Editors’ Take: ASUS Zenfone Zoom Review

ASUS Zenfone Zoom Full Detailed Review

PROS:
  • Smooth Performance
  • Premium Looks
  • Dedicated Camera Buttons
  • Camera Features

CONS:
  • Bloatware and full of notifications
  • Unacceptable Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Average Battery Performance
  • Heavyweight in pocket

Time has changed, we are in a new era of smartphones which can handle not only multi-tasking a multi-purpose hardware we can expect. The Asus Zenfone Zoom, which was showcased during the CES 2015, is officially launched in January 2016. The device is a high-end device with camera-centric attraction and being named as a traditional point and shoot or DSLR type camera quality. Long ago we have seen camera-centric phones like Galaxy K Zoom from Samsung, which is failed to attract the users. Now the Asus is experimenting this idea to make a mark on the Camera-Centric Smartphones concept. The company claims the device is world’s thinnest 3X Optical zoom camera on a smartphone. Today, we got a chance to play with the device, and some serious test is performed to give an unbiased review to our audience. Let’s get into the Editorial review of the Asus Zenfone Zoom.

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Asus Zenfone Zoom Design

Asus Zenfone Zoom comes with a robust build quality. The rear panel has premium looks with the touch of plasticky leather finish. When you see the back of the device, in the first impression you can understand it is a camera oriented device. The Asus designed a big circle at the back which is exclusively for the rear camera. In the space allocated for the rear camera, the company has embedded 10 lenses for 3X zoom offering up to 12x real time effect. When you look at the phone for the first time, you feel like Microsoft Lumia 1020. The rear panel of the device has much resemblance with the Lumia 1020.

asus-zenfone-zoom-camera-performance

Coming to the front side of the device it has many similar looks to the Asus Zenfone series of smartphones. The device sports a 5.5-inch display at the front and the company maintained a similar look to the all Zenfone series. On the front side top, it has a speaker grill for calling, some hidden proximity sensors and a 5 Megapixel front snapper for video calling and selfies. The front bezel of the device is glossy and premium looking.

Asus Zenfone Zoom Camera Buttons

The body of the device is unibody metallic, the sides and corners of the device  are made with the metallic finish. The sides of the phone have a premium finish and resemble the iPhone design. On the right side f the device at the top you will find volume up and down and a power button few millimeters away. Below in the same side, you will find a set of dedicated keys for video recording and image capturing. On the top of the device it has a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones and earphone connection and at the bottom, it has a micro USB charging slot. Overall, I’m very much satisfied with the design quality of the Zenfone Zoom.

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Asus Zenfone Zoom Display

The display of the Zenfone Zoom is a 5.5-inch FHD IPS LCD with 1920x1080p resolution. For screen protection, the device has a Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Coming to the in-depth testing analysis of the display quality, unfortunately, I’m not impressed with it. The display is average when compared to other premium flagship smartphones at this price range. Especially at this price point, we can expect a better display.

The device has Auto adjust brightness; it is a common feature which we usually see in all proximity sensor enabled smartphones. The display is bright and clearly visible in sunlight conditions. The viewing angles are good, and the display is clearly visible in all angles. I found the display is smooth, and touch is fully responsive. I like the touch responsiveness of the Zenfone Zoom; it is very accurate and butter smooth.

Camera Performance

As it is a camera centric phone, I have taken a special interest in testing the Camera performance. I want to see the Zenfone Zoom camera performance as they mentioned.  For easy image capturing Asus placed two dedicated buttons for video recording and picture shutter. The buttons are on the right side bottom of the device. When you hold the phone in landscaped mode, the buttons are accessible on your right hand pointing finger position like in the traditional way of capturing. You can enjoy the taking pics while using the Asus Zenfone Zoom. For zooming purpose you can use your fingers on the touch screen or the volume up and down also, can be utilized for zooming.

Coming to the technical details of the Zenfone camera it has world’s thinnest 3x optical zoom with 13MP. It uses the f/2.7-f/4.8 depending on the depth of the Zoom used. You can take stable images with the optical image stabilization (OIS) feature. The default camera app interface uses a ton of options. These all are used for different kind of situations and under different lighting conditions. Unfortunately, the device doesn’t support the 4K video recording which is a new standard nowadays.

