“The ZenFone 3 comes with the usual set of accessories and doesn’t really have any surprises to offer”
ASUS’ ZenFone range of smartphones has been quite popular in India. To milk it to the max, the brand is known to come up with an innumerable number of variants and models that use the same ZenFone branding, and we aren’t just referring to different RAM and storage combos. Suffixes like Deluxe, Selfie, Laser, Max and now Special Edition and Ultra have been added to the range to differentiate the different models in the lineup, and some of these also have other variants that offer different specs… making things quite confusing indeed. We’re not sure how well the carpet bombing approach has worked out for ASUS so far, but as we ponder over that, we have one of the latest models to play with. The lower-specced version of the ASUS ZenFone 3 (first impressions) has just landed in our labs, and as usual, we’re giving it the customary welcome by unboxing it. To recap the specs, this particular model comes with a 5.2-inch FHD screen, Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 16MP/8MP shooters, and a 2,600mAh battery, and is priced at Rs 21,999. Let’s move on to the unboxing…
The ASUS ZenFone 3 comes packed inside a sturdy grey-hued cardboard box that carries ZenFone 3 branding on top and the usual labels with specs and other regulatory info pasted on the bottom. The phone can be found lying up top as soon as you flip open the lid. Below that, there’s a cardboard envelope that contains a SIM eject tool and the usual documentation.
The cavity below is divided into three compartments, and these contain a USB Type-C cable, a wired headset with spare silicone tips, and a 2A wall charger that comes with a removable two-pin plug for use in Indian power sockets.
The phone itself looks quite sleek with its glass sandwich design, metal frame and svelte bod, and as you can make out, we got the black one for review. If you recall, we count ASUS as one of the brands that started the trend of exclusive online sales (along with the likes of Motorola and Xiaomi), and offered VFM smartphones that came with compelling specs. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then, and the ZenFone range has now moved up the ladder into the mid-range and premium segments. The competition is even more cutthroat, and the stakes are higher – with each brand trying very hard to outgun its rivals. In such a scenario, we expect each new smartphone to at least handle the basics well – smooth performance, good camera quality and decent battery life. Surprisingly though, these are the areas where many fail. Camera quality in fact, remains a key concern. However, this is said to be one of the strong points of the ZenFone 3, and we can’t wait to take it out on a test drive and see how it fares. A detailed review is in the factory as you read this… so for now, we just have three more words: “watch this space”.
Photos by Raj Rout