Taiwanese company Asus had launched the Asus Zenfone Zoom last Friday and is touting to be the world’s thinnest 3X optical zoom smartphone.
We spent some time with the Asus Zenfone Zoom at the big launch event in Agra and here’s what we think about it.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom design reminds us of the mighty Nokia Lumia 1020 having a similar protruding ring-shaped camera setup at the back. The front of this smartphone doesn’t look much different from any of the ZenFone 2. The device is made out of a single block of aluminum alloy which has undergone over 15 processes. It measures just 5mm at the edges and 12mm at the centre, which is pretty slim and seems impressive considering that the phone packs in a 3X optical zoom. The left hand side of the device is bare and on the right hand side we have volume rocker buttons and power key. Asus has also separate dedicated photo and video recording physical buttons to give it a DSLR like feel. The base has microUSB charging and data transfer port and a 3.5 mm audio jack houses at the top edge. The back panel has a patterned faux leather that makes the device look premium with wierd ring that holds the camera sensor, a true-tone flash and a laser autofocus.
What’s under the Hood?
Asus Zenfone Zoom features a 5.5-inch IPS display having Gorilla Glass 4 protection on the top. The device is powered by a 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3590 quad-core chipset with PowerVR G6430 GPU and a massive 4GB RAM. The phone comes with 128GB of storage out of which 109GB is available for user and you also get a microSD card slot in case you want to expand storage upto further 128GB. Also the device is backed by a 3000mAh non removable battery. It comes packed with an 18W power adapter which according to Asus can charge the Zenfone Zoom from 0 to 60 percent in just 39 minutes.
The ZenFone Zoom aspires to replace your point-and-shoot camera. The 13MP f/2.7 aperture camera comes equipped with laser auto-focus, dual flash and 3X optical zoom with optical image stabilisation. Asus has deployed a 10-element Hoya lens configuration which uses a dual prism periscope module design to capture light. The manufacturer has also provided a dedicated video record button and a camera shutter button. The shutter key features a two-step mechanism, where half-pressing it lets you focus on the subject and pressing it event further captures the shot. To open the camera app without even unlocking the device you can press either of the camera shutter button for about a second or two and it will take to directly to the camera. Talking about the camera we are quite impressed with the quality of images this camera module can capture. The camera clicks high quality images in bright daylight and average photos in low light areas. Talking about video recording the device can capture full HD 1080p videos, though it’s a total bummer that it doesn’t boast the ability to shoot 4K videos. Also we are quite not pleased with its low light performance as photos had some noise. While trying out the camera, we came across a few bugs such as slow or laggy zooming and we hope this can be fixed via upcoming software update. We tried recording slow motion video but when the recorded video was played, it was the worst slow motion video we have ever encountered with, the video was laggy with missing frames. We hope this is not a hardware issue and can be fixed via OTA update in future. We still need to test the phone on its latest software build to give a complete review.
The ASUS ZenFone Zoom isn’t only about the camera though, the Intel Z3590 CPU is capable of handling heavy games and multi-tasking at ease. We have been using the device as our primary device from the last 3 days and we haven’t encountered any lag or stutter in executing basic tasks, everything runs smooth without any friction. The only thing that bothers us is the software. Yet again Asus has flooded the device with extensive bloatware which makes the device slow sometimes. Thankfully this bloatware can be disabled and we cant complaint much about it. We are still reviewing the performance of this device and we will share all our findings in our detailed Review.
Pricing and Availability
The Asus Zenfone Zoom will be available in two color variants- black and white, is priced at INR 37,999 and INR 39,999 bundled with tripod and Asus ZenFlash, making it the most expensive Zenfone out there. The device is available exclusively on Flipkart.
Our First Impressions
The Asus Zenfone Zoom packs one of the best camera hardware but at a price that does not seem appropriate. Though not many users understand the importance of a 3X optical zoom capability and the actual cost of the equipment but as a whole the camera isn’t perfect either. In low light conditions the camera struggles and tends to capture some of noise. Also 3000mAh battery is not justified for a device with such advanced camera module. This is supposedly the biggest drawback holding it to be anyone’s primary smartphone. The overall performance will be judged when we will review the smartphone and would like to hold our final thought for that.