This year, Asus made a strategic u-turn with an entry into the high-end, premium smartphone category. The Taiwan-based company released the ZenFone 3 with a Snapdragon 625 at Rs 27,999. It was a good smartphone, but couldn’t stand against the OnePlus 3.
As a company that is determined to crack the top-tier of the segment, Asus is back again and this time, with the ZenFone 3 Deluxe. If you’re curious about Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe, here’s what we thought about the phone after our review.
Specifications: 5.7-inch full HD AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 4 | 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 821| 6GB RAM + 256GB internal storage storage expandable to 128GB | 23MP rear camera+ 8MP front camera| 3000mAh battery | Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0
Price: Rs 62,999
Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe
Sporting a ridiculously big 5.7-inch FHD screen that’s encased in an aluminum unibody shell, ZenFone 3 Deluxe is not a small-sized smartphone. Surprisingly, though, the phone feels light in weight and can be used one-handed. What I like about the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is that it’s significantly narrower compared to my Nexus 6P, thus making it easier to handle. Rather than having a flat back, this Asus-made phone has the curved back which provided a sturdier grip.
But there’s more to it. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe sports the invisible antenna design that’s also present on the ZenFone 3 Ultra. In addition, Asus also trimmed down the bezels, creating a near edge-to-edge display. The power button and volume button are on the right side, and on the left is the hybrid tray slot for microSD and SIM. At the bottom you will find the speaker and the USB Type-C port for fast charging.
The headphone jack has been placed on the top of the device. Below the 5.7-inch FHD display, you will find capacitive soft buttons for home, back and recent on the front. The 8-megapixel camera sits above the display, while the 23-megapixel shooter on the rear slightly protrudes next to the flash. The fingerprint scanner is embedded below the camera module.
For those people who want a phone that’s large, easy to hold and doesn’t look massive next to their face, I think the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is a good bet.
Looking at the 5.7-inch FHD (1920×1080) AMOLED screen for a few minutes and you will be impressed. The display indeed looks good, and it’s better over the previous Asus-made smartphones. Clarity is good enough, with good colours, deep blacks and reasonable contrast. The screen is bright, making its easy to view, under the brightest lighting conditions.
For movie lovers, the display on the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is excellent. I also liked an option to adjust the colour temperature of the screen as well as the “Bluelight Filter”, which gives the screen a warm, yellowish tinge. The feature is actually very similar to Apple’s Night shift mode, which is better for your eyes at night. For those who read ebooks on their phones, I think the feature is noteworthy.
Under the hood, Asus decided to go with a quad-core Snapdragon 821 clocked at 2.4Ghz. This is a flagship processor from Qualcomm stable which can also be found inside the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and the OnePlus 3T. Technically, the chipset is a bit faster than the Snapdragon 820 available on the OnePlus 3.
While the CPU is fairly fast and able to cope with my most daily tasks, I didn’t notice any drastic changes in terms of performance though. Having said that, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe feels snappy, thanks to 6GB RAM. Additionally, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe comes with 256GB of storage space and microSD card support.
I’m a heavy-duty user, and my requirements mean I need a fast phone that won’t let me down while I cover a live press conference. I usually have 13-15 apps running in the background and I love playing games on my mobiles. Truth is, the Snapdragon 821 and the 6GB RAM, makes everything fast. This also tells you that the phone is ready for quite demanding tasks.
With a 23-megapixel rear camera and optical image stabilization, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is fairly reasonable. Overall picture quality on the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is quite good, with photos taken under decent lighting coming out sharp with accurate colours and contrasts are generally good. In low-light conditions, I’m still not convinced about the ZenFone 3 Deluxe.
When you put the ZenFone 3 Deluxe against the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 7 Plus, the phone has trouble in capturing shots at night. As far as videos are concerned, the camera can shoot in 1080p and 4K too. For selfie addicts, the smartphone has an 8-megapixel front shooter. I stuck to auto mode and liked the results, even in low light.
ZenFone 3 Deluxe has a 3000mAh battery with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. The battery life of the phone was excellent, easily lasting over a day and half without stressing too much. Using it as my primary device, listening to 3 hours of music, browsing and running multiple apps at any time of the day, an hour of gaming while coming to office, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe stayed long, really long.
Since my commute to office on a metro is time consuming, I definitely want to listen to music. While hi-Res audio support (claimed to be better-than-CD music files quality) is getting popular, I still haven’t seen most premium smartphones taking the due advantage. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe does support hi-resolution audio support, and it even comes with nice earbuds. Some may not even care about a hi-Res audio support on smartphones, but for a user like me, premium audio matters. I think I’m really impressed with the phone’s audio quality.
What’s not good?
The ZenFone 3 Deluxe sports the same user interface as the ZenFone 3 Ultra and ZenFone 3. Asus has its own take on the standard Android experience, with customised software, in the form of ZenUI 3.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
ZenUI 3.0 is still heavily customised interface and yes, it comes with loads of preloaded apps. Asus tried to incorporate a number of extra features and bloatware, messing with the entire aesthetics. Large rounded icons and a cartoonish look given to the interface, could divert a user. Frankly, I’m still not convinced with ZenUI 3.0.
Should you buy?
Asus may consider its ZenFone 3 Deluxe as a contender to the iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7 Edge and Pixel XL. Unfortunately, despite Asus’ best efforts to make the ZenFone 3 Deluxe the king of the smartphone market, I doubt someone would be ready to pay Rs 62,999. That’s a high price to pay for this phone especially since it doesn’t exactly outperform the OnePlus 3T, which sells for Rs 34,999 for the 128GB variant and even packs a Snapdragon 821 processor and 6GB RAM. Yes, the standard has been raised too high.