Asus ZenFone Zoom 128GB Price in the Philippines is Php 26,995, It's Official! And Here Are My Initial Impressions!

Last January 16, 2016, Asus Philippines brought me as well my fellow bloggers and members of the media to Cebu City to witness Sinulog 2016 up close using the new Asus ZenFone Zoom Android smartphone.

Asus Philippines, Mark Milan Macanas, Asus ZenFone Zoom, Sinulog 2016
Me with my blogger friends and Team Asus Philippines! Thank you for my first ever Sinulog experience, Asus! I had a blast!

Asus ZenFone Zoom

"We are thrilled to finally bring the ZenFone Zoom to Filipinos. The ZenFone Zoom revolutionizes smartphone photography in a way that cannot be matched by any other smartphone currently in the market. It puts professional, DSLR-quality photography within easier reach – so that Filipinos can all the more enjoy and indulge in the experience of taking photos with their mobile phones," shared Miss Jaime Zaldivar, Asus Philippines Marketing Lead.

She added, "We couldn’t think of a more perfect platform than the Sinulog Festival to present the ZenFone Zoom because of the undeniably unique visual experience it offers. It’s an eye-catching medley of vibrant colors, music, and movements, which creates an overall multi-sensory experience that makes it a haven for amateur and professional photographers alike. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Cebu, which is in itself a top city and beach destination, the festival presents a plethora of photography possibilities to explore and play around with."

I totally agree with Jamie. Sinulog indeed proved to be the perfect venue for us to try out the stellar features of this imaging-centric Android smartphone; I mean, great subjects were everywhere!

Asus ZenFone Zoom

So what exactly makes Asus ZenFone Zoom such a great cameraphone?

According to Asus, "ZenFone Zoom is the world’s thinnest smartphone with a 13 MP PixelMaster rear camera and 3X optical-zoom lens in a body that measures just 5mm at the edges. It features an innovative 10-element digital eye created by the optics experts at Hoya, with glass, synthetic and prismatic lenses are meticulously configured in a dual-prism periscope arrangement to maximize incoming light and capture the best possible photo quality. Built-in Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) ensures sharper, steadier shots every time -- even at maximum 3X optical magnification. The rear camera benefits from dual-LED Real Tone flash to create the most natural illumination for indoor portraits to capture lifelike colors and skin tones. ZenFone Zoom’s rear lens also has laser auto-focus to point and shoot with total clarity in just 0.2 seconds."

Asus ZenFone Zoom

Given all of its main camera features and capabilities along with Asus' PixelMaster imaging algorithms, the ZenFone Zoom - I believe - is one of the best cameraphones you can get in the market currently. For me, it's so good that it can actually be seen as a point-and-shoot digital camera replacement.

Asus ZenFone Zoom

In fact, in some says, Asus tried to bring elements of DSLR experience into the product. For instance, as the company shares, "ASUS engineers have rotated ZenFone Zoom’s lens mechanism to create a compact, intricately-calibrated periscope-style layout. Coupled with a Panasonic SmartFSI image sensor, ZenFone Zoom captures more light and more color — revealing detail and beauty in both natural and low-light compositions that other smartphone cameras will never see."

ZenFone Zoom’s design takes its cue from the look and feel of professional DSLR cameras, with dedicated buttons for shooting, recording and telephoto operations. Its strong unibody frame is precision-crafted to a metallic finish that’s cool and smooth to the touch, with a choice of premium Pure Black or sleek Ceramic White on the rear — and diamond-cut to create four stunning patterns across the back and sides. ZenFone Zoom even has an integrated a safety loop and many stylish strap options, for confident shooting from any angle.

The intuitive ZenUI Camera app makes it a cinch to capture professional-quality photographs. ASUS-exclusive Super Resolution mode applies multi-frame-fusion technology to create incredibly-detailed photos. Four high-resolution 13MP shots are fused to create a single image of with clarity that’s four times (4X) greater than a single shot. Night or day, ZenFone Zone captures more detail and less noise — and Super Resolution shots of up to 52MP.

ZenFone Zoom excels at macro photography, enabling extreme close-ups as near as 5cm (2in) to reveal new and unseen worlds of detail, and is ready to turn pro with one tap — with Manual mode allowing instant adjustment of shutter speed, exposure value, white balance, ISO and a host of other professional-grade settings.

Asus ZenFone Zoom

Speaking of the phone's design and build, I really have to commend Asus for incorporating such a powerhouse camera module into the ZenFone Zoom without adding too much heft or bulk to the unit. On top of that, the materials used - including the CNC-crafted aluminum frame and the polycarbonate back plate with faux leather finish (for the black version) - really gives the device an air or elegance and corporate sophistication, which I personally like.

