Genuine Detailed Reveiw. Sharing my experience with Pros and Cons after using this ZenFone 3 for last One Month...
by Sudipto Sinha on 2016-12-03
Okay, now this is my 3rd ZenFone Model since Asus came in Mobile Industry with its prestigious ZenFone Series. Previously, I used ZenFone 5, then ZenFone Selfie and now this ZenFone 3. So, you can assume that I am really a great fan of Asus (both for PC peripherals and ZenFone). Also, as I used to be a Dr. Zen in Asus Official Zentalk forum, so, I am a close watcher of ZenFones.
Now, I am Coming to the Review Part straight :
I got this phone delivered on 28th October, 2016 and I bought this phone when "Amazon, Great Indian Sale" was going on. I bought it for Rs 19,999/- and in addition with this low price, I will also get Rs 2,000/- Cash Back for using SBI Card offer. So, basically, I gotta get this phone for Rs 17,999/- including the cash back. :) Cool, isn't it?
Okay, now, as I am using this phone for last one month, let me tell you every PROS and CONS which I experienced for this one month of using.
DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS AND PROS :
1. Of course the Look and the Feel. Its Beautiful by its looks. Super Sleek design and significantly Light Weight, only about 150 Gms.
2. SAR Value shown as : Asus_Z017DB, India, CE SAR Value Max: 0.77 (W/Kg).
3. Comes with Cool Curved ( 2.5D ) Gorilla Glass over the Display and also, Gorilla Glass back with a Shining Marvelous look.
4. Packed with a Powerful 64 Bit Octa Core Qualcomm 625 processor with 2.0 Ghz Clock Speed.
5. Comes with 3 GB RAM.
6. In-build graphic processor has been provided with Adreno 506. :) Graphics are as smooth as real. :) You will feel that.
7. Qualcomm Octa Core and 3 GB RAM made this phone super fast, no doubt about that. :)
8. Full HD Display i.e. comes with 1920 X 1080 Resolution. Also, almost 180 degree (Asus says, up to 178 degrees) angular view is possible without color distortion.
9. Comes with 16 MP Rear camera with Sony Sensor, Dual Tone, Flash and a Laser Focus and 8 MP Front Camera again with Dual Tone (but no Flash for the Front Camera) and of course, Asus's incredible invention: "PixelMaster Camera App" which made clicking pictures more awesome. :) Lot of modes are there to take a perfect picture of your choice. Also, the latest Firmware update provided a "Torch" Flash effect for a constant lighting to take pictures in complete dark condition. Also, comes with a Manual Mode. Pictures are like DSLR quality. Comes with four-axis optical image stabilizer (OIS) which senses shaking hands and prevents your hand movements from blurring photos. (Check some pic I have taken with my Zenfone 3).
Also, Asus claims that 4K quality video recording is possible, though I haven't tested a video quality yet. Will check for sure. For video recording, three-axis electronic image stabilizer (EIS) has been provided to record shake free cool videos. :)
10. Volume Rocker Button and Power Button again came at the Right Hand Edge unlike some ZenFone 2 series phones where Volume Rocker Button was placed at the back under the Rear Camera and the Power Button at the Upper Edge.
11. Comes with 2650 mAH NON-REMOVABLE Battery and thanks to Qualcomm 64 bit Processor, it doesn't drain the battery unnecessarily like Intel Processors used to drain. I am getting more than 7 hours of "Screen-Time" (screen time can be found under "Menu > Settings > Battery", and screen time shows for how much time your screen was ON). So, I am seriously getting about 40-45 hours of backup after using Whatsapp and YouTube heavily, moderate usage of Facebook and Messenger, Listening music while on the way of office, accessing news on the go, random usage of Camera like 20-30 times in a day, light browsing through Instagram, moderate usage of Chrome and Firefox, and moderate calls like 4-5 calls with total duration of about 15-20 minutes for a day (I don't use this phone for phone calls that much because I have a backup phone for phone calls). (Check my Battery Statistics ScreenShots)
12. Comes with USB Type-C Charging port and the Type-C USB Cable is convenient to plug in as there is no limitation like older Micro-USB port, you can plug the Type-C male port in reversible condition. Contemporary Micro-USB Port is withdrawn from Asus ZenFone 3 (both ZE520KL and ZE550KL models). Charging Adapter output is DC 5V, 2 Amp.
13. This time ZenFone 3 speaker got a powerful speaker packed with Sonic Master audio system and placed at the bottom edge so that it wont affect the volume if you place the phone upward or downward.. :) Speaker volume is loud enough and quality is power boosting.
