The Asus ZenFone 3, that caught everyone’s eye on Computex 2016, is one of the most powerful and affordable smartphones in the market. This solid mid-ranger is not only sleek, but fast. For $498 (64GB), the mid-ranger most certainly outperforms most powerhouses a few hundred dollars more expensive than itself, making it something every phone buyer should consider.
Processor: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | GPU: Adreno 506 | Internal Memory: 64GB
Screen Size: 5.5” | Thickness: 7.7mm | Weight: 155g
Rear Camera: 16MP f/2.0 | Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0
The round and shiny ZenFone 3 is 7.7mm thick, making it pretty sleek. The round edges give it a very smooth look, that makes it appealing to both gender.
The 5.5” display is made of 2.5D glass, just like the Samsung S7 Edge and the Note 7, which has a rounded-edge on its screen, which allows for a clear frameless display. The 2.5D glass makes it nearly indestructible, being incredibly scratch-resistant to protect your phone from the ravages of modern life. It’s high screen-to-body ratio makes it simple to grip with one hand, but it still takes a larger palm to be able to maneuver it single-handedly.
Both glossy sides look elegant, however, it might be a fingerprint magnet, which can be quite a nuisance to some users.
The fingerprint sensor is also located at the rear, which allows you to unlock the phone even without having to click the home button or lock button, which turns unlocking the phone into a very simple and easy experience. Double tapping the fingerprint sensor can also help quick-launch the camera to help you shoot pictures as soon as you see them.
The Asus ZenFone 3, like most smartphones have dual-SIM capabilities. However, it’s additional slot can be used for either an SD card or another SIM, so if you choose to use 2 SIM cards, you would have to forgo the chance to use an SD card.
With 64GB on-board memory, the ZenFone 3 has no issues with storing apps, videos and images. Taking plenty of pictures and videos didn’t sap up much space on the ZenFone 3 and running out of memory is not something users should worry about.
Speed and Performance
The ZenFone 3 performs well for a mid-ranger. It’s chipset isn’t exactly high-end, but the 4GB worth of RAM makes it pretty capable at multitasking.
Running normal functions on the ZenFone 3 should be a breeze. Lags are few and far between. If you choose to run memory intensive applications all at once, you will notice it slowing down slightly. However, the ZenFone 3 automatically closes some applications, disabling it from running in the background which gives you more memory to work with you current tasks, but that is not without its drawbacks.
I wouldn’t dare say it’s incredibly fast for a $498 phone, but it is still a cut above the rest at this price range.
The 16MP rear camera works well for the ZenFone 3 and it focuses quickly and sharply. The brightness is impressive, perhaps too overpowering at times. In low-light conditions, the ZenFone performs well, but not superb, with noise still being present when it gets dark.
Resolution and details are strong for a midranger, better than the industry average for sure. The colours come off good and a tad warm. Whether the shades of colour produced is good would really depend on the shooter’s preference.
The ZenFone 3 is capable of shooting 4k videos at 60fps which are clear and smooth. Such quality can’t be found easily in other smartphone this price, making the ZenFone a truly remarkable device.
On paper, the ZenFone 3 has a 3,000mAh battery, which is average. However, it last longer than you would imagine, probably thanks to the power efficiency of the ZenFone.
It should be able to last you a full day with moderate usage, but it would still be wise to carry around a portable charger.
Using the ZenFone was a pleasant experience. The smooth experience that was fairly devoid of lags was certainly welcomed and shooting on the ZenFone 3 was absolutely great.
The ZenUI can get chunky at times. It has tonnes of cool features, but many of them are just unnecessary and take space and RAM. The auto-start manager helps you shut down applications running in the background which saves you power, but it also kills your open applications and you have to restart it again once you return to it. Killing off Google Maps when you go to another screen and losing your navigation directions can get frustrating. Fortunately, you can select which applications the ZenUI chooses not to close, which makes life much easier.
The remarkable battery life and fast charge times were great, allowing the ZenFone to he used throughout the day continuously without having to recharge till you get home if you use it mainly for productivity purposes.
For $498, it’s almost certain that the ZenFone 3 is a steal and you will unlikely find another phone just as good at this price. The ZenFone 3 is truly a worthy successor of the ZenFone 2. Stylish and powerful, the ZenFone 3 comes highly recommended for users on a budget.
About the Author
A Dentist-To-Be Dabbling in Tech Journalism:
Zayne is a writer who reports for VR-Zone, Stuff Singapore and The New Paper on all things tech-related. Follow this