Is bigger really better? Asus seems to think so. The S$778 ZenFone 3 Ultra coming in at 6.8” in screen size, is the largest phablet known to man. Sporting a power-packed battery and a highly-capable rear camera, the ZenFone 3 Ultra seeks to impress. However, this hulked-up tablet, is definitely not for everyone, especially the small-palmed folks.
Processor: Snapdragon 652 | RAM: 4GB | GPU: Adreno 510 | Internal Memory: 64GB
Screen Size: 6.8” | Thickness: 6.8 mm | Weight: 233g
Rear Camera: 23MP f/2.0 | Front Camera: 8MP
Despite being a 6.8” phablet, the ZenFone 3 Ultra is actually incredibly thin. It’s 6.8mm thickness is even thinner than the iPhone 7’s 7.3mm body. This slender fighter has an extremely high screen-to-body ratio. Hence, the frames around the screen are minimal in size, which makes it significantly less bulky than 7” tablets.
However, the ZenFone 3 Ultra is still a huge phablet and using it single-handedly is impossible. Trying to text someone with a grocery bag in the other hand will be a futile effort. Even trying to place it in skinny jeans with shallow pockets will cause the edge of the ZenFone 3 Ultra to jut out, so portability is still an issue for most.
Nevertheless, the Ultra feels really good in your hands. The glossy screen on the front coupled with the sandblasted metallic rear exudes class and elegance.
The home button on the front holds the fingerprint sensor and the volume rockers are shifted to the rear of the smartphone, unlike the original Zenfone 3 that has its fingerprint sensor on the rear.
The full-HD (1980 x 1080px) display appears beautifully on the 6.8”. The splendid app on the ZenUI does a great job in manipulating the colours to give you an ideal spectrum of colours you would be able to enjoy. Hence, using the Ultra as a media phablet is a great idea.
Under the sun, the Ultra’s maximum brightness is sufficient to hold up even during midday. However, the glossy front may cause significant amounts of reflection. Investing in a matte screen protector, might be a good idea in this case.
The minimum brightness on the display needs a bit of work. In my opinion, it’s still too bright to use in a dark room with the lights off. We all know you want to WhatsApp bae before sleeping. Fortunately, the built-in blue light filter does a decent job in helping reduce the harshness of the screen’s brightness if you intend to get a good night worth of rest.
The ZenFone 3 Ultra’s rear camera receives an upgrade from the original ZenFone 3. It now holds a 23MP rear shooter with a smaller sensor for clearer shots and better shoots in low-light conditions.
Naturally, shots done are incredibly detailed and clear. The resolution is great and there’s absolutely nothing to complain about here. The scenes light up well automatically too, saving the need for post production on that end.
However, colours are not replicated very well. The camera overcompensates by increasing the saturation of pictures way too much. Human skin tones turn strangely orange even under daylight, which was rather disappointing.
The front shooter stays at the original 8MP, and it does shots well enough for most purposes. Even trying to shoot a landscape background with yourself in it works great. It helps that there is a beautification mode within that helps lighten your skin and thin your cheeks to make you appear, well, smaller than life.
The Zenfone 3 holds the Snapdragon 652 processor, which is more capable than the ZenFone 3’s 650. Antutu benchmarks do give a higher rating for the Ultra, but I didn’t quite feel the increase in speed. In fact, the phone does lag even during daily multitasking activities, not significantly, but still enough to annoy picky users like me. With an Adreno 510 processor, gaming should be smooth in most instances, but running heavy 3D games like Asphalt might give you some lags here and there. However, playing on a gigantic screen does feel good.
The ZenFone 3 Ultra has a spectacular 4,600mAh battery. The device is capable of fuelling 34 hours of talk-time. It can even be used as a portable charger to “reverse charge” your other devices. I’ve managed to use the ZenFone 3 for 1.5 days despite using it to text, browse the net and snap photos constantly. Quintessential to any phone with a huge battery capacity, the ZenFone 3 has the QuickCharge technology that lets it refuel 3x faster than conventional charger. So you can go up from 0-60% within a mere 45 minutes.
The ZenFone 3 Ultra is a great phone, however, it isn’t built for everyone. If you intend to use it as a reading or media phablet, then it’s great screen will definitely be an asset to you. The rear camera certainly shines and adds on to its case. However, if you don’t require such a huge screen, or if you are a small-palmed individual, the ZenFone 3 Ultra’s remarkable size may be a liability instead. At a price of S$778, it’s by no means cheap, unlike other Asus devices. Hence, if you intend to grab this hulked up device, understand that it’s built to cater to a select group of consumers and not the general public.
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