Asus ZenFone 3 ZE552KL Review by a Filipino Fresh Graduate : Great Features and Points for Improvement

#TPWriterFellow and DLSU-M Fresh Graduate, Nico Aguila is the self-proclaimed 'official' tech support guy of his friends. Always ready to give you tips and tricks with Android devices as well as pieces of advice on which smartphone or tablet you should get (whether it be running on Android or iOS), Nico sees TechPinas as the best tech blog in the Philippines and also as his safe haven when he reads tech news happening in the country. Now that he's already a DLSU Alumni, Nico plans to find a stable job in tech, have a family when he can, and of course, expose his future kids to technology and TechPinas so that they'll enjoy great bonding times together. Here's his review of the Asus ZenFone 3 5.2-inch ZE552KL.

I've recently received an Asus ZenFone 3 as a graduation gift -- and after spending several weeks using the handset, here's what I have to say about it.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

I have always been loyal to my daily drivers: a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an O+ Air. They’re both very capable phones that are - to this day - still able to meet my expectations since both phones still perform well for my regular routine of browsing through social media, playing games, and a couple of photos taken here and there. However, my phone experience has gone a couple of notches up once I got my hands on the ZenFone 3 and for that, here are 10 reasons why I think the ZenFone 3 ZEKK2KL would make a great phone for students and newly grads like me.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Eye-Catching Design

We can surely say that Asus has stepped up their design game with the ZenFone 3. The third generation ZenFone features thin bezels and premium build materials such as metal frames and front and back glass panels. Fortunately, the glass panels are protected by Gorilla Glass, ensuring that the ZenFone 3, despite its elegance, can take a beating. For me, what makes the ZenFone 3 a true design winner is the way Asus has managed to hide the antenna lines. By tucking them away in the frame of the device, the antenna lines blend in quite nicely with the phone, ultimately giving you a clean slab of glass.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

One word: Suave!

Beautiful Screen

I’ve got some friends who currently rock the latest and greatest that Samsung and Apple have to offer and I can honestly say that the 1080p display on my ZenFone 3 can be just as good as theirs. The ZenFone 3 has options to adjust the screen color mode to its user’s liking so those who wish for more vibrancy in their screen will do just fine with this one. Also, its screen can produce up to 500 nits of brightness, ensuring that the screen’s visibility will never be compromised during outdoor use.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

The 5.2-inch 1080p screen makes your viewing experience an enjoyable one.

Good Battery Life

I assure you guys that you won’t be disappointed with the ZenFone 3’s battery life. Going with the 5.2-inch variant, my unit comes with a 2600 mAh battery pack. Sure, that looks measly in today’s standards, but a full charge can last me through a day with heavy usage! That means a lot of browsing through social media apps that use tons of battery like Snapchat and Instagram, as well as graphics intensive games like Mobile Legends and Modern Combat 5. In addition to that, the ZenFone 3 already utilizes a USB-C port, enabling faster charging rates compared to the traditional micro-usb ones.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

This charging cycle got me around 3 hours of screen ontime, with about one and a half hour gaming session with mobile legends

Zippy Performance

My Zenfone 3 is packed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 that features 8 cores of cortex A-53 processors with an Adreno 506 GPU coupled with 4 GB of RAM. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is also loaded into the mix, letting me score a modest 63,134 in AnTuTu. This power package ensured that my experience with the Zenfone is lag free, with the phone opening apps easily and transitioning smoothly from one app to another. The huge amount of RAM is my favorite though, since I can run multiple apps at a time. This is evident whenever switch to social media apps while I wait for my character to respawn in online multiplayer matches.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Awesome Camera

Asus markets the ZenFone 3 as a smartphone that is truly built for photography, and the phone really delivers on that statement. Even when in auto mode, the phone can capture amazing photos thanks to its Sony IMX sensor with OIS. Sir Mark also showed its optical prowess by sharing his experience of taking galaxy shots over at Batanes with the ZenFone 3’s manual mode. Here are some of my favorite shots taken with the ZenFone 3 (click on images for larger view):

Handy Flip Cover

As with every smartphone, there are a bunch of accessories made especially for the ZenFone 3. Asus has a flip cover that features a circular opening for the screen to show you your notifications at a glance, as well as other features like the weather, a calendar, a flashlight toggle, and controls for whichever music app is active on the background.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Outdoor Mode for the Speakers

The ZenFone 3 utilizes a five magnetic speaker technology to deliver a great audio experience. Its speaker is located at the lower right corner of the phone so it could easily be muffled by your hands when holding it at a certain way. It would have been better if they opted for front facing speakers, but the outdoor mode makes up for that by delivering louder sound levels without that much of a worry for distortion.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Fingerprint Sensor and Additional Security Features

I like how the ZenFone 3’s fingerprint sensor is placed on the back of the phone simply because I can easily unlock my phone whenever I reach it out from my pocket. For me, the speed that the ZenFone 3 unlocks through the fingerprint scanner can be as fast as the one on the iPhone. This additional layer of security ensures that your data is protected from unwanted entities. In addition to the fingerprint sensor, Asus encrypts your device every time you shut it down and decrypts it once it boots up, with the option to require you that you input a pattern before starting up your device.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Blue Light Filter

Smartphones with built-in blue light filters are still only a handful in the business, and the ZenFone 3 is one of them. The presence of a blue light filter comes in very handy especially when using your phone in very dark areas, or when it’s already night time since it reduces the strain on your eyes when using the phone for prolonged periods.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

4K Video

Despite being a mid-ranger in today’s mobile world, the ZenFone 3 is capable of shooting 4K video. Coupled with the OIS and EIS that the camera module of the ZenFone 3 possesses, video recording and playback is ensured to be of the highest quality, perfect for when you want those memorable moments to be captured in exceptional detail.

Asus ZenFone 3 5.5-inch

Points For Improvement

Like all things in life, Asus ZenFone 3 is not perfect. To be specific, here are three things that I think Asus should consider implementing on the follow-up model to make it even better.

First, I hope they'd do away with the secondary hybrid nano-SIM slot and just put a dedicated microSD card memory expansion slot. I hate compromising the phone's Dual SIM capability just so I could have additional storage on the device.

Second, Asus should lessen or altogether remove the pre-installed bloatware on the smartphone. Setting up my phone became quite a hassle because of all the apps that I needed to upgrade just to get things going. I believe all of these applications can be downloaded from the Play Store so I hope Asus would not force them on users.

Finally, since Asus is positioning its top-of-the-line ZenFone models as great cameraphones, I hope the company would consider adding a dedicated camera hardware button on their new flagship releases. I believe pressing the shutter on the screen can be rather challenging for those with really shaky hands so such feature would be greatly appreciated.

That's it! How about you, TP Friends? Anyone want to share their favorite feature present in the Zenfone 3? How do you think Asus can further improve its flagship smartphone moving forward? Let us know in the comments section below!

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