Asus ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Deluxe, ZenFone 3 Ultra quick review: Finally, the ZenFones the world deserves

first_imgAsus launches many ZenFones, nay, too many ZenFones. On Monday, it launched three new ZenFones – the ZenFone 3, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra, ahead of Computex 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan. Things are however different, nay, very different this time round. Different in a good way. Asus ZenFones have never been particularly exciting from a design and build point per se. They’ve been just regular smartphones with well to-do spec sheets. Had it not been for their aggressive pricing, these ZenFones would have been lambasted left right and centre for their near awful looks (and feel). The ZenFone Zoom – boasting of a price tag of almost Rs 40,000 — is a classic example of how Asus cannot afford to screw things up with pricing. But 2016 isn’t just about hardware and pricing. It’s about the design as well. A smartphone has to look good. It has to feel good. It’s safe to say that Asus has joined the party with its third-generation ZenFones…finally.The ZenFone 3, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra are without a doubt the most premium-looking phones that Asus has ever built. Boasting of a full-metal unibody design replete with all the essentials you’d hope for from a flagship smartphone, the new ZenFone 3s also achieve something that even the iPhone hasn’t, yet — invisible antennas.Also Read: Asus Zenbo robot is as cute as it is smartOf the three, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is the company’s new flagship phone, while the Ultra variant is simply a super-sized version of it. The ZenFone 3 on the other hand is the most affordable offering, and, the sexiest. While the ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra are near-flat rectangular slabs of metal with a soft matte finish, the regular ZenFone 3 adds a healthy dose of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 into the mix. The approach – a curved 2.5D glass-metal sandwich – is pretty reminiscent of the OnePlus X and so is the guiding philosophy — a mass-market phone that looks (and feels) as good as a high-end phone – behind it. The design is trademark Asus complete with its signature concentric-circle pattern on the back that makes the light reflect in peculiar ways on viewing from different angles.advertisementThe ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra are pure metal. The Ultra is the flattest, and the largest of the three ZenFone 3s. At 6.8-inch it is on the edge of being confused for a tablet. Although it weighs a good odd 233 grams, it’s pretty amazing how that thing can measure just 6.8 mm even after cramming in a massive 4,600mAh battery inside. It also comes with dual five-magnet speakers and what is being claimed as the world’s first DTS headphone: X for virtual 7.1 surround sound. The Deluxe and the regular ZenFone 3 come with a mono-speaker.  All the three smartphones come with oblong physical home buttons that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. While the Deluxe and the regular ZenFone 3 have this on the rear, the Ultra has it on the front. All the phones sport physical capacitive keys on the front that are backlit and offer good tactile feedback.The ZenFone 3 has a 5.5-inch FullHD IPS display, the Deluxe a 5.7-inch FullHD AMOLED display and the Ultra comes with a 6.8-inch FullHD IPS display. Now, ZenFones have never had the best displays in the business. They have been just regular with mostly washed out colours and average viewing angles. The new batch of ZenFone 3s however change that, convincingly. These are undoubtedly the best display toting phones that Asus has ever built. Especially, the ZenFone 3 and the ZenFone 3 Deluxe. While the Deluxe churns out more saturated colours, the IPS panel of the ZenFone 3 is closer to nature. Both the phones have excellent viewing angles. The ZenFone 3 Ultra would have done better with a QHD screen, but well, it’s not too bad either, especially by Asus standards.The flagship ZenPhone 3 Deluxe is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 530 GPU and up to a blistering 6 gigs of RAM and up to 256GB of internal memory for the maxed out variant. If that wasn’t enough, the phone also supports expandable storage of up to 128GB via microSD (hybrid) card slot.The ZenFone 3 is meanwhile powered by a humble Snapdragon 625 processor with Adreno 625 GPU and up to 4GB RAM and 64GB memory while the ZenFone 3 Ultra comes with a Snapdragon 652 processor with Adreno 510 GPU and up to 4GB RAM and 128GB memory powering the whole thing. Both the phones also support expandable storage.All the three phones are dualSIM, support 4G LTE and run Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based ZenUI 3.0 out-f-the-box. The latest version of ZenUI tries to cut flab, just a bit though. The phones are still loaded with enough unwanted apps from Asus, some of which can’t be uninstalled. The new version brings in new animations, parallax scrolling and a new frosting effect to the interface which makes it a little more visually appealing than the previous version.advertisementAsus is relying heavily on the rear camera of its new ZenFone 3s, with tall claims about their quick focus abilities, with the obvious iPhone comparisons thrown in every now and then. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra have the same camera setup, which is 23-megapixel camera on the rear with Sony IMX318 image sensor, f/2.0 aperture and a 4-axis optical image stabilisation. Additionally, they feature a 3-axis electronic image stabilisation for steady 4K UHD videos, according to the company. There’s also Asus proprietary TriTech autofocus system that can “automatically select 2nd generation laser, phase detection, or continuous autofocus to provide accurate and nearly instant 0.03-second focusing and subject tracking.” On the front, the two phones have an 8-megapixel camera.The ZenFone 3 on the other hand comes with a 16-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, laser auto-focus, 4-axis optical image stabilisation and dualLED real tone flash along with an 8-megapixel camera on the front.In our brief usage, we found the rear cameras of all the three phones fairly quick to focus, with good shutter speed. The phones’ post-processing algorithm does tend to slightly oversaturate colours a bit, especially in indoor lighting conditions. At the same time, post-processing also takes an odd second or two to do its mojo. Having said that, we reserve our final verdict for our full review of the devices.The ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 are backed by a 3,000mAh battery while the ZenFone 3 Ultra has a 4,600mAh battery inside. All the phones support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. Additionally, the Ultra can double as a portable power bank to charge other phones.Prices for the new ZenFone 3s start at $249 for the 3GB RAM 32GB memory ZenFone 3 (roughly Rs 16,724) and go all the way up to $499 for the 6GB RAM 64GB memory ZenFone 3 Deluxe (roughly Rs 33,517) which is pretty good (read aggressive) for what these phones have to offer. I personally am in love with the ZenFone 3, especially for how good it feels and how pretty it looks.Availability will vary from region to region. Sources have told India Today Online that the new batch of ZenFone 3s may be coming to India in the first week of August. Watch this space for our full review of the Asus ZenFone 3, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra.Disclosure: Asus sponsored the writer’s travel and hotel expenses for the launch event in Taipei, Taiwan.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *