After the Zenfone 2, ASUS has come back with another beast – that not just shoots up the camera of the device, but the price too. The Zenfone Zoom that is priced at a whopping 37,999 INR has 3X Optical Zoom (which does stand out well) and a burnished-leather texture on its back. While these two are the remarkable differences between the Zenfone 2 and Zenfone Zoom, do you really think ASUS is making up for the price difference of INR 20,000? We’re just about to find that out.
Note: None of the pictures in this review have any filter applied upon, enhanced (or) compressed.
A grand launch at Agra, India:
Thankfully, ASUS has included a headphone along with the device this time. Apart from a charger, USB cable and headphones, ASUS has included a strap so you can fasten your device to your wrist – that is probably the limit for making the device more like a DSLR substitute.
Thanks to Shruti for the unboxing images.
Not to mention, the Zenfone Zoom is a flagship from the Taiwanese manufacturer and the build quality of the phone portrays it well. Having used the device for a few weeks now, I must admit that I am liking the leather texture on the back – something that most manufacturers are now focused on – although I am a bit skeptical about how long the back panel would sustain considering my rough holding patterns.
While the back panel makes the device look much like a typical camera, the front has nothing different from other Zenfone devices and it is really difficult to make out which Zenfone device you are looking at when they are kept together.
The device has a dedicated camera button and also a dedicated button for video recording, long pressing which opens up the camera. This works even when the device is locked (with or without security locks).
Unlike the Zenfone 2, the Zoom has the volume rocker buttons and the power button on the side.
The build quality of the device outperforms most other Zenfone devices.
The only component that sets this device from most other is the Camera. The 13 MP rear shooter comes with a 3X Optical Zoom which pretty much retains the image quality after zooming in. The digital zoom is optional and isn’t enabled by default.
The Zenfone Zoom uses a Panasonic SmartFSI sensor which is also used in the Zenfone 2 and most other 13 MP shooters – but what makes it different is the 10-element lens from Hoya which makes it possible for the device to provide an Optical Zoom without imposing a bump on its back.
ASUS claims the picture quality to be equal to that of a DSLR. Find the pictures I took with the device to find it for yourself.
In case you think you’re arriving at a biased opinion because I shot one of the seven wonders of the world with this phone, here’s a shot of how Bangalore roads look like with this phone on a Monday morning.
The camera has an aperture range from f/2.7 to f/4.8 and a 28-84mm focal length and applies Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology on the pictures you click to steady your shots. It lets you focus in 0.03 seconds – increase that by a few milliseconds depending on how much you zoom in. Feel free to open these images in a new tab and zoom in.
The ASUS Zenfone Zoom is powered by a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor, clocked at 2.3 GHz, and backed by the PowerVR G6430 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. That makes the device a beast but what disappoints me is the bloatware that ASUS stuffs into the device which eats up most of the RAM.
After installing around 30-40 apps, I can see only 1+ GB RAM free. This will degrade with time as and when cache builds up. Also, I had to disable auto start of preloaded + downloaded apps that I don’t use to prevent the RAM from being over-used by useless apps. You can do this from the Auto Start manager which comes in handy with most ASUS devices.
Surprisingly, ASUS detects when you run AnTuTu Benchmark application on your phone and prompts you to switch to performance mode. Intelligent, but does it tamper with the performance results?
The test results are good but not good enough for a phone worth Rs. 37,999.
That said, you should be able to decide if you’d like to buy Zenfone Zoom. Personally, I feel the phone is great at performance and clicks awesome pictures – but does it make up for the 37,999 that you spend? The answer for this is subjective – if you wish to use it to click a lot of pictures, this phone is a good choice. A person like me would use it only to play games and read blogs. Oh well, I did play NFS Most Wanted using the Zenfone Zoom.
What do you think about the Zenfone Zoom? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.