The Asus Zenfone Zoom S is another attempt by Asus to generate a midrange smartphone capable of flagship-level photographic prowess alongside some other nifty additions to separate it from the sea of Android devices we are seeing in the market today. The dual-camera smartphone by Asus brings you an optical zoom level of 2.3x, which is far more than your average smartphone in the market and even flagships are unable to match the level of zoom it offers. Besides the photographic prowess of the Zenfone Zoom S, it is also an endurance powerhouse, with a 5,000mAh battery under its hood to ensure you never run out of battery on the go. Is it worth the retail price of S$678, it’s hard to give it a definite yes, but it’s definitely not a bad buy?
The new Zenfone doesn’t look much like the older Zenfone 3 models. it resembles more like a regular solid flagship smartphone, with a minimalistic no-frills design.
You get a sleek body with contoured 2.5D glass that curves around the entire frame of the smartphone and the rear of a device has a matte finishing, which was much appreciated since it warded off fingerprints well. Your fingerprint sensor is also located on the rear, made to be unlocked with your index finger, just diagonally under the dual-camera setup.
The bottom frame of the Asus smartphone has a USB Type C port and also a 3.5mm headphone jack.
For a device that packs on an incredible 5.000mAh, the device is amazingly thin, with dimensions 154.3 x 77 x 8 mm as well as a weight of a mere 170g. Other devices with similar battery lives usually weigh around 190-200g.
The Zenfone Zoom S has a full-HD touchscreen and comes armed with an AMOLED display, which is not all that common, which I wish had happened more often. The colours, as a result, come off a lot more vibrant and the contrast feels much stronger. You can further adjust the hues on the smartphone with the native Asus application known as Splendid if you want a more tailored look, but I didn’t find it quite necessary.
The new Zenfone Zoom S comes with a midrange chipset, a Snapdragon 625 processor and a 4GB RAM to be exact. This is a decent setup for its price, with slightly more RAM power than other devices under S$700. Usual day-to-day functions should not see any significant lags, but running multiple windows and more intense apps such as video editing ones or gaming apps will result in some delays of course. I had hoped for better performance on the Zenfone Zoom S, but its nothing to complain about.
Antutu benchmarks gave the device a rating of 58036, which is alright for a midrange device, although I had at least hoped for a score around 60000 to 70000 given its competitors in the market such as the Xperia X Compact.
Gaming performance was pretty average and I don’t recommend the Zenfone Zoom S to those who love using their mobile phones to game. It can definitely handle regular phone games, but highly intense 3D games are less than stellar on the Zoom S. Of course, the 5.000mAh battery is actually quite useful for gamers playing rather non-graphic intensive games since you can actually play for extended periods of time without worrying about running out of juice.
The ZenUI has improved a fair bit I must say, it used to be pretty much filled with bloatware, which clogs up the ample RAM the device actually comes with, but this feels like a less pressing issue on the Zenfone Zoom S. The interface is actually really simple to use, and honestly, extremely user-friendly even for those who are totally tech-unsavvy. Nevertheless, I thought the Zenfone Zoom S’s UI could use an aesthetical upgrade as it did appear a little dated (especially compared to MIUI seen on Mi smartphones).
If you don’t like the skin presented to you by the ZenUI, you can always just install the Google Now launcher to get a more stock Android appearance, which I actually recommend, getting the best of both worlds with Google’s beauty and the ZenUI’s power.
The dual-lens setup of the Zenfone Zoom S comes with a main camera that has a resolution of 12MP. This Sony IMX362 sensor has an impressive f/1.7 aperture which helps it shoot decent photos under low-light conditions. that should produce some great low-light shots
Regular well-lit shots definitely show up well, with great clarity and contrast. Colour reproduction is good in a sense that photos don’t end up overly saturated but yet at the same time, not washed out either. that should produce some great low-light shots
The focus of the camera is the 2.3x optical zoom, and it is also capable of going up to 12x in the digital zoom mode. which you can see on the photo below. Most smartphones are not able to produce much clarity at high zoom levels, but the Zenfone Zoom S does it slightly better than its competitors, and it’s definitely worth giving credit for.that should produce some great low-light shots
The front camera isn’t mindblowing, but it gets the job done, with a 13MP Sony IMX214 sensor that has an aperture of f/2.0. To add onto this, it has screen flash too, which can get in handy when the lighting conditions go bad.
Video-wise, the maximum resolution if 4K but you would have only 24 fps videos, whereas choosing lower resolutions of 1080p gives you a resolution of 60 fps.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom S has a remarkable 5,000mAh battery capable of reverse charging and acting as a portable charger as well. This power-packed phone is more than capable of lasting 1.5 days, I expected it to last 2 full days, considering most devices with such capacities tend to be of such battery capacity, but it’s still more than satisfactory and it saves me the need for carrying out.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom S is a strong phone at S$678, with a strong camera and battery life to separate it from the crowd of midrangers out there. However, its mediocre power and speed leaves more to be yearned for. If only the Zenfone Zoom S came with a speedier processor such as the Snapdragon 650, it would have fit the bill well as an ideal midrange device.