The phablet is a concept that came about from the demand for a larger smartphone in India, a market where the PC was not really popular and the phone was becoming the first and only device for a lot of users. The phablet was supposed to be sized between 5 and 6.99 inches so that users could get maximum screen size but still be able to hold the phone in their hands to make a call. The phablet was a huge success and the size range between 5 and 6 inches ended up being standard. But some companies have still not let go of their efforts to sell larger devices. Larger devices like the Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra.
Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra
This is one large phone. The hits you as soon as you open the box, making you wonder if you came home with a tablet. You better have a good reason to buy a phone this big, otherwise there is no reason to read any further. The Zenfone 3 Ultra carries forward the now-familiar Asus design language with brushed metal finishes and metallic edges, all oozing style at many levels. It has volume rockers on the rear panel and a home button up front with a fingerprint scanner. The former makes sense as that would be where you finger will rest and given the size of this phone it would have been tough to reach out to the sides to change volume.
Specs: 6.8-inch IPC LCD panel (1080 x 1920 pixels, ~324 ppi pixel density) | Octa-core (4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A72 & 4×1.4 GHz Cortex-A53) Qualcomm MSM8976 Snapdragon 652 | 4GB RAM | 64GB Storage expandable up to 256 GB| 23 MP rear camera + 8MP front camera | 4,600 mAh battery | Android 6.0 with ZenUI
Price: Rs 49,999
What is good?
The Zenfone 3 Ultra clearly has one of the best Android cameras around, certainly one of the beefiest in terms of specs and sensor size. So pictures are very good even in low light, offering great detail and rich colours. There is a full pro mode as well almost all presets you would find on a point and shoot camera. The flash is powerful and will give you great results even in pitch darkness. You will however have to struggle a bit to manage this large camera, especially when the subject is a bit hard to handle.
The Ultra packs good processing and comes withe RAM to back it up. Playing games, watching high definition movies and heavy browsing all come naturally to this phone. It does not heat up with most tasks and benchmark scores put this phone clearly in the mid-range, just above last year’s Google Nexus 6.
The phone has one of the largest batteries in a handheld device. The size surely helps on this front. Still, despite the large Full HD screen, this phone can offer you two full days of active use. You can squeeze out more if you are careful about the brightness and volume.
I hate watching movies on smartphones. But with this size, I actually don’t mind a three-hour boring Hindi movie on a flight or long train journey. It helps that this phone has a good Full HD screen and speakers that complement it well. The dual speakers at the bottom really give the volume a boost towards the fag end of the scale.
What is not that good?
This is a very unwieldy phone and you will have to be extra careful while handling it to ensure it does not slip out of your hands to smartphone hell. It is also a heavy phone at almost 235 grams so you will need to get use to carrying this phone in your pocket.
The one-hand mode is easy to access from the home screen, but it certainly isn’t the best out there. Asus could have though a bit out of the box to make this more easy to use.
The phone comes with its fair share of bloatware apps. This is certainly avoidable in this day and age, especially for a customer who is discernible enough to buy a phone like this.
Should you buy?
If you are one of those who used to walk around with a full tablet to make you calls, then this might seem like a sophisticated upgrade. I am sure there are a lot of users who have genuine use for a smartphone that offers an extra-large screen and this will appeal to them. But I think a lot of buyers might get this for the camera and battery life, choosing to adjust and live with the larger build.