Trench Isolation" is unique as it also packs in a colour correction sensor. Simply put, these result in better and natural looking colours no matter what the lighting situation.


In the testing phase I found no flaw with the display. The colours remained natural (unlượt thích most AMOLED panels) và text appeared sharp và pixelation miễn phí. The IPS display performed well indoors và outdoors (including under bright sunlight).

What I liked was that it maintained its brightness & colours no matter how steep the viewing angle, which made it an excellent device for watching movies or as portable truyền thông player. This is to be expected from an IPS panel, but the results are impressive nonetheless.

Colour shifting was minimal & a pink tinge was only visible from the most extreme viewing angles và that too when viewed from the top và bottom.

Coming to lớn the screen it features an oleophobic coating & managed to lớn resist fingerprint no matter how greasy my fingers were. One thing to note is that the glass on the baông xã of the device was a fingerprint magnet & it looks lượt thích Asus decided khổng lồ skip on the oleophobic coating on the baông chồng.

Software: 6.5/10

Asus’ ZenUI functions smoothly with no lag and responds quickly while opening và closing apps. The software felt light but we had to keep the device in performance mode to keep the frame rates from dropping. Thanks to Asus’ optimisations, even the drop in frame rates were consistent & this is worth applause as it helps extkết thúc the battery life of the device drastically (more in the Battery section).

So why the bad rating you ask? This has been my complaint since my first brush with ZenUI, but I still find ZenUI to lớn be tacky at best. With the Zenfone 3, I expected a drastic change. The price tag did go up after all and Asus has gone for a premium look and feel. But ZenUI, albeit with Android 6.0 Marshmallow onboard, appears bloated just because of the way it looks.

The icons with the Zenfone 3 have sầu gone from squares with rounded corners to rounded squares (similar khổng lồ Samsung’s TouchWiz) and while that iconography has changed khổng lồ an extent, everything inside is still the same. Animations & transitions are kept khổng lồ a bare minimum but there is really nothing that excites or makes it worth using the custom ZenUI skinning on board. I’d rather use a Zenfone with stochồng Android or an almost stoông xã Android version similar to lớn what we have seen on Motorola or OnePlus devices. Even the theme selection in the theme store did not seem lớn help.

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Hãng Asus could learn a few things from Huawei out here.

Performance: 7.5/10


There was always a problem with Asus’ Intel chipsets and the company"s switch to lớn Qualcomm chipsets has indeed turned out khổng lồ be beneficial. With the 64-bit Qualcomm SnapLong 625 onboard, the Zenfone 3"s performance was not a problem. Apps opened and closed without a hitch. There were no skipped frames in transitions and part of this could also be attributed to the underlying Android 6.0 base that Hãng Asus offers out of the box. Multi-tasking is no big khuyến mãi either with 4GB of RAM on tap.


Gaming was not a problem on this smartphone either. Everything from Dead Trigger 2 to lớn Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8 to lớn Run Sackboy! ran perfectly fine with no hiccups. Temperatures were under control as well as so was the battery life.

Coming to lớn calls, audio chất lượng was clear & loud & the caller on the other kết thúc could hear me clearly as well. I had no reception problems whatsoever. As for the speaker, it was loud and loud enough to lớn place a Call in traffic & hear the other person. It may not be the clearest one around, but it sure is loud.

Camera: 7.5/10


I was thoroughly impressed by the Zenfone 3’s daylight imaging capabilities considering that it is a "Zenfone". Having used mid-range & premium Zenfones in the past, I always had my reservations about Zenfones having unimpressive sầu sensors. This time around things have changed and we bởi have a winner. Well sort of.

This is because Asus’s new Zenfone 3 packs in a Sony IMX 298. The sensor is quite a capable one và also makes an appearance on the OnePlus 3 & the Xiaongươi Mi 5, two smartphones that this Zenfone 3 will be pitted against when it comes khổng lồ pricing.

While the sensor is the same, it all comes down lớn processing và this time around, Hãng Asus seems lớn have sầu done a better job. But it"s not without its flaws.


The images look balanced & showcase proper colour reproduction. In fact, I loved how the images reproduced on the phone’s display looked identical to lớn the one on the desktop monitor. An accurate display is a big plus indeed và avoids the surprises that you"d usually encounter when you shoot with smartphones with saturated AMOLED displays.

In daylight, the images are stunning & Zenfone upgraders will indeed see a seachange in image unique. The images reproduced come quite close to lớn that of the OnePlus 3, although they"re not as sharp. The colour saturation was fine, purple fringing was non-existent & sharpness levels were perfectly fine in Auto lớn mode.

The same cannot be said about the camera"s performance in low light situations. Noise levels are in control & will not ruin an image provided there is some light in the scene. In pitch dark situations however, the photos are almost unusable. But there is a solution for that.

Switch to lớn the manual mode & you get plenty of controls to fidget with. You can phối a lower ISO màn chơi & get some pretty decent images & long exposures thanks lớn the OIS system.

Moving on khổng lồ đoạn Clip, the Zenfone 3 offers something different in the size of real-time HDR Clip. This works in Full HD và 4K Clip recordings và the results are pretty good for a mid-range điện thoại thông minh.

Battery: 8/10

With 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm SnapLong chipmix, battery life was not expected to be a problem with the Zenfone 3 thanks to the chip’s 14nm manufacturing process. With that said the software too seems khổng lồ play a big role here và helps optimise the performance levels to deliver the required battery life.


To be fair, almost 12 hours on our battery life kiểm tra is an achievement. We had it phối in Performance mode which keeps operations super smooth and the điện thoại thông minh certainly seems to lớn have delivered. You can expect much better battery life with other, less power hungry modes.

As a bonus, the 3,000 mAh battery can also be fast-charged. In daily use, the smartphone easily lasted more than my usual work day (9 hours) with two tin nhắn accounts on sync, WhatsApp messaging, calls & some photography. In short, I was more than impressed with the Zenfone 3’s battery life.


There’s a lot that’s new và improved with the new Zenfone 3. There’s the camera that’s improved by leaps and bounds, a premium metal và glass body toàn thân và a brisk Qualcomm chipset.

But with all of this also comes higher price tag and in the case of the 5.5-inch Zenfone 3, it creeps pretty cđại bại lớn the Chinese flagships lượt thích the OnePlus 3 và the Mi 5.


The Xiaomi Mi 5 (Rs 22,999) và the OnePlus 3 (Rs 27,999) paông xã in plenty of processing power (Snapdragon 820) và quality construction as well. We compared the camera samples as well, and found those on the OnePlus 3 to lớn be a lot better in most cases even though I still prefer the display on the Zenfone 3.

This is where it makes little sense lớn recommover the 5.5-inch Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL). It packs in a budget chipphối found in budget smartphones like the Redmi lưu ý 3 (Snapdragon 650) và the LeEteo Le 2 (Snapdragon 652), both of which are priced at Rs 12,000.


Pricing is always critical and with a barrage of Chinese smartphones flooding the market, it"s hard to lớn explain khổng lồ consumers why a điện thoại thông minh with such specifications would be priced so high.

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Asus" Zenfone 3 stands tall with its premium looks và great display, but with the boring old software & anaemic hardware, it"s hard khổng lồ recommkết thúc it over the OnePlus 3 that is priced exactly the same và comes with plenty more. Go for the 5.5-inch Zenfone 3 if you prefer premium looks over raw power!

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