Zenfone 3 ZE552KL Review – Shiny, Sporty and a bit Pricy

During its inception, ASUS Smartphones were noted for the affordable price tag and innovative features. Even in the sub-15000 sector, we had seen a variety of smartphone, with different focuses. There was even a budget-friendly device that brought laser-focus camera.

Nevertheless, the ZenFone 3 is the result of ASUS’ efforts to get away from its budget-friendly label. it’s a power-packed device that competes with other popular devices from Samsung, OnePlus and Apple. With four different variants for mid-budget, semi-premium, premium and ultra-premium segments, ZenFone 3 is more or less a noted change for ASUS.

Quite recently, we got a chance to review the mid-budget variant, the ZenFone 3 ZE52KL. Today, we are here with a fully-fledged review of the device, discussing the different aspects, things we liked and things we didn’t. We will also share how the device performed in the tests we’d done.

Design & Build

In the design aspect, ASUS has kept some familiar things, but there are noteworthy changes too. First up, there is no metal unibody design. On front and rear of ZenFone 3, you can spot 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass. However, the unique elements of Zen Design are still there, especially on the rear side of the device. Although the build is stronger and sturdy, we found the device to be slippery at times. That having, look-wise, ASUS ZenFone 3 is a revolutionary change — with a combination of class and sturdiness.

ZenFone 3 boasts a 5.5” Display, with the sensors and earpiece on top. Below the screen, you will spot capacitive buttons for navigation. However, one thing we didn’t like is that the buttons aren’t backlit. If you are using the device in dark light conditions, this could be a problem. Coming to the rear side, you can find the ZenFone 3 Camera, LED Flash and fingerprint scanner, along with the ASUS Logo. The camera has a protruding design, but ASUS claims it’s resistant to scratches. In an overall perspective, the rear and front sides of this flagship competitor was impressive.

Button arrangements are quite traditional in ZenFone 3. You’ll find the volume control buttons and power buttons on the right side, while the left side is dedicated for the Hybrid SIM Card slot. Headphone jack and USB Type C ports are placed on the top and bottom portions respectively. Speakers of ZenFone 3 are arranged on the bottom side, on both sides of USB Port.

Camera

ASUS says the ZenFone 3 is Built for Photography. In our reviews, this was found to be perfectly true. ASUS has used 16MP PixelMaster 3.0 shooter on the back — built with Sony IMX298 Sensor, f/2.0 Aperture, TriTech Auto Focus and the Sapphire Lens Protection. There is no question about the quality of photographs and you can have a look at our snaps. Thanks to Optimal Image Stabilization, Electronic Image Stabilizations, we were able to get the best photos in almost all scenarios.

TriTech Auto Focus is something awesome you’d expect from a smartphone. It combines three technologies — Laser AF, Phase Detection AF and Continuous AF — to bring the focusing time down to just 0.03 seconds. It means, you won’t even know the time taken for focusing onto the subject. In addition, for shake-free videos and photos, the phone has different features like 4-axis OIS, 4-stops OIS Stabilization and 3-axis EIS.

The PixelMaster shooter also comes with a Super Resolution Mode, where you can boost the camera resolution to 64MP. Additional features include HDR Mode, Manual Mode, Real Time Beautification and Night Mode. You can also try making some GIFs. On the front side, ZenFone 3 boasts an 8PM camera. The quality was good, and the selfies were excellent.

Display

ZenFone 3 is available in two display variants — 5.2” and 5.5”. Both are Full HD Displays with 1920*1080 Resolution. The display was superb, the colours were clear and we did not find any issue there. The design needs to be noted here, because the device has a screen-to-body ratio of 77.3%, thanks to the slim bezel of 2.1mm. When we consider the brightness level of 600nits, ZenFone 3 display is up to the mark, and worthier for the competition.

Specifications and Performance

Before we analyse the performance, we should have a quick-look at the hardware specifications of ZenFone 3 ZE52KL.

ASUS ZenFone 3 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, which combines 64-bit Octa-core CPU and Adreno 506 GPU. For the better multitasking, ASUS has added 4GB LPDDR3 RAM. Along with the on-board storage of 64GB, you have an option to expand it via Micro SD Card, up to 2TB. It has a 3000mAh non-removable battery for the powerhouse and it offers Fast Charging support as well. Coming to the connectivity support, there’s 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB C Connectivity. And, the fingerprint scanner lets you unlock the device in 0.2 Seconds. This dual-SIM device has a hybrid SIM slot, in which you can put two SIM cards or one SIM Card and a Micro-SD Card.

With all these things aboard, ZenFone 3 performed very well. We didn’t face any lag, whatsoever. Let that be connectivity, fingerprint authentication or multitasking, it was all good in the device. In the review period, we had installed and used a number of heavy-duty apps, and the total experience was so cool.

Software & Usability

ZenFone 3 runs on Android v6.0 Marshmallow with the ASUS ZenUI 3.0 on top. ZenUI 3.0 is a bit different from previous versions and it adds some useful features too. The overall interface is clean, and it uses Zen Icon Pack too. However, extra features you will love in ZenFone 3 are One Hand Mode, ZenMotion and Mobile Manager. Among these, Mobile Manager helps you unleash free RAM and increase the speed.

The UI of ZenFone 3 isn’t comparable to the stock-feel or anything. However, the overall speed and features are good for common users and professionals. In the course of our review, we had barely no issue with the software side. Also, the UI comes with apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp etc by default. Talking of bloatware, ASUS has added some useful stuff such as Quick Memo, ZenFlash Camera, PhotoCollage etc.

The Bottom Line

Summing all these up, ASUS ZenFone 3 ZE52KL is indeed a flagship competitor. It’s available for a price of 27999INR and it is a strong rival to devices like OnePlus 3. We really liked the design and build, despite being a bit slippery. Overall, the performance is awesome and camera was better than expectations. Due to the PixelMaster Technology and TriTech AF, capturing high-quality images was just simple. Altogether, for the price tag, ZenFone 3 is the best choice.

Ujjwal Kumar

Ujjwal is just a simple guy who likes to be happy and likes to write various different kind of stuff. You can find him writing posts related to Android most of the time but he also likes writing poems, short stories and other stuff. Mail him at ujjwal [at] droidextra [dot] org.

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