14. FM App is also there. :)
15. Package contains a white Rocker Style Headphone and the design is fantastic. (See pic).
16. Comes with Fingerprint Sensor at the back and placed just beneath the Rear Camera. You can unlock your phone in no time. You can setup your fingerprints to unlock number of apps of your choice. Fingerprint is always quicker and better security compared to pin or patterns which can be figured out easily. The sensor placed at a convenient position so that you can unlock the phone placing your finger on it with holding the phone in just one hand. Easy to handle. Also, it allows you some more cool features, like double tap the fingerprint sensor to directly open the Camera App, and you can tap the sensor once to take a quick selfie. :) Many other options are there for the Fingerprint Sensor, like receiving an incoming call etc.
17. Comes with Motion Sensor. You can set a "Motion" wallpaper from the Wallpaper Menu and that makes the Wallpaper so cool like you move the phone upward-downward or left-right and the home screen wallpaper will give you a 3D experience. Also, Motion Sensor controls some other cool features too named as "ZenMotion", where you can use "Touch Gesture". Under "Touch Gesture option, you can select "Double Tap to Lock" or "Double-Tap to Unlock" feature, by which you can lock and turn off the display of your phone as quickly as just double tapping on the display at any blank space. Also, you can make the phone to get you at the lock screen without pressing the power button. To turn on the screen, just double tap and it will light up and will show you the lock screen. :) Cool isn't it? Also,you can directly launch various apps of your choice just drawing some Predefined Letters (like W or C or S etc) at the black screen i.e. when the device is in locked condition. Under ZenMotion menu, there is another option available named "Motion Gesture" and inside that option, you will get "Turn the device flip" option, by enabling that option, you can instantly put an incoming call in silent condition by just flipping the phone facing the display downwards and it will instantly make the call in silent mode. :)
18. There are many more sensors are provided by Asus like Accelerometer, eCompass, Proximity sensor, Hall sensor, Ambient light sensor, RGB sensor, IR sensor and Gyro sensor apart from Fingerprint and Motion Sensor. As there is an IR Sensor, you can use this phone as a stand by remote for your TVs. :) Though I haven't tried that yet, but will check for sure.
19. Comes with Dual-SIM Connectivity feature with one Micro-SIM slot and another one is Nano-SIM Slot but you MUST NOTE that this is a Hybrid SIM phone i.e. inside the SIM Tray, you can put a Micro-SIM for sure, but the Nano-SIM Slot and the Micro-SD Card slot is a same slot. That means, you can either put your Micro-SIM and Nano-SIM and use this ZenFone 3 with two SIMs or put the Micro-SIM at one slot and put a Micro-SD card at the 2nd slot. You cannot put a Nano-SIM and a Micro-SD Card at the same slot.
20. This phone comes with a SIM Tray (like iPhones) and this SIM Tray is positioned at the Left Edge of your ZenFone 3 (facing the display towards you), and at that place, you will see a tiny little hole where you need to push a needle (or you already know there is a needle type thing available to pull the SIM Tray comes with the SIM Adapters pack). Asus didn't provide any SIM Tray ejecting Needle in its package. Just push the needle a little through that tiny hole and the Tray will eject out a little. Then Pull the Tray by using your fingers. At that SIM Tray, its printed where to put Micro-SIM and where to put the Nano-SIM or the Micro-SD Card. Again, reminding you that, this is a Hybrid SIM Phone, you can either put one Micro-SIM and one Nano-SIM at a time and can be used as a Dual SIM Phone, or put one Micro-SIM and one Micro-SD Card at time. Do not attempt to place the Nano-SIM and the Micro-SD Card at the same slot Forcefully. That may cause the phone hardware to get damaged and that would void the Warranty for sure.
21. Its a full 4G phone i.e. both the SIM will have full 4G Compatibility BUT Only the "Preferred Data Network" SIM will be able to access the 4G network. Its of course a Dual-Standby phone with full 4G features and YES: VoLTE is also available. And, back end 2G/3G compatibility is also available.
22. As the SIM-Tray is placed at the Right Side Edge hence the Back Cover is NON-Removable. You can't remove the glass back cover.
23. Comes with Bluetooth Version 4 and Wi-Fi Direct is also available.
24. Comes with Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 version. (With Guaranteed Assurance of Future Update to Android Nougat).
25. Brand New ZenUI version 3.0 is more awesome than the previous ZenUI. More cool options to customize your Stylish ZenFone 3.
26. Asus Weather App got Animated in ZenFone 3 Series. And you won't believe how cool is that. On the lock screen, you will see Clouds are roaming around if you got cloudy weather, or you will see Sun Rays in clear day time, or you can see Stars are glittering at clear nights, or you can see Lightning Strikes when you are having Thunderstorms and many more. Cool, isn't it? :)
27. Additional features: Themes can be installed in this phone as Theme Engine is fully compatible in this phone like previous ZenFone 2 Series Phones, Selfie Series, Max Series. Different Fonts can be used too. Under ZenUI menu, you have full access to customize your ZenFone 3 like your choice.
