Asus has introduced the Zenfone Zoom last year at CES show and just after a year since it introduced, the company has launched the Zoom smartphone in India on January 22nd in Agra, we were live at the event and saw the launch, and we have our unit with us. We have been using the device for past ten odd days; we liked the way company has designed the 3X optical zoom camera which is the key highlight of the device, well the 3X Zoom and an excellent outdoor Camera can do justice for what Asus is asking? Well, we will find that out in our full review, Let’s get started with our Asus Zenfone Zoom Review.
Asus Zenfone Zoom Review:
Build and Design: If you have ever used any Asus Zenfone Smartphone you can quickly find the similarities with the Zenfone Zoom smartphone. Instead of matt or glossy back panels seen on Zenfone 2 Laser, Zenfone 2 Deluxe, the Zenfone Zoom features a smooth matte leather type material that feels not only good but also offers excellent grip and premium look. Well, apart from the resemblance, the Asus zenfone zoom feels solid in hands despite the fact that it sports a massive 5.5-inches, the metal frame running along the sides of the smartphone adds a lightweight but refreshes the design from usual Zenfone style.
Up front, we have a huge 5.5-inches Full HD (1920*1080) IPS display that comes with Corning Gorilla protection. Up top, we find the Asus branding and right above it, we have the main earpiece, a 5-megapixel front camera, usual set of proximity and ambient light sensor accompanying the camera. Down below the display, we find the touch type capacitive buttons engraved on the front panel just like any other Zenfone Smartphone but the thing is they are not backlit so it will be difficult to access them in dark and low-light. Flipping the phone to the rear side, the first thing you will notice is the great camera module covering up most of the back cover, the huge circular camera module features a 13-megapixel unit with LED flash, Laser autofocus, and much hyped 3X optical zoom is the main reason for the camera bump.
Strip opening the back panel, we find the non-removable 3000mAH battery unit, Single SIM card slot and a MicroSD card slot for memory expansion, though the device comes with a 128GB inbuilt storage. Moving along, on the right side, we find the volume up/down buttons that can also be used to zoom in and out while using the camera app, power on/off button and being a camera phone, the company has added a dedicated shutter button and video recording button, all these give a good amount of feedback when pressed. On the left side, we do not have anything. Do note, due to that camera bump the smartphones does not rest comfortably when placed on a flat surface. Overall the build and design of the Zenfone are good enough although you can relate a lot if you are already a Zenfone user.
Asus Zenfone Zoom Display: The Asus Zenfone Zoom sports a 5.5-inches Full HD(1920*1080) that comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Though we would have loved to see a Quad HD display that might bring even beauty to the images shot we get why Asus had to stick with the 1080p panel. The 1080p panel on the Zenfone Zoom sure looks impressive, and it’s the same display that we have seen on the Zenfone 2 Deluxe and Zenfone 2, the viewing angles are good, the display tends to saturate over at times, but that can be fixed with the display settings. The only complaint we have with the Zenfone Zoom display is that the auto brightness doesn’t work properly under low-light making us rely on third-party apps like Screen Filter, we have faced similar type problem with the Zenfone 2 Laser we reviewed least year, we hope Asus pushes an update addressing this issue. Other than the auto brightness error we have nothing much to complain about the display of Zenfone Zoom.
Asus Zenfone Zoom performance and OS: The Asus Zenfone Zoom is powered by Intel Atom Z3590Soc clocked at 2.5GHz Quad-Core processor with PowerVR G6430 GPU and there is 4GB of Ram. The device runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Zen U.I 4.5 on top, it’s that time of the year where companies are pushing and launching smartphones with Android 6.0 and Asus still sticking with 5.0.2 might be a setback but it might soon roll out the marshmallow 6.0 update. The Zenfone Zoom features an upgraded Intel Atom processor compared to the earlier Zenfone models that are powered by Intel Atom 3580 chipset.
The day-to-day performance of the device is butter smooth, and multitasking is also a bliss without any delay while switching, you keep throwing at it, and it performs it with ease, probably the only reason Asus is still sticking with Intel chipsets. During our testing time, we have played series of games like Asphalt 8, Nova 3 and these games ran just fine without any frame drops or overheating issues, The device scores 61,000 AnTuTu score when we ran the in the performance mode. We never had any issue with the device performance and were on par with current flagship OEM. Here are the benchmark scores we did.
Coming to the User interface and OS as said above it runs on Android 5.0.2 with Zen U.I on top. The company’s Zen U.I has evolved a lot since the company’s re-entry with Zenfone 5, and we like how minimal and near stock, the U.I looks though it is near stock the company offers a decent amount of customization via the theme store and manually in the settings. Although the device comes with quite some bloatware apps, yes they can be uninstalled, but we would have liked if would have come without these apps. Overall the performance is butter smooth and so is the OS.
Asus Zenfone Zoom Camera: The device features a 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with Dual Tone LED flash, Laser autofocus, 10-element Hoya lens and 3X optical zoom which is the key USP of the device and up front there is a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies and video calls. The 3X optical zoom when zoomed fully displays no grains and noise which is undoubtedly impressive, we have used the smartphone’s camera for a trip to Agra the images captured impressed us big time, the images have a lot of details in them, and the colors are near accurate, do note the camera might capture some over exposed images if you are not steady while capturing.
The camera app is regularly seen on any Zenfone Smartphone in the past, the HDR Mode, Time Lapse, manual modes are available even on the Zenfone Zoom. We would have loved to see a specialized camera app specially designed for the Zenfone Zoom smartphone, but that is not the case here. Nonetheless, The camera continues to impress us with rich details and color reproduction. The actual problem starts when you try to capture under low-light, the images have a lot of noise in them, some tend to fade out which is truly unexpected of a camera-centric smartphone. Have a look at the images attached below for a better idea.
Asus Zenfone Zoom Battery: The only area where the Zenfone Zoom fails big time, the device houses a 3000mAH battery that comes with fast charging support. The battery starts to drain once we use the camera to click pictures which shouldn’t be the case in the first place; the device needs to be charged second time before the day ends the case for most other flagships like S6, LG G4. The fast charging support comes to the rescue when you need to charge the device urgently. The maximum screen on time we saw is around 3:00-3:15 minutes.
Connectivity Features and Others: The device comes with single SIM card which is a surprise considering the 128GB internal storage, the company should have skipped the MicrSD card slot and added a secondary SIM slot, as most of the Indian users are more connected to the Dual SIM smartphones.he device supports 4G LTE in India, WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n supports 2.GHz and 5GHz bands, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS.
Verdict: The Zenfone Zoom smartphone is surely an impressive smartphone from Asus that comes with the great camera and butter smooth performance, although the weak battery life spoils the camera fun a bit. Now if you are one who shoots images and likes to carry around a light-weight camera that even functions as a smartphone, well, look no further the Asus Zenfone Zoom is for you. Priced at Rs.37,999 the device look a bit overpriced compared to the $399 price tag in the USA. You can buy the device via Flipkart.
This Point and Shoot Camera Phone Impressed us with Great Captures and Flagship Level performance. The 3X Optical Zoom is sheer brilliance.