We took the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom for a quick spin. The smartphone features an AMOLED display, dual main cameras, an octa-core processor, 4GB RAM and a large battery. Let’s start the review.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom Review
The ZenFone 3 Zoom picks up where the first one left off. The second gen camera phone from ASUS comes with a zoom setup similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus — using two lenses to provide two focal lengths. Combine that with the new Zen design, a huge battery, an AMOLED display, and a good price, it looks like we have the makings of a compelling device.
Here’s a quick look at the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s specs.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL) Specs:
- 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED Display (1920 x 1080; 401ppi), 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- 2.0 GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
- Adreno 506 GPU
- Android 6.0 w/ ASUS ZenUI 3.0
- 4GB RAM
- Up to 128GB Storage +microSD via 2nd SIM Slot
- Dual 12MP Main Camera w/ Sony IMX362 Sensor, Dual LED Flash, 1/2.55″ Sensor, 1.4um Pixel Size, f1.7 Aperture
- Secondary Zoom Camera 2.3x Optical Zoom, 59mm Focal Length, Up to 12x Digital Zoom
- 13MP Front Camera w/ 1/3.06-inch Sony IMX214 Sensor, 1.12um Pixel Size
- ASUS TriTech+ Auto Focus System (Laser, OIS, EIS)
- Dual Nano SIM, Dual Standby
- Wi-Fi b/g/n
- Bluetooth v4.2
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- USB Type-C
- FM Radio
- Fingerprint Sensor, IR Sensor
- 5,000mAh Non-removable Battery with Reverse Charging Capability
- Dimensions: 6.07 x 3.03 x .31 in; 170 g
- Colors: Navy Black, Glacier Silver, Rose Gold
The retail package includes an OEM travel charger, a set of earbuds, and an OTG cable.
Design and Build
In keeping with ASUS’ ZenFone tradition, ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom features a clean and conservative design. It’s metal body, soft features and the matte finish give it simplistic and elegant appeal. The contoured edges and rounded corners make it comfortable to hold, and despite the large battery, it is not that thick.
The power button on the right is easily accessible, but you have to adjust your hand to reach the volume rockers above it. It would have been better if it’s on the other side in my opinion, but that would be nitpicking on my part. The speaker grill, audio and USB Type-C ports are at the bottom. The fingerprint sensor is placed at the back which you can reach with your index finger for quick unlocking of the phone.
A concern I have is that (like most ASUS phones) the capacitive navigation buttons are not lighted. Even though you know where they are, I sometimes find myself fumbling to tap it in the dark. Another is that I noticed the paint was chipped on my review unit (encircled in red).Chances are its caused by a reviewer before me. It may mean nothing but then again it could be a sign of quality issues.
Display and UI
The phone comes with a 5.5-inch full HD AMOLED display. It has a 1920 by 1080 resolution and a respectable 401 ppi pixel density. The screen is sharp and bright with very saturated colors (thanks to the AMOLED). It has good viewing angles, even in bright sunlight.
If you’re a fan of ASUS phones, then you’d be happy hear that the ZenFone 3 Zoom still uses the same set of rounded square icons and color schemes. If it is not to your liking, you can easily change it by downloading icon packs and themes from either ASUS Theme Store or the Play Store.
On a side note, ASUS still insist in providing us with apps we may or may not want or need (aptly called bloatware). Upon boot up, the phone has shortcuts that lead to installing apps and games. Its not a problem though. Its just adds a bit of inconvenience.
Performance and Benchmarks
The ZenFone 3 Zoom is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 4GB RAM and an Adreno 506 GPU. The processor is not exactly new, but it’s still one of the most power efficient and balanced in terms of performance.
In terms of performance, the ZenFone 3 Zoom does remarkably well. If you’ve used other ZenFones in the past, then the experience is relatively the same — the phone is fast, smooth and responsive. In fact, I sometimes find the animations too fast (which is not a bad thing, really).
I know benchmarks are important to some, but I firmly believe in user experience over what the numbers represent. Anywho, if you’re one for these kinds of things, the phone got good scores. On Geekbench, it scored 865 on the single-core test and 4,256 on the multi-core. On AnTuTu Benchmark, the Zoom got 63,776 points.
I made a couple of calls and it is loud and clear. Same thing on the other end thanks to ASUS Noise Reduction tech and its dual mic setup.
The ZenFone 3 Zoom is equipped with a dual 12MP camera setup backed by Sony IMX 362 sensors. It does a good job at providing quality shots as photos from the Zoom came out quite nicely. It has reasonable sharpness with good colors. Even in low light, it does a respectable job.
The camera comes with optical and electrical image stabilization (OIS, EIS) and ASUS Tritech AF system — a combination of PDAF, continuous AF and infrared lasers. Its main objective is to make focusing fast. And it is fast, but there are times (not often though) where its slow. There are instances where it hunts for the correct focus or times where it takes longer than usual to focus.
The zoom is setup similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus camera. It uses a second sensor to provide the 59mm focal length. It works fine. To access the zoom, just tap on circle to the left of the virtual shutter button. Personally, I like it and find it convenient to have.
The phone boasts a large 5,000 mAh battery. It has reverse charging technology which comes in handy when you need it. With the way I used the phone (which includes a lot of gaming, social media, a lot of photos, and calls and text), I was able to squeeze in more than a day from it. It does take awhile to complete a full charge. It took more than two hours to get to 100 percent.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom is definitely a step up from its predecessor. I like how it looks and how it performs. The design, the display the battery life, and the camera performance make this a compelling phone to have. The zoom feature is a big plus as well, especially for mobile photographers.
Priced at Php23,995, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom is less expensive than when its predecessor debuted. Actually, the price is competitive considering what you’re getting. It is now available in the Philippines, and comes with even more value — the phone is bundled with a free JBL CLIP 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker worth Php3,099, a ZenFone Zoom Clear Case worth Php699, and an ASUS ZenEar High Definition Earphones worth Php699.
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