28. Another great feature of Asus ZenFones: Asus provides time to time FOTA (Firmware Over the Air) Updates for minor bug fixes or system stability. And after starting my ZenFone, I got 3 FOTA Updates back to back and currently running on latest firmware.. :)
1. Currently, OTG is not getting mounted or detected in Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL). As ZenFone 3 is having an USB Type-C port, one needs to buy an "USB Type-C to Micro USB" or "USB Type-C to USB-A" OTG Adapter to connect their pen drives into this ZenFone 3. I have bought two types (both "USB Type-C to Micro USB" & "USB Type-C to USB-A") OTG Adapters but both of them didn't work for me. Not a single Pen Drive is getting mounted (notification didn't come with "External Storage Mounted" message). And, many ZenFone 3 users are complaining about that. I have reported a bug regarding this. Hope future FOTA will fix this Bug.
2. Though USB Type-C Port is there but this phone doesn't support Fast Charging. Charging through the provided 5V, 2 Amp charger is taking almost 2 Hours (precisely 1 Hour and 50 minutes) of time to get the battery fully charged (from 1% to 100%). 1%-40% gets charged in first 30 minutes, then 40-70% is taking another 30 minutes, then 70-100% is taking as much as 1 hour time... This is really unexpected from Asus as these days almost every phone in this Price Range supports Fast Charging.
3. Though I didn't face any kind of performance Lag yet, or any kind of heating issues (like many other ZenFone 3 users are complaining that they are facing heating issues), but what I experienced like many other ZenFone 3 users, that the Capacitive touch buttons at the bottom are malfunctioning some times, like the right side touch button (which is meant to minimize or maximize apps, which also, works as a tap-n-hold screenshot button), doesn't work properly sometimes. Like, if you tap once to minimize any apps, that button doesn't seem working and then it will take a screenshot which is definitely a bug and I have reported the same too. Hope Asus will provide a FOTA for that too.
4. And AGAIN: Most important Complaint about Asus -- They again provided a lot of Bloatware Apps which are simply unnecessary and this is ridiculous that some of those bloatware apps (or junk apps) can be uninstalled but some of them can't be uninstalled, you can only disable them so that they don't show up under your menu but that eats up the internal memory which is really frustrating. :(
5. And Asus Again, didn't listened to its users which we asked them a lot of time (as we are ZenTalk expertise since ZenFone 1st Gen Mobiles), that Back-light should be provided for the Three Capacitive Touch Buttons but they didn't implement that.
6. With Curved (2.5 D) Gorilla Glass at the Display side, ZenFone 3 of course looks so marvelous, no doubt about that, but when it comes to the Gorilla Glass, we all get feared about accidental falling and that may cause of Broken Gorilla Glass, and to eliminate that accident, we look for some good quality Tempered Glass, but due to that Curved 2.5 D Glass, not a single tempered glass brand is providing a perfect fitting Tempered Glass for ZenFone 3. And that is really painful for us. :(
7. Asus Music menu comes with great features like "Folder" playing, but in this version, Music Menu "Fine Tuning Setting" got two different Options i.e. "Volume" and "EQ"...in which Volume Option is Awesome as there you can set the main volume, as well as bass and treble as per your listening choice but the EQ option doesn't come up with any predefined EQ like Rock or Dance or Live etc, but it made manual setting type option where you can set your own EQ, but that is not convenient to me. :(
As of now: after using this ZenFone 3 for the last one month, I have found these CONS and some of them can be fixed through Future FOTA Updates.
SOME USEFUL TIPS : To get better Battery Time and better Performance :
Perform Battery Calibration once in every week to get better Battery Performances like better screen-time, better standby time.
To perform Battery Calibration, perform these steps :
Keep using your phone till 0% and let the phone to get Switched Off. Plug your ZenFone 3 to its charger and keep the phone charging in Switched Off Condition. Once the Battery gets fully charged, the Notification light will start glowing as GREEN. Do Not Remove the Charger from its port. Turn On the phone with plugged in condition. As soon as the "Asus" logo appeared on the screen, unplug the charger cable from your ZenFone and when the main screen come up, let the phone unused for another 10 minutes. This will reset the Battery Statistics System File and hence your zenfone battery will give you better battery performance. Do this Battery Calibration process once in a week and you are good to go. :)
For better Performance :
Please perform "Wipe Partition Cache" from the "Droid Boot Recovery Mode". To enter into Droid Boot Recovery Mode, first Power Off your phone. Then Press the Vol- and Power Button Together, as soon as the Asus Logo appears, release those twp buttons and you will see the Droid Boot Recovery Mode options. Use Vol- button to go over "Wipe Partition Cache" option and then press Power Button to select the option (Note: Touch doesn't work in Recovery Mode, also, accessing Droid Boot Recovery Mode doesn't void your warranty, Rooting your phone does void your warranty..) . After the Wipe Partition Cache operation completes, go over the "Reboot" option and press the Power Button and it will restart the phone in normal condition. Perform this operation at least twice in a month.