Asus ZenFone Zoom

Now, let's talk about technical specifications. On the outside, the handset flaunts a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS+ display panel protected by scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 4 touchscreen. Complementing the top-notch main camera is the 5 MegaPixel selfie cam in front, which is likewise one of the best out there -- thanks to Asus' Beautification Mode that - quite simply - works.

Asus ZenFone Zoom
The 10-Level Beauty Mode for Selfies automatically evens out your skin tone and enhances your great facial features to give you self-portraits that are instantly ready for sharing on Facebook, Instagram, and all of your favorite social networking and chat services.

At its heart, ZenFone Zoom runs its Zen-UI flavored Android 5.0.1 Lollipop operating system with a 64-bit Quad Core 2.5 GHz Intel Atom Z3590 chipset incorporating PowerVR G6430 GPU, has a whopping 4GB of RAM for ultra-smooth multitasking, and comes with - get this - 128GB of ROM, which should be more than enough space for photos and videos taken using the phone's incredible camera. As for connectivity, this Dual SIM (Dual microSIM) Dual Standby model supports WiFi, Bluetooth, USB OTG, and Category 4+ 4G LTE mobile data speeds.

Asus ZenFone Zoom

So what's my favorite feature of the ZenFone Zoom? Well, as the name would suggest, it's definitely the 3 times optical zoom. As many of you know, I own both Nokia Lumia 1020 and Nokia 808 PureView that both have this neat imaging capability and I'm just happy that I can finally enjoy it on a powerful 2016 Android smartphone model. Given my profession as well as my hobbies, I really need that in my daily cameraphone.

Asus ZenFone Zoom
Thankfully, a handset company - apart from the Finnish Giant - has taken time and dedicated resources to giving consumers a proper cameraphone (and not a digital camera with phone functionality). I really have to commend Asus for crafting this amazing product for us.

So what's my least favorite feature of the Asus ZenFone Zoom? Well, an obvious point for improvement is the battery size. It's just 3,000 mAh, which is frankly too small for a smartphone of this calibre. Maybe it's the compromise that Asus had to make to keep the size and weight of the device manageable -- but personally, I wouldn't mind carrying a slightly heavier and bulking phone if it will guarantee great uptime. A 5,000 mAh battery pack would have more than sufficed.

Asus ZenFone Zoom

Asus ZenFone Zoom 128GB will don an official suggested retail price of Php 26,995 when it becomes available across the Philippines later this month. Again, it will be out in two colors: Black with Faux Leather Finish and White with Ceramic Texture.

Last January 16, following the official announcement of this device in Cebu, many of you told me that ZenFone Zoom is a tad too pricey for an Asus release. I know, we were pampered last year with budget-friendly powerhouse models from the Taiwanese company. But off hand, let me tell you: Given this model's premium construction, top-notch innards, and industry-leading imaging features, I believe it's well worth the hefty price tag.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Asus Zenfone Zoom
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen), Phablet
Price Category High-end
Dimensions158.9 x 78.8 x 12 mm
Weight 185 grams
Available Colors Black (Italian Leather, Aluminum Frame)
Operating System Android 5.0 Lollipop with Zen UI
Display 5.5 inches (~403 ppi pixel density), 1080 x 1920 pixels, IPS+, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Gorilla Glass 4
Processor Quad Core 64-bit 2.5 GHz Intel Atom Z3590 chipset with PowerVR G6430 GPU
Internal Storage 128 GB of ROM, expandable via microSD card slot
Camera Main: 13 MegaPixels, 4208 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, Dual Tone LED flash
Front: 5 MegaPixels
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for main camera, HD for front camera (TBC)
Audio and Video Playback MP3, WAV, eAAC+, FLAC, MP4, H.264
Ports microUSB v2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, HSPA+; LTE Cat4, NFC
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
FM Radio Yes
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Gyroscope
Network 2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 and SIM 2, 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29), TD-LTE 1900 / 2300 / 2500 / 2600 (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)
SIM Card Type Single microSIM
Battery Non-removable 3,000 mAh Li-Po battery
Uptime TBD
Value-Added Features Zen UI, PixelMaster camera, Optical Zoom, OIS, Fast Charging
Announcement Philippines, January 16, 2016 ~ ZenFestival 2016, Cebu City
Availability January 2016
Price Official SRP: Php 26,995