Asus Zenfone 3 Review (ZE520KL) – Premium All Rounder

Hey, everyone! Today we have the new beautiful Asus Zenfone 3! ASUS launched three variants of Zenfone 3 this year at the Zenvolution Event ( ZE520KL – 1A035IN, 1B036IN, 1G037IN; ZE552KL-1A031IN) which share almost the same configuration and differ in few camera sensors and the last one (ZE552KL-1A031IN) has a 5.5-inch screen size and 4GB RAM, 64GB Internal Memory. In the event and their commercials, what Asus mainly highlighted is the 16 MegaPixel camera of Zenfone 3.

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Not wasting much of your time, going into the review; The review unit which we have received is Asus Zenfone 3ZE520KL – 1A035IN). Let us kick start with its specifications first, followed by our review in detail.

Asus Zenfone 3 Specifications:

  ZenFone 3 – ZE520KL (5.2”) / ZE552KL (5.5”)
Operating System Android 6.0 Marshmallow

With ASUS ZenUI 3.0

 

Display

5.2 / 5.5-inch Super IPS+ LCD, 1920×1080

75.6% (5.2”) / 77.3% (5.5”) Screen to Body Ratio, up to 600nits brightness

 Construction Front and rear Corning Gorilla Glass panels with “2.5D” contoured edges and metal frame
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625

Octa-core – 14nm

8×2.0GHz ARM Cortex A53

GPU  Adreno 506
 RAM / Memory 3GB RAM / 32GB Memory (5.2”)4GB RAM / 64GB Memory (5.5”)
 Main Camera sensor  16MP ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 Camera (Sony IMX298 sensor)
 Front Camera  8MP, 84-degree wide view
Fingerprint sensor Rear sensor/5-finger registration /  360 degree recognition / 0.22 second unlock
Connectivity 4G with support for Reliance Jio VoLTE

Bluetooth 4.2

Type-C USB 2.0

SIM / SD slots Slot 1: Micro SIM (4G)

Slot 2: Nano SIM (3G) or Micro SD (supports up to 2TB)

Audio Hi-Res Audio support

New 5 Magnet Speaker
NXP Smart AMP

Battery 2650 mAh (5.2”) – 3000 mAh (5.5”)
Dimensions 146.87 x 73.98 x 7.69mm (5.2”)

152.6 x 77.4 x 7.7mm (5.5”)

Colors Shimmer Gold /  Sapphire Black / Moonlight White
Weight 144 grams (5.2”) – 155 grams (5.5”)
Accessories USB Cable Type C, ZenEar, Adaptor, User Manual & Warranty Card

Asus Zenfone 3 Review:

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Review unit at a glance:

  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE520KL 
  • Saphire Black, kind of Blueish Black (Colour)

Accessories:

  • ZenEar – Decent Earphones
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • Charger, Adapter
  • Hybrid SIM Tray Ejector Tool 
  • Manuals & Warranty Card

Design and Looks:

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Zenfone 3 is one of the best-looking phones in recent times. The 2.5 D glass is just a WOW for the phone. The 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass with 6.16mm edge makes the phone look stunning. The 5.2-inch size makes it very comfortable to hold and easily feels good in pockets. Indeed this can be a buying factor for people like me who hate 5.5-inch displays. There is no doubt that the Zenfone 3 looks premium and gorgeous.

Zenfone 3 has lock and volume rocker on the right side and hybrid SIM-Card Slot to its left. Hybrid SIM Slot in an easy way,  can be explained as 2 SIM Cards or one SIM Card & Memory card. 3.5mm Headphone Jack on the top, USB Type-C Charging Slot to its bottom with speakers; Signal Bands on both top and bottom. Back of the phone resides the FingerPrint Sensors and Camera with no signal bands. The Camera has a small bump; The fingerprint sensor is easy and comfortable while handling the phone.

Zenfone 3 is slim enough and comfortable to hold as I’ve said; But as you look at its photos, you can understand its glossy on both sides and it’s glass on both sides. So there can be a probability of breaking on both sides when the phone slips off. Also, the capacitative buttons of the phone do not have a backlight which makes using the phone during nights a bit difficult.

Check more Asus Zenfone 3 Photos :

Asus Zenfone 3 Unboxing

Specifications and Software:

Excluding camera, Asus Zenfone 3 comes with Snapdragon 625 and Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB RAM and 32 GB ROM inside and Full HD Super IPS+ Display with Scratchproof 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass. Zenfone 3 didn’t unnecessarily use any high-end specs to boast about but however, the performance of the phone is excellent and doesn’t heat up most of the time. Adreno 506 GPU does a decent job while playing 4K videos or playing high-end games. Zenfone 3 supports VR functionality and performs great with VR thanks to its beautiful Full HD Display. Zenfone 3 can be easily handled in daylight with 600 nits brightness and 401 ppi.

