The Asus ZenFone 3 is a very stylish phone that has a solid camera and amazing resolution. The giant 5.2 inch screen is perfect for reading e-books, digital magazines and newspapers.
The Asus ZenFone 3 features a 5.2 inch Super IPS+ capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 X 1080 and 401 PPI. The bright and vibrant screen really make digital content look good and you can also snap really good pictures with the rear facing 16 MP camera or video chat with the 8 MP front facing one.
Underneath the hood is a Snapdragon 625 Octacore 2.0 GHZ processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal memory and it can be expanded to up to 256 GB via the SD card. In terms of connectivity it has a dual SIM tray, so you when you are traveling you can through in a local SIM to save on data.
Here are some of the things I dig about this phone. It is using Gorilla Glass 3 and the entire body of the phone is sleek and screams premium build. It has a fingerprint sensor on the back, right underneath the camera and LED flash. The speaker quality is utterly insane and blows away most other devices in its product category. The 3,000 mAh battery comes with “Quick Charge” technology for faster charging and should last for around 12 hours. When I was watching 1080p and 4K videos, the phone hardly overheated at all.
The ZenFone 3 is using Android 6 and runs the company’s new ZenUI 3.0 user interface. If you had the first or second generation model you will likely notice a complete makeover. The new interface looks clean and sports real-time animated weather and clock widgets; new wallpaper motion effects, and an all-new Theme Store from which users can download free themes, wallpapers, icons and ringtones.
Some of the neat additions to the interface include ZenMotion, which consists of various touch and motion gestures. There’s also a one-handed mode that basically shrinks the display to one corner of the screen for easy access. Users have to first enable the One Hand Mode from the ZenMotion settings page. Once done, double-tapping the home key triggers the mode. This is especially useful if you are reading an e-book, using one hand, while commuting on public transportation.
One of the downsides is the sheer amount of Asus bloat. Apps you will likely never use include PhotoCollage, Do It Later, Share Link, ZenFone Care, ZenTalk, Laser Ruler, Quick Memo, Splendid, Puffin, ZenCircle, ZenFlash camera, and MyAsus Service Center.
The ZenFone really excels at displaying high resolution comic books and magazines. The screen really takes advantage of the content and most of the time you never have to pinch and zoom to read anything. I found e-books and manga looked the best, because most companies have optimized their apps for a 5.2 inch screen. In our review video we show off Google Play Books, Manga Rock, Comixology and test out the speaker via Audible.
The North American market is hyper competitive when it comes to smartphones, but Asus is is marketing this phone all over the world. I think in terms of overall build quality it beats out the OnePlus 3, the Xiaomi Mi 5. In terms of overall hardware specs, I think it also gives the toxic Samsung brand a run for their money.
Processor and RAM are solid
Great resolution for digital content
SD card supports 256 GB
The back of the phone is a fingerprint magnet
No user replaceable battery
Lots of bloatware
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.