I have been waiting to check out the ZenFone series ever since the ZenFone 2. ASUS has been stepping up their game in the mobile device market for a while now. And so many people are looking to make that switch to ASUS at the moment. ZenFone 2 was known as the phone that breaks the low price barrier for a relatively high end hardware, and ZenFone 3 is following that tradition.
Now introducing the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser, the new smart shooter by ASUS that uses laser autofocus to capture quick and clear photos…every time.
Here’s my first impression of the ZenFone 3 Laser. It is light and slim, all metal body that is nice to hold, a rectangular finger print sensor under the rear camera module, large 5.5” display and a generous 32GB or 64GB space variant.But one thing that got me confused is the amount of RAM in my review unit. It reads as 3.5GB of RAM. Not 3GB nor 4GB, but 3.5GB. Weird? Yes. Well, maybe I will have to let the guys from ASUS to clarify this.
I like the look and feel of the ZenFone 3 Laser. It has a simple design and lightweight. The 5.5” screen fits perfectly with the all metal body and protected by the 2.5D curved edge Corning Gorilla Glass. Three capacitive touch button located right below the screen, the back button – home button – menu button. On top of the screen is the 8-megapixel f/2.0 front camera together with the light sensor are located.
At the bottom of the phone is where the USB module for charging and syncing is placed, along with the speaker and a tiny microphone hole. The sound that comes out from this phone is pretty loud and clear.
The top is where we normally find the headphone jack (unlike a certain smartphone). And another tiny microphone hole. So I’m assuming the top and bottom microphone are there to record full stereo sound while shooting videos.
On the sides we have the power and volume buttons on the right, and the SIM/Micro SD slot on the left. This is the trend nowadays for any metal clad body smartphones. I think this is a good placement for these modules.
Moving on to the back, we can’t miss the pretty large main shooter on the ZenFone 3 Laser. It comes with a 13-megapixel, f/2.0 camera and we can clearly see the laser autofocus system right next to it on the left. On the right of the camera is the dual tone LED flash.
The fingerprint sensor/reader is different on the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser. Instead of being rounded, it is rectangular in shape. Although it doesn’t cover as much sensor area like the rounded ones, it is pretty fast and accurate. Unlocking the phone took about 0.3 seconds with a light touch on the fingerprint sensor. Not bad at all. You can also assign certain functions to the sensor like opening a certain app by touching different finger.
Let’s dig deeper into the heart of the smartphone. The ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser uses the Snapdragon 430, octa-core 1.4GHz CPU and Adreno 505 GPU that beats faster than normal. And the RAM reads as 3.5GB as shown in CPU-Z app for Android. ZenFone 3 Laser supports LTE network and comes fully installed with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS and ZenUI 3.0 skin/launcher.
Performance wise, the ZenFone 3 Laser did a good job through the benchmarking process. Although it doesn’t score high, it still manages to perform better than some of the leading brands out there. It does tends to heat up while on heavy usage. I experienced that while running Antutu benchmark on the ZenFone 3 Laser. But the heat is just the normal type of heat. It will definitely NOT explode.
Battery usage is commendable. On full charge, it can last me from 9am to 8pm before hitting the 10% mark. But I do notice some bloat wares that are pre-installed in the phone and slowed down the overall performance a little bit. Slightly slow, but not sluggish.
Going back to the camera modules, the rear shooter performs really well. The front camera shoots surprisingly well too. Here are some sample photos taken with the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser.
Don’t get the price fooled you. Nowadays you can get an affordable smartphone that comes with a decent camera. You may not be able to carry your digital camera or DSLR everywhere you go, but you can always have a shooter with you at all times… that is your phone. With the age of Instagram and Snapchat, having a good smartphone camera is important to some. As a photographer, I find that having a good smartphone camera helps a lot. You will never know when that “right moment” comes.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser is a wonderful affordable smartphone. The camera quality is above par, the slim metal design feels premium, it looks good and the fingerprint sensor works accurately. I would recommend the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser to anyone who are looking for a new device and give it a go. The ZenFone 3 Laser sits in a class of its own. You won’t be disappointed with its overall performance.