Asus is going all out with the Zenfone 3 series in India launching various models at different price-points. The availability of Zenfone 3 Laser was announced recently in India. The smartphone was first showcased at the company’s Zenvolution event in August. Asus Zenfone 3 Laser starts at Rs 18,999 and will be a Flipkart exclusive for a month.
Asus India has introduced several variants of its Zenfone 3 series in India. There is the Zenfone 3 Ultra which has a big 6.8-inch display, the super-expensive Zenfone 3 Deluxe which is the premium flagship model. The Zenfone 3 Laser features a design similar to the series with big display and a compact form factor, but at a more affordable pricing. Asus also launched a battery heavy Zenfone 3 Max variant in India recently.
Given the various Zenfone 3 options floating in the market, we take a look at whether the new Laser is the right choice. We have used the Zenfone 3 Laser for little over a week and here’s our review:
Specifications: 5.5-inch full HD display, Gorilla Glass 3 | 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 430 at 1.4Ghz | 4GB RAM + 32 GB storage space expandable to 128GB | 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 + 8MP front camera with low-light HDR selfie | 3000 mAh battery | Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0 | Asus Zenfone 3 Laser full specs
Price: Rs 18,999
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser sports a metal unibody design. There are thin antenna bands running on top and bottom of the rear of the device and the rectangular camera unit juts out quite a bit. The fingerprint scanner is just below this, and it’s not the regular round fingerprint scanner you might find on most other phones. On the front it is all glass, along with three screen buttons.
As a design, the phone looks good, pretty much in tune with what you’ll find in the market in this price range. The gold version is not too blingy, and the compact form factor of this phone makes it easy to hold and use.
So what’s good?
Asus Zenfone 3 comes with a vivid and crisp 5.5-inch full HD display. You don’t need to keep the display brightness at full, although I had trouble reading stuff on this in bright sunlight.
Battery is another area where Asus has done a pretty good job with the Zenfone 3 series. On the PCMark Benchmark test, it scored 8 hours 35 minutes, which is a pretty good score for a phone in this price range. It will easily last you a day with heavy to moderate usage, and even with longer sessions of gaming, I didn’t see the battery levels dip too much.
On the performance side, Asus Zenfone 3 Laser can perform most basic tasks with ease. Multi-tasking, social media browsing should not be an issue, although this one doesn’t come out on top in benchmark scores. However, when it comes to graphics-heavy games like Asphalt 8, the phone does struggle and there’s a noticeable lag. The fingerprint scanner on the back works accurately most of time, and it can be used to pick up incoming calls as well. This function also worked accurately during the course of my review.
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser’s 13MP camera will deliver some good shots if you are outdoors with sufficient light. The reds and pinks don’t bleed, which is always a good thing at this price-point, and the pictures look sharp. However, there is a tendency to over-saturate some colours like green, but most people can live with that. But there are other issues with the camera, which I’ll discuss next.
What’s not good?
As usual the camera UI is way too confusing, and the camera itself is not the fastest. It takes time to focus and click a shot, especially when taking pictures indoors or in low-light. This is frustrating when you don’t have such steady hands, or the object is constantly moving: eg my pet dog.
I wasn’t too impressed by the selfie camera, and the beauty mode is just criminal. I looked pinker than I’ve ever done in my entire life and struggled to find how to switch it off. Asus really needs to improve the camera UI and go for simplicity.
The UI on the Asus smartphones still remains a challenge to figure out. A sleeker, minimalistic ZenUI is too much to expect I suppose. Settings can be confusing and even with the 32GB space, I still wish Asus didn’t load it with so many of their apps. Or better still if they could just put it all in one folder. I don’t really need ZenTalk or Laser Rule, nobody does. I bring this up because Asus has spoken about how they will cut down on the bloatware.
While the battery life is good, the phone takes a good 3-4 hours to charge fully.
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser has some points in its favour: I like the design, the camera is good but can be painfully slow in most situations, and the battery life will be enough for most regular users. The problem for Asus Zenfone 3 Laser isn’t competition from other phones, it is from the brand itself. The Zenfone 3 Max has a lot more battery on offer, and comes in a cheaper variant as well. Plus, there are phones with better processors like Lenovo Z2 Plus with Snapdragon 820 available at Rs 17,999 in the market. With the Snapdragon 430, Zenfone 3 Laser seems overpriced at Rs 18,999.