ASUS Zenfone 3: Best of Mid-range?

ASUS Zenfone 3 5.2" on sale: At Toa Payoh Popular Bookstore
[NEW GADGET] The first time I saw ASUS Zenfone 3 off it's launch on YouTube, I was really impressed and it looks like a phone that could gather decent popularity in the mid-range phone category. Seeing the ASUS Zenfone 3 in real life, it is safe to say that my initial impression is not too far off. I was however surprised to see it for the first time in a Popular Bookstore!

And here are 3 things in my brief encounter with ASUS Zenfone 3.

Making sense of Zenfone 3
In another case of confusion caused by product naming, there are 4 variants of Zenfone 3. There are;

  • Zenfone 3 (5.2 inch display / ZE520KL)
  • Zenfone 3 (same name but 5.5 inch display / ZE552KL)
  • Zenfone 3 Max (5.2 inch display / ZC520TL)
  • Zenfone 3 Ultra (6.8 inch display / ZU680KL)
  • Zenfone 3 Deluxe (5.7 inch display / ZS570KL)

The one you are looking at in these pictures is first in the list, Zenfone 3 with 5.2 inch display. As of 10th October 2016, the ones that available in some of the mobile shops are first 3 in the list.

A quick run through of the differences between the devices; The Deluxe is the flagship of the lot with the fastest SoC in the market, Snapdragon 821, a whopping 6GB ram and an option of 256GB internal storage.

One step down would be Zenfone 3 5.2 inch/5.5 inch variants, first two on the lists and Zenfone Ultra. The major differences between these 3 are display size and the latter has slightly better graphic in Adreno 510 and an option of internal 128GB storage.

Bottom of the hierarchy is Zenfone 3 Max. A budget option which as well comes in 2 variants internationally, but Singapore looks like getting the 5.2" variant only. A big 4,100 mAH battery is its major selling point. Slower SoC coupled with a 720p display are what the compromises are made.

How's THE phone?
This part is about my impression of the phone. For S$398, i think Zenfone 3 is more than decent. The 2.5 glass always makes a phone looks premium and feels even more premium. What I didn't like is the front three touch buttons that are very common across all Android from the beginning of time. A more distinct design would have been icing of on the cake.

Turning to the back of the phone, you find as well a 2.5D glass. On it, a camera, fingerprint sensor and the nice ASUS logo. All-in-all the Zenfone 3 does not have an exciting appearance. In fact despite having a thickness of 6.16mm, it doesn't look or feel so.

A 1080p IPS display is decent though as a long time OLED user on Samsung S7 Edge, it is certainly dull in comparison.

Zenfone 3 runs on ZenUI and first impressions are very promising. Lightweight, simple, quick are some words to associate with my brief encounter. With a Snapdragon 625 chip, 3GB ram running on Android Marshmallow, it is as snappy as a mobile device should be. You can check out reviews of its camera online but my impression has been a dull one.

Zenfone 3 comes in Moonlight White, Shimmer Gold, Aqua Blue and Sapphire Black which is the one the pictures here. You can check out more specifications in the link below.

Against the Competition
Pitching Zenfone 3 with the 5.2 inch and 5.5 inch variant against competition, the first principle is probably to look to the price tag. Can you get a better option at S$398 plus minus S$30? I say unlikely.

Surveying the market, the price will only get you an Apple iPod Touch. With Samsung the closest is likely to be the A3, but A3 only has a 4.5 inch 720p display, lower internals and no fingerprint sensor. LG and HTC already ran out of decent mid-range. Nexus 5x is one that I would rate it above ASUS Zenfone 3 though

Then you talk about Xiaomi and the other less known Chinese manufacturers. Redmi Note Pro series is worth a mention here, the rest are decent but you will be hard press to find one below S$398 and comes with a original International ROM (most Chinese export sets comes without Google Services).

And so this is the ASUS Zenfone 3 5.2 inch variant. Till next time.

Link - ASUS Singapore Zenfone 3
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