It is that time of the year – when Asus adds to their Zenfone series. Their latest edition – the Zenfone 4 was launched on September 14th in New Delhi. And guess what? GeekySplash was invited! The event took place at the Hyatt Regency and was quite festive. Here is all you need to know about the event and the phone,
Their invitation featured a mobile with two cameras (as you can see on the box ) and I was expecting a dual camera phone obviously. Moreover, I was expecting the launch of the whole Zenfone 4 series in India. Then, Asus unveiled a new series in India: Zenfone 4 Selfie series with 3 phones.
- Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro
- Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie (ZD553KL)
- Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie (ZB553KL)
Yeah, the same old story – Asus confusing their audience with similarly named phones. The Zenfone 4 Selfie models vary only by storage and the inclusion of a dual camera.
About the event, it took a while to digest the fact that Asus is focussing on Selfie phones like Oppo and Vivo do. I’m not a big fan of these “Selfie” phones – I don’t click selfies all day, I’d much rather have better processing power for the same price. The dual cam setup is hardly meant for the front. To each his own, though. Anyway, I had a look at all the selfie series phones on the dock and found them okay. My first impressions on the camera quality were ‘mediocre’. Honestly, though, we can’t judge just by using it for a while.
Anyway, we got our hands on an ‘Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro’ review unit with us. Let’s start the review with its key specs.
Specifications of Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro:
- Model Name: Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro (ZD552KL)
- Design: 2.5D contoured Corning Gorilla glass display with metal unibody
- Weight: 147g
- Display: 5.5-inch Full High Definition (1920×1080)AMOLED display
- Camera: Rear Camera – 16 MegaPixel, f/2.2, Sony IMX 351. Dual Front Camera – 24MegaPixel DuoPixel, f/1.8, Sony IMX 362 and 5 MegaPixel WideAngle, f/2.2, Omnivision 5670
- Performance: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core Processor
- GPU: Adreno 506
- Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB ROM (MicroSD to 128GB)
- Battery: 3000mAh Li-ion battery (non-removable)
- OS: Android 7.1.1 with ZenUI 4.0
- Miscellaneous: Fingerprint Camera, VR Support, DTS Sound Support, Fast Charging, Dual 4G SIM Support.
- Variants(color): Sunlight gold, Deepsea black
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro Review:
We got the device on 27th October 2017. Our review procedure involves using the device as the daily driver for a week or so. So based on our usage, here is a comprehensive review,
What’s inside the box:
- Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro (Sunlight Gold variant)
- 2A Charger (Fast Charger)
- ZenEar In-The-Ear headphones
- USB Cable
- SIM Ejector Pin
- Manuals and Warranty Card
- Transparent Plastic Case (Thanks, Asus! ❤)
Design and Build:
The design of this device is gorgeous. One will surely love the feel and the form factor of the device. It surely looks premium with the matte finish metal unibody. It has a 2.5D contour Gorilla Glass on the front and the rest of the body is made of metal. The device is slim and sleek. To the front, it has the dual-camera setup, flash, and ambient sensors on either side of the earpiece. To the rear, it has the back camera with flash and antenna bands to the top and bottom of the phone. It has volume controls and power to the right and hybrid SIM Slot to the left. It has USB Type B Slot, headphone jack, and speakers to the bottom. It has backlit for the navigation buttons and the fingerprint sensor is present at home button position.
The build quality is good and strong. Scratches don’t form easily, and the transparent plastic case provided with the box helps the phone withstand damage when you accidentally drop your phone ( tried it ?).
Overall, the design, although nothing out of the box, is great. It doesn’t sport the bezel-less design which a trend now. You can’t reach the volume buttons with your hand while holding and that’s just like any other 5.5-inch phone. Apart from that, the phone feels good to hold and carry, won’t be an issue in your pockets.
Specifications and Performance:
Starting with the display, it comes with a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass, 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED Display and it is gorgeous. Asus claims 500 nits+ brightness for excellent outdoor readability but I didn’t find the display to be excellent in sunlight, it’s just okay in mid-morning sunlight and gets worse at noon. It sports a Snapdragon 625 processor and Adreno 506 GPU, 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of Internal Storage. Yes, you can use a memory card instead of SIM2 thanks to the Hybrid SIM Tray. I would’ve been happier if there were a dedicated memory card slot, though.
This phone comes with Android 7.1.1 with ZenUI 4.0. The new ZenUI is fast, clean and light-weight. The best part being the exclusion of most of the bloatware apps. Apart from ZenUI, all the Android Nougat features work fine in the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro such as multi-window, new emoticons. The new ZenUI 4 adds new features such as Pagemarker, ZenUI safeguard, Twin Apps ( Like Dual-WhatsApp, Dual-Accounts) etc. The most important thing I’ve messed with ZenUI is the new AudioWizard with DTS addition. You need to setup your sound profile for headphones and Bluetooth speakers, select the brand and product for a nice experience. I connected the phone to my car’s Bluetooth stereo once and the audio output was very bad. I had to explore all the options in the AudioWizard and change the equalizer before I got some nice output.
You get up to 3.5 GB of usable RAM and I didn’t face any hiccups or lags during my review period. Surprisingly, switching between apps is really smooth, I was having 6-7 apps always without clearing and most of the time all of them seemed to stay in the memory without getting restarted again.
