ASUS has launched a array of new devices under Zenfone 3 series with a huge make over in design language. Shifting from plastic to metal body that too in sleek and light enclosure is the main USP of the new series. We already reviewed Asus Zenfone 3 Max in one of our earlier posts. In this post we will be looking at Zenfone 3 Laser a successor to Zenfone Laser series which is well known for its camera features assisted by Laser Auto focus.
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser Design:
The Zenfone 3 Laser comes in all metal body with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass in front and is 7.9 mm thin. The device weighs just 150 grams which is remarkable. The screen to body ratio is again pretty good as despite a 5.5 inch display the phone fits in hand quite well and can be operated with single hand.
On the front majority of real estate is owned by 5.5 inch Full HD display, over which lies the front camera, There are capacitive navigation buttons below the display without the ASUS trademark chin which saves a lot of space. The capacitive buttons are not back lit hence it might take some time to get used to it. On the back side the phone sports a metal back with oleophobic coating as per ASUS.
The rear camera is placed at top right in the center of the phone and is slightly protruded, the dual led flash and laser autofocus grace the camera on one side each. The finger print scanner is placed right below the camera unit and has a rectangular shape which we have not seen yet in any other phone. The power and volume rockers are placed on right, while the SIM slot is placed on the left side which is a hybrid dual sim slot. On the top you can find a 3.5 mm Audio jack where as at the bottom there is a Micro USB port for charging and data transfer along with Speaker gill and Microphone.
Specifications and Software:
Zenfone 3 Laser is powered by a 64 bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, with Adreno 305 and 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. In terms of storage you get 32 GB of internal storage and can be expanded upto 128 GB via micro SD card. ASUS Zenfone 3 Laser comes with Google drive offer of up to 100 GB cloud storage for two years.
On Camera front, the phone comes with a 13 MP primary camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED real tone flash. On front you get 8 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture. The rear camera supports 1080p video recording at 30 fps. For connectivity you get options such as Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi direct, GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS and 4G. The phone supports 3G and 4G in both sim slots however only one can be activated at any given point of time.
On software front the phone runs on ASUS ZenUI 3.0 which is built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The UI features are same as with the other Zenfone 3 series devices such as real-time weather animation and clock widgets, Zen motion gestures to perform tasks quickly etc.
Over all we like the interface and for a change it looked much less cluttered however there are still a lot of pre-installed applications mostly from ASUS itself which still can be classified as bloatware apps if not all a majority of apps are those which are not used by average users.
Most talked about feature of the phone is its camera with laser autofocus tech which claims to lock focus in just 0.03 seconds. We found that laser autofocus is indeed pretty fast and it quickly locked focus very quickly. We found camera to be especially good in well lit conditions where you can capture a lot of details. Low light shots too turned out good however you can still notice some noise and grain in the photos where lighting was not adequate.
|Daylight Shot - Auto HDR Mode|
The front camera is also good and compliments its rear part. The selfies are automatically taken with beautification mode on however you can choose to disable the feature or adjust the scale on which you want it to work.
The phone turns out to be a mediocre performer when it comes to day to day usage. Its good for normal usage like browsing internet, social media apps and photography. However with lots of background apps running it starts to respond slow. Watching movies on the phone is a good experience owing to its vibrant display. We accidentally dropped the device once as it felt a bit slippery on the edges (like most of metallic phone does), however we did not notice any damage due to the fall. The finger print sensor is responsive but not the fastest one around. For music lovers the speakers quality is decent for this segment, the earphones works even better with decent music quality. In terms of battery life the phone lasted with around 25% juice left for which we used in day for social media apps, internet browsing , video playback of around 30-40 minutes, casual gaming for around half an hour and around 8-10 phone calls for an average of 50 seconds duration. We got average scores on Antutu and other benchmarking test scores as expected keeping in mind the processor and other hardware.
ASUS has really upped the ante with the Zenfone3 series, however the pricing is also substantially high for these smartphones when compared to competitors like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 or Lenovo Z2 Plus. The Zenfone 3 Laser is priced at Rs 20,000 and offers you average specifications and specialized camera features. On the down side the phone doesn't comes with USB Type-C port and doesn't support Fast charging. However, we personally feel that it is still worth for around 15000 Rs and if you are getting some offers, cashbacks or buyback options around this range then it becomes a sensible choice.