badge ASUS Zenfone Zoom Review: The master of Camera Phones? ~ Tech Siddhi

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

ASUS Zenfone Zoom Review: The master of Camera Phones?

ASUS as we know is playing aggressively in Smartphone markets since the inception of its Zenfone brand. The Zenfone series has given ASUS a respectable space in market as well as the market share it was looking for. The ASUS Zenfone 5, Zenfone 4 were low budget smartphones boasting high end specifications and ASUS's proprietary technologies such as Pixel master running over the top of Zen UI. The Zenfone 2 series went up a little higher and did well for 10K to 20K price segment, however recently ASUS has played big on its part and launched premium smartphone the Zenfone Zoom, priced at Rs 37,999/- . So, does the phone justifies the price tag? let's find out.

Build and Design of the phone:

We will start our review from the back side of the phone as this is the place which holds its much talked about camera unit. The back comes with stretched leather covering over plastic and definitely looks premium. The back is dominated by the camera unit which is a circle enclosing the 13 MP rear camera, dual tone LED Flash and a laser auto-focus, along the circular line you can see details about camera written such as 3X optical Zoom with OIS | 13 Megapixel F2.7-F4.8 | DualFlash | Laser AF | HOYA Lens. Hoya is the hardware partner of ASUS for Zenfone Zoom. The camera unit is bulging out slightly but given the fact that it houses 10p element HOYA lenses and comes with 3x optical zoom without protruding anything out, its acceptable.

You can see intel branding on top right corner and ASUS, branding in mid lower segment of the phone, There is deliberate bulge which looks like stitched leather which keeps camera unit safe from scratches when the phone is kept on plain surface, it also helps preventing the audio muffled from the speaker which is just below it on the left side in same position.

The phone comes with solid metallic built on the sides, left side of the phone is void of any physical buttons, the left corner however comes with a lanyard slot to tie a lanyard, bottom edge of the phone comes with mic and micro USB charging slot which supports fast charging.

On top of the phone we have a noise cancellation mic and 3.5 mm audio jack, right side of the phone has volume rockers on top, power button just down it and 2 dedicated buttons for camera app on bottom which can be used for recording video or clicking the images. Long pressing these buttons from home launches the camera app as well in video/normal mode.

Front side is dominated by a 5.5 inch HD IPS display which comes with a pixel density of 403 ppi, on top of the display we have an Earpiece, 5 MP front camera right to it, ASUS branding in the center and other sensors such as proximity, light sensor to the left. Coming down to bottom there are 3 capacitive buttons for back, home and multitasking placed from left to right respectively. Further down there is familiar ASUS chin of the phone with concentric circle design.

Design wise ASUS has listened to the feedback received after Zenfone 2 and thankfully it has not placed volume rockers at back and power button on top of the phone. all the buttons are quite accessible and seems well placed.


ASUS Zenfone zoom's display is definitely better than the displays of other Zenfone models we have seen in the past. The color reproduction is good, display looks brighter and can be looked at in direct sunlight. However for a premium phone 1080p display looks below standard and you can get much higher resolution displays for less price, but point to be noted is that display is not the selling point of the phone , is it?


Here comes the area where ASUS has boasted a lot about its strength and even compared the phone's camera to that of a DSLR. Though those claims are only good for marketing as we think no phone camera yet beat a DSLR, but Zenfone Zoom does justice to the hype created going by the standards of a smartphone. The 3X optical zoom works really well and we are impressed by the details in pictures we were able to capture thru this camera. We found built in modes like HDR, Low light to be taking a longer time to process the image, manual mode works well. Below are few sample shots taken from camera in different settings.

3X optical Zoom (Above 1X - below 3X Click to enlarge)

Auto mode (Click on image to enlarge)

Auto mode (Click on image to enlarge)

Auto mode (Click on image to enlarge)

Depth of Field (Click on image to enlarge)

Low Light

Software and Performance:

A phone touted with tag line "PC like performance" better perform good specially when it runs on 2.3 GHz intel quad core processor supported by 4GB RAM. Zenfone Zoom didn't disappointed us in our day to day use, we didn't observed any heating issue or any lag while switching between multiple applications. For battery part we were left with around 20-30% of battery after using it for complete day which includes 3G network, wifi, bluetooth on for full time, around 3 hours screen on time, occasionally a game or two of GT Racing. The phone comes with fast charger and does gets full charged in around 2 hours (though never measured exact time it took to charge).

ASUS Zenfone Zoom comes with ZenUI based upon Android Lollipop 5.0, there are many pre-installed applications which looks more like of bloat ware, Auto start manager is one such applications which controls which apps are allowed to run by default when your phone is restarted any time. However, the UI is pretty stable and smooth and we didn't faced any issues with the software.


Zenfone Zoom comes with an out of box optical zoom features which packs in 11.95 and doesn't protrudes out, however on down side it lacks on Finger print scanner which is a norm for flagship phones and comes with slightly lower resolution display, but on positive side the phone does really well for what it is marketed i.e. camera performance and has 4 GB RAM, 128 GB internal storage and great performing processor in its arsenal. So if you are looking for some serious photography smartphone with decent hardware to accompany it then Zenfone Zoom deserves a chance, however if you are fine with casual photography and 3x optical zoom doesn't charm you then there are plenty of options available in market at lower costs.


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