Asus Zenfone 3 Review: A Mid-Range Beast Come with Powerful Camera, Performance and Premium Design!

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Asus Zenfone 3 Review: A Mid-Range Beast Come with Powerful Camera, Performance and Premium Design!

Asus has launched Zenvolution on 30 May 2016 in Taiwan and introduced Zenfone 3 line-up. Then, they unveiled the Zenvolution in Malaysia on August 2016 which consist of Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Laser, Zenfone 3 Max, Zenfone 3 Ultra and Zenfone 3 Deluxe.

Today, we will discuss about Asus mid-range smartphone Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) which has 5.5 inch screen display with us. You can also take a look on our Unboxing article of the Zenfone 3 to gain more knowledge of what’s inside the packaging box.

Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) Specifications:

  • 5.5 inch Full HD Super IPS 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass display
  • 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625 Octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM + 64GB storage (microSD expandable up to 2TB storage)
  • 16MP Rear Camera F2.0 aperture with OIS and Auto Laser Focus
  • 8MP Front Camera F2.0 aperture
  • Running ZenUI 3.0 Based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • USB Type-C Slot
  • Dual SIM Dual Standby

Design

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First of all, we would like to discuss about the design of Zenfone 3. Zenfone 3’s design is different from its first two generations like Zenfone 4,5,6 and Zenfone 2 because Asus adopts the current more popular dual glass design for front and back instead of plastic material.

Although, Asus Zenfone 3 has a 2.5D curved glass design which makes it look more premium and felt better in hand but due to the glass material on the back, it is quite slippery and a fingerprint magnet indeed! Thus, we suggest users to use a phone cover/case to solve those problems.

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Normally, when we hold our smartphone we will hold it straight but for the Zenfone 3 it felt uncomfortable to hold it vertically.

Besides, one of the detriment for Asus Zenfone 3 falls on the capacitive buttons which is still not backlitted, so it is not convenient for consumers to use the phone in dark condition.

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The Zenfone 3 camera is slightly protruding, but it still look pretty decent with the possibility to get scratched if we do not handle it carefully.

In addition, the Zenfone 3 fingerprint scanner located below the rear camera which is in vertical rectangular shape. The laser auto focus is on the left of the camera, while the Dual tone LED flash is situated on its right.

Overall, the Asus Zenfone 3 design in fact looks premium and feel good in hand. Although its size can be a little inconvenient for users with smaller sized hand, users with big palm will definitely not feel any pressure to hold it.

Below are more photos about Asus Zenfone 3:

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Performance

Asus Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor that is built on a 14nm process and equipped with 4GB of RAM + 64GB of storage. In the world of processors, the smaller the processor the better it is. Thus, Asus Zenfone 3 with 14nm process does provide better performance for gaming.

Antutu Benchmark Score

GeekBench Score

Asus Zenfone 3 has sturdy gaming experience and we do not suffer any obvious “lag” issue during our gameplay test.

For medium graphic games, Asus Zenfone 3 can handle it with ease but when we test it on some graphic intensive games, you may have to tolerate with some stuttering and large frame drops issue during gameplay.

Besides, Zenfone 3 main strength is equipped with Hi-Res audio quality with an advance five-magnet speaker construction, metal voice coil and expansive sound chamber powered by Smart AMP to give us the enjoyment of powerful, emotional audio in every scenario.

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Next, we move over to the Zenfone 3’s Fingerprint scanner that comes with a long straight design and it can unlock the device within 0.2 second. The fingerprint scanner comes with additional function such as launching camera, capturing photo and answering incoming calls.

Camera

Asus Zenfone 3 offers a 16MP Rear Camera F2.o aperture that support OIS and EIS anti hand shake, Laser Auto Focus and Dual Tone LED flash light to capture better quality photos. While, the front camera comes with a 8MP F2.0 aperture to has a better selfie.

Moreover, Asus Zenfone 3 feature the latest Pixel Master 3.0 technology which is further assisted with Laser Auto Focus, PDAF and Continuous Focus combine together to be the TriTech function to has a better experience during capture a photo.

Below are the photo samples taken by Asus Zenfone 3 (Auto Mode):

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Zenfone 3 has good shooting result for outdoor shots, the color reproduction and image processing are close to natural style. While in bright condition, the focusing speed is really fast. The Zenfone 3 camera has improved a lot (included the shutter speed) when compared to the Zenfone 2 but although it has feature TriTech on the camera, we still have to wait for it to focus before snap the shot if not the photo will become blur.

Below are the photo samples taken by Asus Zenfone 3 (Night Mode):

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Zenfone 3 night mode is considered normal, but there’s one thing that surprised us is its ability to absorb light. Therefore, some of the photos that have been taken are brighter than its actual state.

More Sample Photos taken by Asus Zenfone 3:

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As long as users can make good use of its various filter effects, camera modes and more, Zenfone 3 basically can satisfy users and we think the Zenfone 3 capture ability belong to the medium level.

Battery

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Asus Zenfone 3 packed with a 3,000 mAh size battery but it do not support fast charge technology. The Zenfone 3 uses aUSB Type-C slot instead of using micro USB which is more convenient for users as it is able to slot into the port on either side.

Although Zenfone 3 do not support fast charge, but it’s battery life is quite impressive. We have been using it heavily, but we still can get 5 hours of screen on time with more than 12 hours on a single charge.

Apart from that, we also have tested on the time using to get full charge from 15 percent of battery. It took around 2 hours to fully charge up the Zenfone 3 which can be considered acceptable eventhough it do not have fast charge support.

Software

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Although the Zenfone 3 has equipped with the latest ZenUI 3.0 system, but overall in the system do not have much changes. Besides, ZenUI 3.0 also introduced Real-Time Animated weather and clock icon to give users to access the latest weather and time.

Another feature for ZenUI 3.0 is Mobile Manager that users can easily control the device in one application. In the Mobile Manager, users can activate battery modes, check the data usage either using Wi-Fi or Mobile Data, Cleanup function and more.

On the other hand, some of the basic applications like ZenCircle, ZenMotion, ZenFone Care, ZenTalk, Mini Movie and Photo Collage still available in ZenUi 3.0 system to show the Asus Zenfone features.

Verdict

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The Zenfone 3 (ZE552KL) has been sold at the price RM 1,699 in Malaysia which is a lift in terms of the retail price when compared to the premium version of Zenfone 2 (RM 1,299) last year.

Although Zenfone 3 is much expensive than the premium version Zenfone 2, but the Zenfone 3 offers a few extra features such as 2.5D dual glass design for front and back, USB Type-C, better camera performance and fingerprint scanner which is still considered as a decent upgrade from its predecessor.

For this price tag, consumers can also consider its alternatives such as Honor 8, Samsung A7 (2016), HTC One A9, Xiaomi Mi5s Plus and OnePlus 3.

Pros:

  • Use of premium materials
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint reader
  • Good battery life
  • Better camera performance

Cons

  • No fast charge technology support
  • Poor user interface
  • Slightly overpriced for the price tag
  • Bump up camera easily get scratch