Another performance optimization tip :
Every time you get FOTA Update, after downloading and installing the latest firmware, create a backup of your "Internal Storage" Files and perform "Wipe Data/Factory Reset" (called as Hard Reset) from under Droid Boot Recovery Mode. That will eliminate any residual junk files from the previous firmware version which can cause conflicts with the new firmware files.
Last but Not the Least: Once Certain Reviewer Named "Dev Anand" posted a review with titled as "Asus or Fakus", whatever he told about the Model Number, he is totally wrong about the product. This ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL) base model number is ACTUALLY Z017DB and its an ORIGINAL PRODUCT. He also wrote that "There is also a description saying this packed phone only for illustrating purpose only..not original product..And the software provided is just a clone ..it wont get any software updates in future..I really doubt the product.." but the actual line is printed over there as "The Product displayed on the packaging is for illustration purpose only and may differ from the actual product. Product Contains software under GPL license agreement" and that means, if package box contains any image printed over it then that may differ from the actual product inside the box and that line usually mentioned by every brands out there, WHATS WRONG WITH THAT?
And the next lines on the package are written in different languages meaning the same as the English Line but this certain "Dev Anand" wrote something which is not even written any where in the package box. He completely misguided other buyers. Don't get mislead by false reviews.
Trust me, its completely Genuine Asus ZenFone 3 and the Serial Number is meant for India only. :)
Please go through my Pics which I attached with my review. Hope you will get complete scenario with Features, Pros and Cons. If my review helps you to understand in better way then please do hit the "Yes" button available just below my Review. That will help me a lot to leave more future product reviews on my purchased items. Thank you. :)
An incredibly reliable device that's more than enough to easily do what a modern day smartphone should.
by Anaswar V Rajan on 2016-11-01
I'll explain about my experience just the way reviewers do, by sections.
Design : The design does resemble Samsung Galaxy A series a bit but the concentric circle patters make it a bit more fresh. The glass body is slippery, but those who have a strong grip can manage it. The phone's back glass is a fingerprint magnet. The front side doesn't have much trouble with that.
Performance : Sd625 has just enough firepower to take on heavy tasks with ease. Even though 3GB RAM may not sound much, multitasking is definitely smooth, and running two heavy games at a time didn't cause any hickup. Overall, it's good.
Software : ZenUI has it's pros and cons. The UI is really smooth, feature rich and feels light even though it's one of the heaviest UI on Android. RAM Management is damn good. Best of all, very less bugs. But the number of bloatwares still remain a lot. Most of them can be uninstalled now, and that's a blessing. Overall, it's one of those well optimized custom Android from OEMs.
Display : The display is damn bright at the top limit, and really dull at the bottom limit. It simply means sunlight legibility is damn good, and is also ideal for night usage. Accurate color reproduction and full HD resolution means the display is crisp and pleasing to the eyes.
Camera : Splendid. Manual mode nails exactly what I needed. Sadly, a color temperature sensor in the camera module causes trouble with RAW imaging. That needs to be fixed. For those who don't wanna mess with RAW imaging, there's no better camera phone at this price range. Low light performance is good too. Pretty good for a midranger. Selfies are crisp too. Love the modes available in the default camera app.
Battery : 2650mAh seems small? You're in for a surprise here. Sd625 proves it's power efficiency. The phone lasts a day easily, and can get 8.5 hours SOT on normal use with social networking and telephony, and using wi-fi data instead of mobile data. For heavy usage including 2 to 3 hours intensive gaming with 4G data, minimum 5 hours SOT assured.
Fingerprint scanner : It's definitely not the fastest out there but it's snappy enough for any midranger. Placement and form factor is good, and it didn't detect my fingerprint only once after one week usage. Yes, it's accurate. But of course I added fingerprints with utmost patience.
Final thoughts : This is simply the most reliable device one can get under Rs22000. It hits the mark in almost every aspect, except for the pricing. It could have been cheaper, and could have gained some attention that way. For those who prefer the likes of Galaxy A series, hear ho, there's a far better premium alternative in town. For those who prefer VFM and are willing to sacrifice quality, this device isn't for you.