Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom Philippines Initial Review, Sample 2.3X Zoomed Camera Shots

Last March 10, 2017, just before my trip to Davao City, our friends from Asus Philippines sent me a brand new Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom retail pack to unbox and play with while having my adventure in the southern part of our country.

As its very name suggests, Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom is the sterling follow-up to the very gorgeous Asus ZenFone Zoom from 2015, which became popular because of its stunning design and its rather rare optical zoom capability. A true upgrade, this 2017 refresh has a thinner and lighter build compared to its predecessor, more advanced imaging capabilities and technical specifications, and a far larger battery pack resulting in longer uptime.

Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom Philippines

In this post, I'll share with you the three things that I thoroughly liked about this new flagship cameraphone as well as a couple of details that Asus can look into in making the follow-up far better.

The first thing that I find quite pleasing about this model is its flex-free, solid construction.

The sleek real metal back plate - with rounded edges and corners - meets seamlessly with the 2.D curved Gorilla Glass 5 face to give the phone a reassuring, flex-free feel in the hand.

You can tell it's a well-crafted device with one grasp. I'm sure ZenFone 3 Zoom can easily survive the knocks and bumps of daily use.

I can't say I'm in love with the design, though, only because this model doesn't look all that unique. I mean, let's face it: Its aesthetics are clearly borrowed from the Asus ZenFone 3 Max and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. This is one of the things that Asus can definitely improve on when crafting the next iteration.

Needless to say, the highlight of this release are its imaging capabilities -- and that's the second thing that I like about the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom.

This handset is equipped with a dual camera set-up at the back that incorporates two 12 MegaPixel optics: One - the SuperPixel camera - has a wide-angle 1/2.5" lens with f/1.7 aperture and Sony's IMX362 sensor while the other has - what appears to be - a telephoto lens that give the camera 2.3 times optical zoom capability.

Aware of the phone's imaging capabilities, I took ZenFone 3 Zoom out for a spin in Davao and shot various subjects. Here are some photos in my gallery that highlight the shooter's 2.3X lossless optical zoom feature (Click for larger view. Best viewed on desktop):


2.3X Optical Zoom

I find the clarity of this zoomed shot particularly impressive. What do you think?

The phone's 13 MegaPixel f/2.0 front cam - just like that of the regular ZenFone 3 - benefits from Asus's Beauty Mode for selfies. The software automatically evens out skin tone and highlights good facial features resulting in self-portraits that are instantly ready for sharing on Facebook or Instagram. I have to note, though, that Asus should try to minimize the bottle-nose effect that users get when the camera is used this close to the face.

I mean, my nose is already big to begin with. But you get the point.

If there's one thing that puts Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom head and shoulders above other imaging-centric Android smartphones that are out in the market, it would have to be its unusually large battery, which is the third thing about this release that I really appreciate.

I don't understand great cameraphones with very limited uptime. What good is a smartphone that takes good photos if it can't stay on for too long?

With depth of just 7.99 mm and weighing only 170 grams, Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom is the thinnest and lightest dual camera phone with a 5 000 mAH battery pack. Inside, it is powered by the powerful yet energy-efficient 64-Bit Octa Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor that works with the ginormous battery to deliver a whopping 42 days of standby or 6.4 hours of 4K video recording – the longest from any smartphone in the world currently.

Personally, I simply find joy in not worrying that this cameraphone would run out of juice in the middle of the day or just when I finally need it to snap photos. In this sense, I can call Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom utterly reliable. You'd probably find a more capable cameraphone with better sensor -- but in terms of sheer uptime, this model is king.

For the geeks: The phone's Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage give it an Antutu Benchmark Score in the range of 60,000 to 63,000. Earlier, I got 61,879 when I ran the test on my unit. This mark reflects the device's above average 3D gaming performance, smooth screen transitions, and great responsiveness to touch gestures. Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom is not the most powerful Android smartphone out there but it should be good enough for even the most demanding mobile gamer.

Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom Philippines

Alright! I'll have more things to say about this smartphone in the coming days so stay tuned. For now, let me wrap this up by disclosing that Asus Philippines will be launching the ZenFone 3 Zoom on April 6, 2017. As for the price, they haven't given official word on it but I reckon it won't be cheap. Right now, I'm just hoping that it won't exceed Php 20,000 -- but that's highly unlikely; Still, it doesn't hurt to be optimistic.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name : Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom
Type : Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category : High-End
Dimensions : 154.3 x 77 x 7.99 mm
Weight : 170 grams
Available Colors : Navy Black, Glacier Silver, Rose Gold
Operating System : Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Zen UI 3.0
Display : 5.5 inches (~70.2% screen-to-body ratio), 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density), AMOLED, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 2.5D Curved Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Processor : 64-Bit Octa Core 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Adreno 506 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 chipset
Internal Storage : 64GB ROM, expandable via hybrid secondary nanoSIM slot supporting up to 256GB
Camera : Back: Dual 12 MegaPixels = (25mm, f/1.7, OIS 4-axis) + (59mm, f/2.8), Tri-Tech autofocus, 2.3x optical zoom factor, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Front: 13 MegaPixels, f/2.0
Video Capture : 4K 30 frames per second, Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second
Audio and Video Playback : MP3, WAV, eAAC+, FLAC, MP4, H.264
Ports : USB Type C, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity : Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSPA+; LTE Cat6
FM Radio : Yes
Sensors : Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyroscope, Fingerprint Scanner at the back
Network : 2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 and SIM 2,
3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
4G bands LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 8(900), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500)
SIM Card Type : Dual nanoSIM
Battery : Non-removable 5,000 mAh Li-Po battery
Uptime : 42 days of standby or 6.4 hours of 4K video recording
Value-Added Features : Aluminum Alloy Shell, Big Battery, AMOLED display, Dual Camera, 2.3X optical zoom, Fingerprint Scanner, Zen UI, Thin and Light Build
Announcement : April 6, 2017
Availability : Philippines - April 2017
Price : TBA

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