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Talking more about the specs, let me start with the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor of Zenfone 3 is one of the best and as fast as 0.2 sec. It can recognize the fingerprint when placed at any angle, and it is flawless. Zenfone 3 comes with 32GB of Internal Memory and can be expandable up to 2TB with a memory card. However, if you want to opt for a memory card, you can use only one SIM thanks to the Hybrid SIM Card Slot. Zenfone 3 supports LTE in both the SIM Cards. It sports a 5-magnet speaker, and it is loud enough and can be improved.

ZenUI 3.0

 

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The handset comes with Android Marshmallow forked with ZenUI 3.0 which looks gorgeous by all means. ZenUI offers many customizations, wallpapers, icon packs, etc. and its clean. However, it comes with few bloatware apps which cannot be removed. Some bloatware apps like ZenCircle, ZenTalk are hardly used by anyone. Apart from bloatware, ZenUI is decent. Read more about the ZenUI 3.0 here.

Camera:

As said earlier, Asus marketed the Zenfone 3 series focussing on its Camera, and it is awesome! The camera of Zenfone 3 is seriously the best one you can get at this price range. Specifications of Camera on paper is 16 MegaPixel Rear and 8 Mega Pixel on the front. It got various modes like Slow Motion, Time Lapse, GIF, Macro, etc. ; but most of the time Auto mode does the job. Its HDR and VHDR modes are worth mentioning. Focusing on details is fast unlike its previous model’s thanks to the Tri-Tech focussing Technology which uses the laser, phase detection and auto focus together. Colour Calibration is right in Asus Cameras than that of Xiaomi Cameras which ruin the reality in outdoors. Night shots are good and sharp.

Also Read : Asus ZenFone Max 2016 – Best value for money

Front Camera of Zenfone 3 is good but however its always been hard for me to understand the front cam settings of skin brightening, cheek thinning, etc. Removal of a few features could be better. Coming to videos, 4K videos are good and stable. Nose and Shake have significantly reduced in the videos thanks to the optical and electrical image stabilization feature (OIS and EIS). Zenfone 3 camera has no issues, and it’s good by all means.

Do check you camera samples below.

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Look at the focussing !

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Check more images here :

Asus Zenfone 3 Camera

Performance:

Asus Zenfone 3 comes with SnapDragon 625 Octa-Core processor which does multi-tasking neatly and during our review period, we played high-end games like NFS Most Wanted: No Limits where the phone heated initially for a while and never heated further. We have never experienced any lag or frame rate drop with Zenfone 3. Though most of the people like to see specs with bigger numbers on paper and praise them, they may not be good performers. In the case of Zenfone 3 using an SD625 chipset, Asus successfully achieved a perfect hardware synced phone with no lag and no heat.

Out of the 3GB RAM, no matter how much you use or you don’t, in the notification center it shows the >1GB RAM mark where the system processes take 1GB of RAM and during need of more RAM, the system manages to free up space by clearing background apps.

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During our gaming tests , we found a new ZenUI add-on , the Game Genie. It not only helps in boosting the phone’s speed for gaming but also adds other features like live recording , searching for walkthroughs, etc. You can read more about the Game Genie here.

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Battery Life:

The handset sports a 2650 mAh battery which is good. With heavy to mediocre usage it can easily last up to a day. It gave us a screen on time of 6 hours to 6 and a half hours in normal mode. There are Battery Modes by the ZenUI which can help you to get more screen on time. Asus Zenfone 3 comes with a USB Type-C charger, and it takes 2 hours to charge completely.

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Final Words:

Pros

  • Best Camera in this Price Range
  • Decent Performance
  • Long Lasting Battery
  • No  Heat No Lag 😀
  • Beautiful FHD IPS Display and Killer Looks
  • ZenUI

Cons

  • Bloatware
  • Slightly overpriced in India

My views

After using Zenfone 3 (ZE520KL) for a couple of time, I can surely say that this phone is perfect in all categories for this price range. Though it is good technically, the only issue I found out is the pricing in the Indian Market. During the International launch, it was $249 for the starting model in the Zenfone 3 series which was the one we’ve reviewed. ( $249 = INR 16,583) Coming to Indian Pricing, the model stands at INR 21,999/- which is approximate $330. Zenfone 3 can be a serious contender at 16-17 K price range cause at a price of 20K Plus; no mobile is offering a Snapdragon 625 chipset. Devices with Snapdragon 625 are being sold from as cheap as 10K itself. Though those cheaply priced devices cannot compete with Asus Zenfone 3’s awesomeness, but on paper lower end chipset still make a remark on customers, Apart from pricing in India,  Zenfone 3 is excellent in every aspect.

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Check the latest price of Asus Zenfone 3 ZE520KL-1A035IN (Black)  now !