Talking about the storage you’ll get up to 56GB of Internal Storage out of the 64GB. Call reception is good and I haven’t faced any network issues either. Fingerprint sensor worked mediocre for me, the “360-degree fingerprint recognition” worked like 6 out of 10 times. The speaker output was good and not loud. During my review, I did minor heating during gaming and it’s not a big deal.
During my review period, I’ve received a software update from Asus which had a security patch of October 2017 and a few fixes (The last update was in August 2017, by the way). Which is really great. Also, Asus promised that all Zenfone 3 and Zenfone 4 devices will receive Android O updates. Which, again, is really great.
Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro Camera:
This is the primary selling point of the phone. Let me talk about the front camera first and then about the rear camera. I’ve reviewed the whole Zenfone 3 line up and I say that this Zenfone gave me the best selfie experience ever. They removed the beautification mode from the camera ( you can access it from Selfie Master App, just in case) and honestly I never understood its configuration. Every time I tried changing the settings, it rather softened my skin too much or made eyes real big. Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro gave me the best selfie experience to date.
Asus boasts front camera is of 24 Megapixel and its just partially right. The main front-camera having Sony IMX362 sensor is actually a 12 Megapixel camera, and the 24MP Camera Asus says is actually two photos taken from 12 MP Camera and made into one using some image-processing algorithms, called as the “ DuoPixel 24MP “(Read more).
By default, it is configured at 12 Megapixel and I clicked most of the selfies with the 12MP configuration. You can change it to 24MP configuration if you want but it takes time to process the photo for a while. (Says DuoPixel is processing …).24MP and 12 MP just makes a change in resolution and more exposure. (12MP mode gives resolution of 2944×3928 and 24MP mode gives 4272 x 5696 resolution)
The most basic thing I loved while taking a selfie is that it recognizes your face, it blurs the background. When you take a selfie with your pals, it takes time to recognize their face and focus but that’s okay. The focusing isn’t that great with groupfies though. The background exposure is too much most of the time and misses detail. Selfies are good even with flash. Photos with selfie-flash in other phones don’t usually please me but I really liked them in this case.
The wide-angle camera is just okay and manages to do the job. It does not enhance the photos and the photos end up just looking pale. It is worse in low light – noise and disturbance are high; and clarity, low.
The rear camera is decent. Nothing bad to point out. Colour reproduction can be better, though.
Videos on both front and back camera are just exceptional. I loved the 4K Front Camera Selfie Video and 60 fps videos from the rear. As I said, color reproduction isn’t that great from the rear camera.
Portrait mode on the front camera is good as it is meant only to focus better on face and body. In the case of the rear camera, it sometimes blurs the body and hair of the person. I think the portrait mode needs to be improved.
A few photos clicked from the rear camera,
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro comes with 3000 mAh battery and yes, that’s not a big battery. Using Camera for a longer time will drain the battery real fast. With normal usage, still clicking few photos I managed the device to last a whole day. I was impressed and I did not expect that from a 3000 mAh battery. The Screen-On-Time (SOT) on an average is more than 5 hours. The phone doesn’t have the QuickCharge technology but the charger is a 2A Output charger, hence it charges fast and takes around 2hours to completely charge the phone.
- Sometimes a single photo gets click gives two images – a mirror image, and non-image.
- Camera App goes irresponsive sometimes.
- Caller App doesn’t support multi-windows (What the hell ?).
- Numbers or text you can write during a call in the in-built call memo doesn’t get saved or copied to clipboard after the end of the call.
Bugs are usually removed by the manufacturers by providing system updates. There’s nothing serious you need to worry and Asus is good at giving updates.
I was never a fan of selfie phones and I hate the way few brands endorse their mobiles just by painting your skin white during selfies. I always thought Asus will compete with brands like Motorola and Lenovo to be in the race but Asus never came up with such competing mobiles. Asus’ Zenfone Max (2016) is still one of its most value for money phone in the budget range and that’s the last one from Asus if I’m not wrong. Later on, they adjusted the pricing for the whole Zenfone 3 lineup and yes, now they are doing good comparatively. Now, with the new Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie line-up, their obvious competitors are OPPO and Vivo, the only vendors who market their phones for the sake of selfies.
I started the phone review on a pessimistic note, with little interest in a selfie phone. I also didn’t like the camera on the phone, in the beginning, but when I gave my phone to others, they were quite impressed with the camera – especially the fairer sex. They should know better, right. Anyway, a haircut and a week later, I had more than a thousand photos (selfies and groupies as well). I really came around to selfie phones and was really impressed with both front and rear cameras. Yeah, the wide-angle camera is a little disappointment but still, the primary front camera served the purpose most of the time.
If you do click a lot of selfies and photos, the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie is for you. The battery is good, performance is decent and honestly, what more do you want? Compared to the other OPPO and Vivo Selfie phones in this range, the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is better – it is better than Oppo F3 Plus ( the 6 GB version looks great on paper though) and Vivo V7+, but it is priced slightly more than its competitors i.e Rs.23,999/-. I think Asus has a great phone on their hands with the Zenfone 4 Selfie, but they should still slash the price to around 21 to 22k to position the phone more competitively.