The Asus Zenfone 3 at Rs 11,999 is a Smartphone to Consider in the Mid-Range Category

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Taiwanese smartphone brand, Asus recently announced a price cut on most of its smartphones and the list includes 2016's Zenfone 3 5.2 (ZE520KL) and ZenFone 3 5.5 (ZE552KL). The former, after the price cut is available for Rs 11,999, while the latter is available at Rs 14,999. Both these phones were launched back in August 2016 in India with competitive hardware, but the major letdown for both the smartphones was the pricing. The Zenfone 3 5.2 was launched at Rs 21,999, whereas the Zenfone 3 5.5 retailed for Rs 27,999.


As stated, the Zenfone 3 featured competitive hardware back then, and surprisingly it still has the competitive hardware, on-par with most of the smartphones available in the price range. In fact, after the price cut, the Zenfone 3 is offering features which aren't present in most of the budget and mid-range smartphones. At Rs 11,999 and Rs 14,999, the Asus Zenfone 3 is worth considering.

You may ask us how a 2016 smartphone is competitive in 2018? Well, the specifications of the Asus Zenfone 3 are equal to most of the smartphones under Rs 15,000. The Zenfone 3 comes in two variants- a 5.2-inch display model and a 5.5-inch display model. And there are some hardware changes under-the-hood in both the variants. Both the panels are Full HD ones with a resolution of 1920 X1080 pixels and up to 600nits brightness levels.

The Zenfone 3 5.2 (ZE520KL) is powered by the power-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC with Adreno 506 GPU. This variant has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, whereas the bigger variant ZenFone 3 5.5 (ZE552KL) has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Both the variants have a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

The Zenfone 3 has a 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor at the back with f/2.0 aperture, 6P lens, 4-axis Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), and dual-tone LED flash. Up front, we get an 8MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and 88-degree wide-angle lens. The rear camera is capable of recording 4K videos while the 8MP shooter on the front records 1080p videos. The smartphone comes bundled with Asus camera application which offers a host of features to play around.


All the major connectivity options such as 4G LTE, VoLTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and USB Type-C port. Yes, it has a USB Type-C port, and the device is backed by a 3000mAh battery.

The highlight of the Zenfone 3 is its glass and metal design. Asus has gone with a glass back for the Zenfone 3, which is supported by a metal frame around the sides. The fingerprint sensor is placed at the back of the phone, and that is rated to unlock the smartphone in just 0.2 seconds.

Another highlight feature is the 5-magnet speaker which delivers exceptional audio quality. Also, the device measures 7.9mm in thickness and weighs 155grams.

The Zenfone 3, as an overall package is competitive with other mid-range smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi A1, Moto G5S Plus as they both are powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset and are retailing for Rs 13,999 and Rs 14,999 respectively. There's no doubt that the Zenfone 3 looks better than both the metal-clad Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus. Alongside the looks, the Zenfone 3 offers more features at Rs 11,999.

For example, there's no smartphone at Rs 11,999 which has Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) support. Of course, it lacks the dual camera setup and the trendy Portrait mode feature, but it offers features such as OIS and EIS. Also, it focuses on the subject in just 0.03 seconds, which is something interesting.


On top of these, Asus confirmed that it would be rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo update to all the Zenfone 3 models. Sadly, it will be the last major update. This is one aspect where the Zenfone 3 falls short of the competition as both the Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus will receive Android P update in the future. Also, Asus stated that it's working hard to improve the ZenUI and already confirmed that the Android Oreo update will remove all the bloatware of the ZenUI. A nice, little move to enhance the user experience.

It has a USB Type-C port, one more feature which is expected to go mainstream this year. A 3000mAh battery backs the device, and with Snapdragon 625 SoC, the device lasts for an entire day.

Asus is having a rough in the Indian market in recent times, thanks to some overpriced products. But with the recent price cut, there are many Asus smartphones such as the ZenFone 3 Max 5.2 (ZC520TL), ZenFone 3 Max 5.5 (ZC553KL), ZenFone Max (ZC550KL), ZenFone Go 5.0, and ZenFone Go 5.5 which are worth considering.

Lastly, the Asus Zenfone 3 5.2 have just 3GB of RAM, but it gets the job done and at Rs 11,999, if you're looking for a good-looking smartphone with excellent camera features, go for the Zenfone 3 without any further thinking. If you can shell out a little more, get the 5.5-inch Zenfone 3 model at Rs 14,999.

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Managing Editor

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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