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Asus Zenfone 3 – No Compromises

It’s a holiday today and you’ve probably gotten a hold of your thirteenth month bonus right about now, so that you could use it for Christmas shopping right?!? Before going out and heading to accessory sales, how about considering an Asus Zenfone 3 instead?

My time with the mid-range variant ZE552KL of the Zenfone 3 lineup provided me with only good things to say about this incredible 5.5-inch device. Here’s three simple reasons why this should be your next phone:

01. Look and Feel


Premium isn’t something one so quickly associates with phones around the Php20k margin… but this model from Asus embodies that ideal to its core. Central to this design is the absence of antenna bands which recently have come in the form of lines that run across the top back portion of smartphones. The Zenfone 3 instead put strategic “breaks” in the fluidity of the top and bottom of the steel frame where the signal passes thru; this frees up the rear making the 2.5D Gorilla Glass front and back that much more stunning whichever way one is looking at it.


The overall image of the phone is accentuated by diamond cut bezels where glass meets steel giving it a distinctive flourish that definitely stands out in a crowd – this is part of the design language that Asus uses in this 3rd generation of devices which includes the Zenbook as well as the Transformer series.


Asus’ trademark spun metal finish is carried over into the buttons as well as the back and it plays very nicely whenever light hits the surface giving off even more of the premium vibe that is very welcome in this price category.


The downside to this phone being mostly glass is that it can be slippery and would slide off smooth surfaces with an incline, I wouldn’t initially recommend a case as this would only serve to mar the otherwise very monolithic nature of the device however, Gorilla Glass 2.5D is a bit unlike its non-curved bretheren, it scratches, so best be on the safe side and furnish it with some form of protection. It does have enough heft that lets you know that you’re holding a phone and that you should be careful not to accidentally drop it.


The rear camera juts out from the back slightly which prompts putting the phone face down on surfaces to make it level, this makes some sense as this allows for the user to activate the fingerprint sensor, also at the rear, right below the camera, to unlock the phone while picking it up… it takes a little getting used to but in no time at all, it becomes second nature. This phone does have a blinking LED notification at the front which is very visible against the pure black face which you wouldnt see if you place it face down, best do this when notification sounds are activated.

The Zenfone 3 looks so fine in fact, that one could argue that this looks even better than its Zenfone 3 Deluxe counterpart – now also available in three variants for Php22,995 (S625/4/64/5.5″), Php32,995 (S820/4/64/5.7″), and Php34,995 (S821/6/64/5.7″)

02. Performance

The combination of the processor and graphics chip within the Zenfone 3 allows for some amazing gameplay, and for some users, this would be the deciding factor in making their purchase… so much so that since I’ve gotten the unit I’ve installed and ran Final Fantasy Mobius on it and somehow I’ve gone thru a considerable amount of content already netting a red mage job card from the gatcha and raising it up to level 50. Its a fantastic workhorse that doesn’t feel like its running out of battery even when gaming for hours. This feeling, or lack thereof, means a lot to players.


The battery is in fact so good, that I don’t have any qualms hanging it on to my windshield as navigation for hours on end, sometime even though the battery is already in the red (15%). Apart from the Zenfone Max, that is also from Asus, this is the only other phone of mine which I’d trust to navigate me out of places. The Zenfone 3 latches on to GPS like glue and is the fastest response I’ve felt on a smartphone and this is largely because of the Snapdragon 652 inside of the Zenfone 3.


This device is also #builtforphotography – having full manual controls and an array of shooting modes which natively include Time Lapse, Super Resolution, Low Light Mode, and Time Rewind amongst others. We’ve even gotten it to shoot Astro Photography which is something I haven’t seen other smartphones do; here are some results from that exercise:


OIS and EIS are quite welcome and is always active as long as you’d want it to be and chances are you would. It allows for shooting 4-stops brighter than normally possible with handheld mobile photography and videography. Working in concert with the tri-tech AF system – very quick snaps become possible, even from vehicles in motion. And if you were wondering about the front facing camera, it resolves excellently as well, just look at the photo below:


Swiping about and navigating the gallery is very fluid, zero lags at halfway full memory with seamless playback of up to 4k content shot by the Zenfone 3 itself. Color fringing is well under control and overall sharpness is even across the frame. The addition of the fingerprint reader improves overall efficiency of the device having it from sleep to wake in around 0.2s and possibly firing up the camera app with two consecutive taps and taking the shot with the same. And with the incredible power management along with 64 gigabytes of memory, the user would eventually feel the necessity of capturing the moment much more often than they’re used to… in fact, because of the lightness of the device, shooting possibilities and development of further content are dramatically improved.


Here are some samples of its video prowess in action:

03. Price

At an unbelievable Php18,995, the Zenfone 3 is easily the top pick if you’re looking for the perfect blend of value and performance.


It’s beautiful to look at, unfazed by whatever content you throw at it, be it games or multimedia, and with the future in mind touting a USB-C connection with a charging rate to rival QuickCharge under power from its adapter. Truly, spending a 13th month pay on this device will give you something that would make you think twice (even thrice) about replacing it one to two years down the road.



About the author

Mark O.

Mark is an architect and artist who endeavors to design most anything that requires a little bit of thought into it.

Although writing is not considered a primary focus, a little too much time can yield many thoughts that are just begging to be written down.

Armed with a trusty array of content creation devices and surrounded with a continuous flux of technology and life, herein lies those that are fortunate enough to have been given presence through a little bit of movement and a whole lot of iterations.

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