ASUS Unveils the ZenFone 3 Lineup at Computex 2016
At its Computex 2016 event in Taipei, ASUS has taken the wraps off a whole host of new products, and included amongst these is the new ZenFone 3 lineup, which will form the core of ASUS’s smartphone lineup in 2016. All of the 2016 phones so far have Qualcomm as their main SoC provider, a big change over from the Intel chips present inside last year’s models.
ASUS ZenFone 3
Starting off the newest generation of ASUS ZenFone phones is the ASUS ZenFone 3. Unlike the previous ZenFone 2, this device is focused squarely on the mid range market, and does not aim to compete for the highest throne. For the design, the ZenFone 3 offers a glass backed device with a metallic frame, with the front of the device bearing the 5.5″ FHD Super IPS+ display. ASUS promises super-thin bezels on this device, with a claimed screen-to-body ratio of 77.3%.
The ZenFone 3 bears Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 SoC, with 8x Cortex-A53’s clocked at 2.0GHz and Adreno 506 for GPU. The SD 625 is the first processor in the 600 series to be manufactured on a 14nm FinFET process, albeit these are still based on the power-efficient-but-not-performance-oriented A53 cores, so we will hold our judgement back on the high end performance of these devices till we can try them out ourselves. Like a lot of other phones being launched in the market these days, the ZenFone 3 will come in two storage variants: 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage, and 4GB RAM with 64GB internal storage. You still get microsd expandability upto 128GB with the hybrid dual SIM card slot.
Other features of the ZenFone 3 include a 16MP Sony IMX298 camera on the rear with Laser AF, a 8MP front camera to accompany it, a 3000 mAh non-removable battery, a USB Type-C port with USB 2.0 and a rear placed fingerprint sensor. The phone runs on Anddroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow below ASUS’s ZenUI 3.0 skin.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe
Next up in the lineup is the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe, which fixes a lot of the underwhelming features of the ZenFone 3 to become the flagship device in the lineup. The design and build is shaken up, to give a device which is different in looks from the ZenFone 3, a complaint that we had with the numerous same-looking and confusing ZenFone 2 devices last year. The Deluxe comes with a metallic unibody design, and claims to be the first full-metal smartphone with invisible antenna design on the rear surface.
The ZenFone 3 Deluxe packs in a 5.7″ FHD Super AMOLED display, with a 79% screen-to-body ratio. On the inside, you get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with Adreno 530 GPU. There will be a few choices for RAM and storage, albeit the press release was not clear on the exact combinations. Internal storage choices vary within 64/128/256 GB and the RAM choice on the Deluxe is 4GB and 6GB. You still get microSD expandability up to 128GB if need it.
The camera on the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is also impressive on paper. The rear setup comprises of a 23MP Sony IMX318 sensor with f/2.0 aperture and 4-axis OIS for photos. The OIS also extends onto 3-axis stabilization for 4K video recording. There’s also a myriad of focusing features, with Laser AF, PDAF and continuous autofocus. The front camera is a 8MP sensor with f/2.0.
For the rest of the package, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe packs in a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery. There is a USB 3.0 Type C 1.0 port with Quick Charge 3.0 support. A fingerprint reader sits below the rear camera. The phone runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow under ASUS’s ZenUI 3.0 skin.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra
If you have the needs and desires of owning a phone that is just about a small tablet, the ASUS ZenFone 3 will cater to your need. With a 6.8″ FHD IPS LCD display, the ZenFone 3 Ultra is unashamedly big bearing a metallic unibody just like the Deluxe. To power this display and all the pixels, the ZenFone 3 Ultra picks it up a notch from the ZenFone 3 (regular_ to replace the SoC to the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 and the Adreno 510. RAM and storage variants vary within 32/64/128GB of internal storage and 3/4GB RAM, with external microsd expandability upto 200GB.
The ZenFone 3 Ultra shares the camera setup with the ZenFone 3 Deluxe.
The ZenFone 3 Ultra also packs in a fingerprint sensor, but ASUS has placed this on the front of this behemoth rather than on its back. The bigger form factor of the device also allowed for a bigger battery, with the capacity being labelled at 4,600 mAh and being charged with Quick Charge 3.0 via the USB 3.0 Type C 1.0 port. You can also use the ZenFone 3 Ultra as a powerbank with a 1.5A output.
The pricing on all three of these devices also add to their overall value. The ZenFone 3 starts off at $249, the ZenFone 3 Ultra starts off at $479 and the ZenFone 3 Deluxe starts off at $499. Pricing will increase according to the RAM and internal storage models chosen.
Availability of the ZenFone 3 trio and their sub variants has not been announced yet. We will keep you updated as and when it becomes available.
Along with these, ASUS also launched a bunch of other devices. These include the ASUS Zenbo Robot Companion, the ZenBook 3, the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro, the ASUS Transformer 3, the ASUS Transformer Mini and more.
What do you think of the new ASUS ZenFone 3 phone lineup? How do they stack up in your opinion against the previous ZenFone 2? Do you like ASUS’s decision to make modifications on the product design within variants as compared to last year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!