The Asus Zenfone 3 was launched in the third quarter of 2016 to much anticipation after the success of its predecessor, the Zenfone 2 series. One of the most striking difference is that after 2 generations of plastic phones, Asus finally took heed of what its rivals are doing – producing a mid-range phone with premium looks.
Before we go on, we’ll need to make clear that there are two variants of the ZenFone 3: a 5.2-inch version with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and a 5.5-inch version with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Other than the display size, RAM and onboard storage capacity, the phones are identical.
For this review, we’ll be looking at the 5.5-inch ZenFone 3.
Look and Feel
The ZenFone 3 looks like a hybrid of an iPhone and theSamsung Galaxy S7, and feels especially premium compared to other phones of similar range and price. It possess a great overall build quality with a polished glass rear. However, as we know of glass surfaces, it can be a great fingerprint magnet.
The 7.69mm thin phone feels light in the hand yet hardy enough to handle, with a fingerprint sensor on the back which signals a first for the brand. The fingerprint sensor on the ZenFone 3 has a quick response and even recognises fingerprints with wet fingers.You can also tap and hold the fingerprint sensor to answer a call or double tap it to launch the camera, making it an easy shortcut to use.
We also liked that it came in 4 variants of colour- Shimmer Gold, Moonlight White, Aqua Blue, and Sapphire Black, which helps it stand out from an industry producing increasingly homogenous designs.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 has a 5.5-inch, Full HD IPS display and boasts an above-average brightness level which has the brand claiming that you will be able to read the text on the screen from any direction. Another plus point is that the phone supports touch recognition through gloves, which becomes useful when travelling to a cold country.
Performance and UI
The ZenFone 3 uses a brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor which was powerful enough to prove its worth in the mid-range category. While its processor is not top-of-the-range, reviewers have found it a breeze to use, with little to no lag time when multitasking
The ASUS ZenFone 3 runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow together with the new version of the company’s proprietary ZenUI 3.0 on top of it. While there were many complaints about the older versions of ZenUI, the new version is a complete makeover and offers a clean UI with subtle animations. Having said that, there seems to be still several ASUS-branded apps that we suspect most might not find useful and are there occupying unnecessary storage space.
The phone uses a 16-megapixel rear camera that’s helped along with ASUS TriTech Autofocus, helping detection abilities to focus on the subject in 0.03 seconds. According to ASUS, this should result in properly-focused images “in any condition”. There’s also 4-axis Optical Image Stabilization for images.
The camera quality is decent for a mid-range phone and the colours are distinct and vibrant, although it leans towards a warmer colour temperature. It also comes with an 8-megapixel front camera, enhanced with the Asus Beauty Mode which provides selfie addicts with controls that can slim the face and enlarge the eyes.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 is an excellent all-round daily phone which has an attractive design for its price point.
While some may compare it to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 which is a reasonably powerful mid-range device but a lot cheaper at only S$299, we find the ZenFone 3 a more refined product, more RAM (4GB as opposed to 3GB on Redmi Note 3), more storage (64GB vs 32GB on Redmi Note 3), and runs on a faster and more efficient processor.
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