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Camera user interface of Asus Zenfone Zoom with 2.75X Zoom

The Zenfone Zoom camera uses a Hoya lens which is designed by famous Hoya company known for making glass filters for cameras. The Zoom effect on the Zenfone Zoom is welcomed, the performance of the 3X zoom is met its expectations. I’ve tested the device in various light conditions and angles. The performance of the camera is good and justifies its name.

Coming to the main feature performance result the device passed in the distinction. The image quality of the device is excellent even in low light conditions. The phone especially excelled in low light condition image capturing. This feature we usually miss in almost all smartphones, whenever we want to take a pic in low light, it will be the dark pic. This phone is just perfect for low light conditions smartphone photography.

asus-zenfone-zoom-rear-panel

The default camera app is packed with a ton of features. It is a perfect camera app for smartphone photography. The UI of the Zenfone Zoom camera app contains HDR, Low light option, Beautification features, Flash on/off, camera change, Settings, and a video recording shutter. The Beautification feature contains some presets like Auto, Manual, HDR, Beautification, Super Resolution, Low Light, Night, Depth of Field, Effect, Selfie, GIF Animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time rewind, Panosphere, Smart Remove, All smiles, Slow Motion and Time Lapse.

Front Camera Performance: Good | Rear Camera Performance: Good

Asus Zenfone Zoom Specs

FeaturesSpecs
Display5.5 inches
Screen Resolution1920×1080, 403ppi
Operating SystemAndroid OS, v5.0 (Lollipop) ZenUI
CPU64-bit 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 CPU
Memory4GB
Inbuilt Storage128 GB
Storage Upgrade128GB micro SD card
Primary Camera13MP rear-facing camera, 10-element Hoya 3x zoom lens
Video recording1080p
Secondary Camera5.0 MP
Battery3000 mAh
Fingerprint SensorNo
4GYes
SIM card typeSingle
WaterproofNo
Weight185 grams

Software

After the first launch of the device you will see a couple of app recommendations from Asus, you can dismiss easily from the notifications. The suggested apps and bloatware are all maintained from Google Play store. Coming to the security, the Asus Zenfone Zoom is already using Google’s new Security Patch. At this price point, we are expecting a quick update of Android 6.0 Marshmallow from Asus.

Asus has customized the Android 5.0 completely with their ZenUI interface. The user interface of the Zenfone Zoom is smooth and fast. The performance of the device is good under all usage standards. The company has introduced some apps for user usability; we only call it as bloatware. The ZenUI is very fast, adding apps and widgets on the screen is very smooth. The Asus is associated with Clean Master app; you will see a performance boost icon on the home screen. Whenever you feel a lag or weak performance of the device, just click on the icon to release the memory. Also, there are plenty of customisation options include themes and battery tweaks.

Performance

The device is packed with a good set of hardware like 4GB RAM, Intel Atom Z3580, Quad-core 2.3 GHz processor and PowerVR G6430 GPU. The device is performed average in Antutu Benchmark results; it is a big disappointment for us. The device is tested lightly, moderately and heavily. In heavy conditions like maximum apps opened, the device performed well without any hiccups.

The speaker quality of the device is good, the ring and music are audible even in heavy noise conditions. The call quality of the device is above average; I felt some noise when connecting a call. The battery is a mediocre performer, under heavy usage you can expect a one-day usage. The battery can fastly charge, and a half battery charge is finished in 30 minutes. The Asus Zenfone Zoom comes with power management tools to get additional battery life on your phone. You can customize these modes and switch them automatically when the battery is low.

Asus Zenfone Zoom is worth to buy or not?

The device is not a cheap phone, and the company is giving a good performance smartphone with bloatware packed outdated software. The Marshmallow update is also not in the talks, but we are expecting the update from Asus in one or two months.

The Asus Zenfone Zoom is suitable only for those who don’t care about bloatware or outdated software. The device is strictly for those who want a Point and Shoot camera like picture quality on a smartphone. They can buy the Zoom undoubtedly.

Final Words about Asus Zenfone Zoom

A camera Centric smartphone with outdated software.

ASUS Zenfone Zoom Review
8.8 Overall
Pros
Great Camera Performance
Cons
Bulky Bloatware OS
Build Quality9
Features8.5
Design9
Camera9.5
Network9
Battery7.5

Rahul is the Editor-in-Chief at Thetechhacker, PhoneSetter and TheWearableNews. After realizing an obsession with technology, he left his job career to write about technology.
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