[REVIEW] ASUS ZenFone 3. Premium Not Necessary To Be Expensive

Finally ASUS ditched its plastic material build for its ZenFone series and adopted aluminium and glasses on its latest ZenFone 3 series.

ASUS ZenFone 3 is their mainstream model 2016 has surprised us with much improved built and decent price tags. The new ZenFone 3 does feel and looks alike the Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7 especially the premium built of glasses sandwiches the metal frame. It comes with two display screen size which are 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch in Full HD display.

Here are the things you will get when you unbox the ASUS ZenFone 3 5.5-inch;

Design & Built

The ZenFone 3 is made out of quality material that usually found on some premium and expensive flagship device. Which is a good thing, giving an impression of premium built smartphone that won’t burn your wallet.

The review unit that I have, features a 5.5-inch Full HD Super-IPS display protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 including the rear glass. Due to the nature of glass, the grip is kinda slippery and fingerprints magnet. A good grip case would overcome this issue.

The volume rocker has now moved from rear-mounted to the right side along with the power button to give way to fingerprint scanner.

On the rear side is a 16 megapixel camera with bump and a fingerprint scanner. The rectangular fingerprint scanner is quite accurate and fast. It also can launch camera with double taps.

On the front you will find a LED notification, earpiece, ambient-light sensor and an 8 megapixel front-facing camera. 

Below the screen, are the capacitive buttons and it doesn’t have backlit keys; only printed navigation buttons.

On the left side is a hybrid SIM slot that support a micro SIM and a nano SIM or microSD card slot.

The bottom is the USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack and speaker. Yes! USB Type-C has being introduced on the ZenFone 3.


The Super-IPS display is bright and the color density is much improved over the previous model. The auto-brightness finally working perfectly as the previous ZenFone facing trouble adjusting the brightness with auto-brightness.


It comes with Qualcomm’s latest mid-range processor, Snapdragon 625 that built on a 14nm process. This translate to better performace and lower power consumption. It may not be as powerful as flagship Snapdragon 820 SoC but it’s good enough and snappy to runs most of the tasks, apps and games with no hiccups.

It has 3GB or 4GB of RAM and comes with 32GB or 64GB onboard storage. The storage can be further expanded to 2TB.

The ZenFone 3 runs on ZenUI 3.0 ontop of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The Android 7.0 Nougat is coming very soon as ASUS is having Android 7.0 Nougat Beta Tester recruitment few weeks ago.


ASUS is focusing on the camera performance and the ZenFone 3 is more of a camera based oriented. It packed with a 16 megapixel camera with SONY latest IMX298 sensor. Not that all, it comes with TriTech Auto-focus that involved Laser Auto-focus, Phase Detection Auto-focus and Continuous Auto-focus, plus 4-axis Optical Imagine Stabilization (OIS) and 3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) for steady pictures and videos taking.

ASUS has one of the best camera app offering assorted camera modes like Night, Selfie, Effect, Slow Motion, Manual and much more. The Manual Mode is very good where you can have full control of the camera settings like ISO, Focus, Exposure and etc. If you have a steady hand or a smartphone tripod, you may able to capture noise-less photo with 50 ISO.

The front shooter is an 8 megapixel with f/2.0 aperture and feature different modes like selfie-panorama, beautification, time-lapse and more.

Here are some photos taken with the rear camera;
(click on the image for higher resolution viewing)




The 3,000 mAh battery is impressively good. On my heavy usage days, I can get almost 5 hours of screen of time with more than 15 hours on battery. Although it powered with Qualcomm SoC and uses USB Type-C, the ZenFone 3 doesn’t feature Qualcomm Quick Charge. It only supports the standard 5V/2A charging speeds which take more than 2 hours to complete a full charge.

The ZenFone 3 with 5.5-inch display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB is priced at RM 1,699 where the smaller variant that features 5.2-inch display, 3GB of RAM and 32GB is cheaper by RM 200 (RM 1,499)


ASUS ZenFone 3 is the most beautiful smartphone they ever made. The premium build quality and impressively good camera put ashamed over other inexpensive smartphone.  It is a reliable and affordable device that you can get in the market now.

The drawbacks of the ZenFone 3 are the missing backlit capacity keys, no Quick Charge and a lot preloaded bloatware apps.

Built – 9.5/10
Display – 9/10
Software – 7/10
Camera – 8.5/10
Battery – 9/10
Value – 8.5/10

Overall –

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