- Confusing variants
- No NFC support
- Slow Wi-Fi speeds
- Resolution too low for optimal VR use
The mid-tier mobile market is particularly competitive in the past year. Despite this, the Asus ZenFone 3 hopes to make a splash. While the ZenFone 2 received great reviews, this brand is still relatively new to the mobile market.
Does their latest release have what it takes to keep users happy? Reviews are in and we’re bringing you the good and the bad on the ZenFone 3!
NOTE: Before we get started, it’s important to note the sheer army of variations available for the ZenFone 3. For this summary, we’re focusing on the standard model. The entire ZenFone 3 series is a bit confusing and specs differ greatly between each. If you're not sure which is best for you, the link above offers an easy way to compare the different models before researching!
The glass and metal design of the ZenFone 3 had many reviewers speaking with nostalgia of the Samsung Galaxy S6. While it’s not the freshest design in 2016, reviewers had no complaints. Android Pit said, “In general, the ZenFone 3 is a seductive smartphone but it’s not original. Its top of the range design will please the public.”
The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner stood out to reviewers--both for its unusual rectangle shape and the multi-function options available in the software. It will also take pictures, launch apps or perform other tasks.
The 5.5-inch 1080p Super IPS+ panel on the front of the phone received rave reviews. PC Advisor UK noted, “It's bright (up to 600 nits) and clear (with a full-HD resolution of 1920x1080, 401ppi), with rich colours and strong viewing angles.” The only complaint found was that the resolution was low for VR use. While a few reviewers mentioned color accuracy, software features make it simple to tweak colors to your liking.
The phone’s eight-core Snapdragon 625 processor is far from the top of the benchmark lists. However, performance reviews were good as well. Even during heavy gaming, reviewers made no mention of lag or stuttering. A few reviewers noted slightly higher temperatures during extended use.
The phone initially shipped with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Updates to 7.0 Nougat are available, so be sure to check for updates if you purchase this phone. Regardless of the Android version, you’ll also find Asus’ ZenUI skin. Reviewers had no problems with the visual aspects of the skin. However, many complained about the notifications created by the pre-installed bloatware.
With 64GB of memory, you’ll have plenty of room to store your media or install apps even with the bloatware. Should you need more space, you’ll must choose between dual SIM functionality and microSD expansion.
One of the most touted features by Asus turned out to be a reviewer favorite as well. The 16MP rear camera blew reviewers away with its point-and-shoot simplicity. Phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization and a larger f/2.0 aperture made for consistent shooting in a variety of lighting and action scenarios.
Mobile Syrup tried the phone for two weeks and said, “In my ideal world, I point, click and the photo comes out looking great. The Zenfone 3 delivers on that dream.” They were just as fond of the 8MP front-facing lens, saying, “Like the rear-facing camera, the selfies were of the same great quality, even managing to make the beautification mode common to Androids look a little more realistic than most.”
With a 3,000mAh battery and Quick Charge 3.0 support, reviews indicate the phone offers a great experience with little worry about topping off throughout the day. Should you need to, a full charge only takes 1.5 hours.
The only concerns mentioned in reviews were a lack of NFC and slow Wi-Fi speeds. While speeds were not slow enough to prevent video streaming or other important functions, transferring large files over Wi-Fi might take longer than expected.
Overall, reviews were positive. They even loved the price. VR Zone summed up opinions well, saying, “Stylish and powerful, the ZenFone 3 comes highly recommended for users on a budget.”