There have been phones with cameras and there have been cameraphones. The ASUS Zenfone Zoom belongs to the second category. The ASUS Zenfone Zoom is a master-stroke from ASUS with a lot of “class” added to it. While the phone has raised quite a few eyebrows by having 3x optical lens setup without having the lens to retract in and out of the device, the Zoom steals the limelight further by maintaining a very sleek profile while housing such a huge camera module. Sounds exciting right? Well, we have the device with us so let’s try to explore it further!
ASUS Zenfone Zoom Review
Design and Construction
The Zenfone Zoom is a premium device by any means. Thus, we have to begin with talking about the design and construction quality of the device. The Zoom is a beautiful device and has a very premium feel to it courtesy the high quality materials used in construction. It boasts a very high quality metal frame which not only feels robust but also has a nice and smooth touch to it. The edges are chamfered and boast a great finish.
The removable back panel of the phone is made up Ox leather of the highest quality and to be honest about it, this is the part where the Zoom comes a step closer to looking more beautiful. There’s also a grip stitched to it which can come in handy for shaky hands! There’s also an Intel Inside logo on the back which looks pretty neat as well.
To be very honest about it, it is the huge camera module that steals the limelight on the back of the phone. The phone is surely a beauty, Isn’t it? Well, let’s not get carried away by that and talk about the buttons and inlets.
The right side of the phone is pretty functional housing all the buttons. You get the Volume Rocker and the power buttons side by side towards the top while the camera shutter and a special shutter key for capturing videos is present towards the bottom(Refer the image below for a clearer view). Meanwhile, there’s a standard 3.5 mm audio jack along with the secondary microphone on the top edge of the device.
The bottom edge of the device is very neat while housing just the micro USB port alongside the primary microphone. You can also find the groove to hatch open the back panel from here. Also notice the neatly crafted speaker grill right above it on the leather back panel.
Done with all the beauty on the back, let’s have at a look at the front of the device. The top portion on the front hosts the customary earpiece grille with the proximity sensor and the ambient light sensor “right” next to it. These are followed by the front camera which is a wide angle 5 Megapixel unit.
The Zoom has opted to go for a capacitive panel for the navigation keys. Anyways, can you notice how neat the phone looks? That’s probably the best way I’d like to conclude talking about the design of the device. Although it follows the same design trend of it’s bloodline counterparts, it is beautifully different.
Now this is going to be a big chapter in this review post. I know you’ve been waiting for this part of the review to appear on your screens so without further ado, let’s begin talking about the showstopper of the show!
13 Megapixel primary shooter with 3x optical zoom!
The ASUS Zenfone Zoom comes equipped with an extraordinary camera setup. There’s a 10 P Hoya Lens which follows a periscope-like approach to provide a 3x optical zoom facility to the 13 Megapixel camera sensor.
While most won’t stop bragging about the awesomeness of the zoom lens and how did ASUS manage to put that in such a sleek body, I would love to talk more about the amount of detail and naturalism that the pictures boast, clicked with the Zenfone Zoom.
Let’s begin with my favorite shot first.
Look at this amazing shot taken by the Zenfone Zoom. The color composition is right up to the mark, the shadows are perfect and the highlights, pretty well balanced as they just prevented the sun from posing for a ghastly appearance as happens with most phone cameras!
The waves, the reflections and the birds flying right next to the sun. Everything is so natural about this image!
After the sun settled through the Horizon, the guy behind the camera thought to stay back at the park to test the low light imaging capabilities of the Zoom. The only thing that comes to my mind after watching this outcome is that the Noise reduction under low light is just spot on!
This is another interesting shot. You might be wondering about what’s so special about it? This pic has been taken during the springs when the old paves the way for the new. What’s so interesting in that? A chance to capture a clean sky with trees having baby leaves on ’em which shine green! So how does the Zenfone Zoom get’s the credit for this one? HDR.
You might have guessed it by now that the Zoom resolved great amount of detail and is pretty good at rendering shadows. It is so good that most of the times the man behind the camera was actually reluctant to hit HDR.
The Zenfone Zoom features a very rich manual mode in which you can play around and get different kinds of pictures like the above shots. Things to check here: Noise Reduction, Focusing capabilities in manual mode and Color Reproduction!
User Interface and Performance
The ASUS Zenfone Zoom comes with their home baked ZenUI on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. While the latter might sound a bit outdated for a 2016 flagship but trust me, the Zoom is a bliss to operate. The UI flows so freely that you almost forget to think about possible glitches even if there are any.
Talking about performance, our unit managed to score a pretty decent score of 77k+ on Antutu benchmark which is, though not as flashy as other 2016 flagships, still a respectable score. What makes the overall experience more gentle and subtle is the huge amount of RAM. Also, along with those 4 Gigabytes of RAM, you can always count on the Quad Core Intel Atom processor that ticks inside the Zoom at 2.5 GHz of clock speed.
Also note that the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update is all set to land on all the existing ASUS devices with the Zenfone Laser already having received the update.
Battery Life and Final words
The ASUS Zenfone Zoom comes equipped with a 3000 mAh battery which may sound sufficient enough going by today’s standards for smartphones having displays bigger than 5 inches, it falls short of having enough stamina to deliver the juice for that extra hardware added by the camera setup. However, it still manages to pull out almost a day on a single charge. Practically speaking, you can leave home with a 100% charge on your phone and still manage to get by before the night falls and still have a decent 10-15 % of charge left.
Final words? It is definitely a device meant to serve to a particular niche. Most of the blogs have reported the device to be a perfect replacement for a full fledged point and shoot camera while you’re too much on the move and we won’t want to differ either. The Zoom is definitely capable of taking some really clean shots which at times turns out to be better than point and shoot cameras for me because sometimes, when you have to capture something very spontaneous, the quality of the capture also depends on how easily your camera is available to you. Ease of access? ASUS got it right this time!
ASUS Zenfone Zoom
"ASUS Zenfone Zoom is not a smartphone that delivers smart features, it does also act as your SLR camera with 3x Optical zoom camera in your pockets. It delivers the best picture quality and definitely worth buying!"
- Storage Capacity
- Battery Life
Design and Construction 87%
User Interface and Performance 80%
Battery Life 75%