Asus ZenFone 3: A Zen-like Experience

 
Asus ZenFone 3

Asus ZenFone 3

Conchita Fernandes puts the photographic prowess of the Asus ZenFone 3 to the test.

With its last few iterations, Asus has centered their phones on laser beam technology, and the ZenFone 3 is no different either. This time around, it has centered the phone on photography, with a few upgrades in the camera’s features, in addition to its premium, stylish glass finish. Let’s look at how the rest of the phone fares.

The camera’s OIS and EIS feature enabled me to make this handheld photograph at 1/8 sec, on burst. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

The camera’s OIS and EIS feature enabled me to make this handheld photograph at 1/8 sec, on burst. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

New AF Technology
With its focus on photography, Asus has introduced the TriTech AF feature, which combines laser AF, phase detection AF and continuous AF. The technology claims to achieve clear focus in just 0.03 seconds in varying light conditions. When put to the test, the ZenFone 3’s AF was significantly faster than the ZenFone 2, even in low light. In the latter, there were a few instances where the laser beam AF struggled to focus on a nearby subject.

Although the camera allows you to tap and adjust the exposure of the scene, the option is absent when you enable the touch shutter option.

Abundance of Features
The ZenFone 3 comes with a 16MP rear camera with a Sony IMX298 sensor, a f/2.0 aperture, 4-axis OIS and 3-axis EIS, 8MP front camera and 4K video recording. The other features (almost similar to the ZenFone 2) are a Manual mode (Focus, Shutterspeed, ISO, WB, Exposure Compensation), HDR Pro, Super Resolution, Children (a mode which automatically detects children’s faces), Low Light (3MP stills), Depth of Field, Panorama, Time Rewind, Slow Motion, Time Lapse…

Overall, the ZenFone 3 produced good details and punchy colours. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

Overall, the ZenFone 3 produced good details and punchy colours. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

What’s Good
One of the things that I did not like about the ZenFone 2 was the washed out colours that the camera tended to produce. In comparison, the contrast and colour reproduction in the ZenFone 3 were at least two notches higher than the ZenFone 2. In regards with its low light performance, up until ISO 2000, the noise levels are manageable, after which details start gradually smearing.

Premium Feel at an Affordable Price
Although it doesn’t provide any significant features for photography, the ZenFone 3 at its price point (Rs. 21,999) offers manual control and a plethora of features to experiment and have fun with, that too, in a premium and stylish-looking body. However, it would have been nice had it featured RAW shooting, considering that the phone is geared towards photographers.

AT A GLANCE
SPECIFICATIONS 16MP rear camera, 32GB inbuilt memory (expandable to 2TB), 2GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB RAM, Rs. 21,999
WHAT WE LIKE Faster AF, premium design, packed with features
WHAT WE DISLIKE No RAW shooting
WHY BUY IT The phone’s improved camera specs, along with a comparatively fast AF make it a good buy at its price tag
FINAL RATINGS 86%
CAMERA FEATURES 16MP rear camera, TriTech AF, histogram  22/25 
IMAGE QUALITY  Good low light performance and colour rendition  25/30
VIDEO QUALITY Smooth video with decent sound pickup  13/15
HANDLING  Sleek and easy to hold  13/15
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Speedy phone without any lag  13/15
Tags: Asus ZenFone 3, cellphone photography, Cellphone Review, Conchita Fernandes, December 2016, TriTech AF

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