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ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom Review: Great Dual Cameras with a Long Battery Life

July 16, 2017
The original Zenfone Zoom got great reception back when it was launched: For the first time, we have a dedicated cameraphone that didn't go over the PHP 30k barrier. It looked the look too, reminding you of the unfortunate Nokia Lumia 1020. Too bad the Zenfone 2 took all the spotlight back then; the Zenfone Zoom didn't take off as much as its more affordable siblings.

And naturally, ASUS of course provided a followup to this cameraphone, in the form of the Zenfone 3 Zoom. The Zenfone 3 Zoom in a nutshell is a hipper version of its predecessor, equipped with dual rear cameras while looking sexy in black aluminum. It's still priced at almost the same price point, but does its performance and build justify its price? Let's find out in this review.

Design

The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom is a real looker, lifting a design language similar to contemporary devices such as the iPhone 7. In fact, it was mistaken for one while we were using it on our review phase.


The front sports a 5.5-inch display, a 13MP front-facing camera, a notification LED, a few sensors, and the usual earpiece placement. Right below the display is ASUS's trademark haptic buttons. All of these are wrapped in Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

The rear meanwhile carries the device's dual 12MP camera - just almost flush with the body, providing a very minimal bump, the Laser AF module and the dual tone flash right below it, and a strategically placed fingerprint sensor. There's also an antenna line aesthetic going on here, akin to the iPhone 7, adding a more premium look.


Wrapping up the placements are the volume rockers and the power button at the right side of the device, the hybrid SIM port on the left side, and the USB Type-C port, the device mic, and the external mono speaker at the bottom.


Let me just say that the Zenfone 3 Zoom is one of the most slippery smartphones I've held in a while. It's due to the metallic finish and thin profile that will make it slip out of your hand. Never have I been so careful as of late while handling this device - and we're serious about that.

Display

The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom boasts a 5.5-inch FHD Super AMOLED display at a 1920x1080 display resolution and 401 ppi. It's capable of producing well-saturated, vibrant colors, with good viewing angles to boot.


As expected, the display reproduces warm, well-saturated images - just the right amount of reds, greens, and blues to reflect reality onscreen. The device's Super AMOLED display is also able to produce deep blacks. This is especially noticeable on black wallpapers; it looks you're looking at a single piece of display up front.


The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom boasts multiple display features, such as touch gestures, themes, screen temperature adjustments, and a glove mode. Discussing the temperature adjustments, you'll be able to adjust your display temperature to Super Color, Bluelight Filter, Standard, and Customized. Although it's a welcome addition, there's nothing special since other temperatures look boring and to be honest, is quite useless. Of course almost everyone, if not all will be using the Super Color temperature option.


The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with the ASUS ZenUI sitting on top. The company's UI have virtually remained unchanged since its first outing, though it's not necessarily a good or a bad thing. Consistency is definitely a plus, but it doesn't help that along with the UI is a boatload of unwanted bloatware, such as chat apps, taskers, community alerts, and whatnot. On a minor note, don't get us wrong: We sincerely appreciate the company's zealousness to keep every single one of its customers in the loop with their community alerts.

Other UI elements, such as the keyboard and option tabs remain mostly the same.

Performance

The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom sports a 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625 octa-core CPU, paired with an Adreno 506 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. This combination of hardware usually guarantees for a fast device performance - and it is with the Zenfone 3 Zoom.

Benchmark-wise, the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom scores 63036, just right for a device of this range. Its performance otherwise was fantastic on an experience-level. If not for the built-in ZenUI and ZenApps bloating up the smartphone, the experience would be so much better.

Here's the other benchmark scores we took:

3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 466
3DMark IceStorm Extreme: 8164
Geekbench Single-core Score: 847
Geekbench Multi-core Score: 4250

Just to throw it in there, there's no NFC on this device, which is unfortunate, but not a dealbreaker.

Audio and Video

The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom's Full High Definition Super AMOLED display will be able to satisfy your video consumption needs, so long as you play the right conten (meaning you should play videos rated at 1080p as well). As mentioned previously, the device's display is able to reproduce vibrant colors and nice viewing angles to boot. Here's two 1080p showcase videos I found on YouTube:


See the clarity?

Audio-wise, the Zenfone 3 Zoom comes equipped with an NXP Smart AMP that enhances the smartphone's sound output - which is also adjustable the Audio Wizard app. Yep, you can adjust the output to specific audio scenarios (movie, gaming, music, etc.), and even adjust it manually. Combine these assets all together and you have a pocket machine can keep you entertained for hours.

Gaming

With a Snapdragon 625 and 4GB RAM onboard, you'll be able to run heavy games on the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom definitely. One game we tested was an online RPG called Crusaders of Light, and boy did it operate smoothly, albeit the PC-quality graphics packed on a small screen. Another was N.O.V.A. Legacy - an offshoot of the original N.O.V.A. from Google Play - which also played smoothly.



One thing though is that playing for long periods of time will make the Zenfone 3 Zoom heat up to uncomfortable levels, so you either should let it cool down, or have very heat-resistant hands.

Camera

The crowning glory of the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom is its camera. It has dual 12MP that independently function from each other. One sensor is the Sony IMX362, supporting the 4-axis OIS + 3-axis EIS and 4K video recording, while the other one is a Samsung 3M3, that supports the 2.3x optical zoom, and up to 12x digital zoom. Both sensors deploy different kinds of autofocus technology as well, such as Laser AF, Dual Pixel PDAF, and Contrast Detect AF.


Images reproduced by the Zenfone 3 Zoom are mostly temperature-accurate and detailed (up to the 2.3x optical zoom), but those captured at the 12x digital zoom were already very grainy. To be fair, digital zoom really behaves this way, and the device's maximum digital zoom is almost equivalent to an interpolated 8MP default zoom of a cheap Chinese mid-ranger.

Here's some sample photos from the device:

1) Here's a panorama


2) Notice the focus shift in between these two similar photos


3) Look for Ann Mateo


4) Normal zoom, 1.5x zoom, and 2.3x zoom




And here's some more shots:


Optical zoom is accessible by just tapping the "2.3x zoom" button just right beside the main snapper button. Meanwhile, you can enter manual mode by tapping that huge "M" button also beside the main snapper - which photography enthusiasts would definitely appreciate.


There are also other standard and non-standard offerings for the camera, such as GIFs, panoramas, filters, Depth of Field, Time Lapse, and HDR.

Battery

As thin as it is, the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom boasts a 5000mAh battery that can last you easily a whole day of moderate use: data connectivity, browsing, light boughts of gaming. It also charges as long as you'd expect it, which is more or less three hours. It could've been faster if only the device supported Quick Charge 3.0.

Verdict

The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom is a device that brings you all the basics, but multiplies it a few times. Good design? Here's a better design. Fantastic camera? Here's two, one with optical zoom even. Long-lived battery? Here's 5000mAh for both casual and power users. And the list goes on and on. What ASUS did here is not to throw in a fancy gimmick (that admittedly everyone loves to ride on, just for the sake of, under the guise of innovation), but improve on something that already works, and make it even better.


There's not much more to say about the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom aside that it delivers to expectations. I'd go as far as saying that it's the most affordable pocketknife of the smartphone industry. Lastly, it's definitely something to consider even in this age of "hyperphones" that bring lots of features that only a few will really ever use.

The ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom is priced at at PHP 23,995 and comes in Navy Black, Glacier Silver, and Rose Gold colors. You can get one at ASUS stores and major retailers nationwide.

ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL) Specifications

OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ Zen UI 3.0
Processor: 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core CPU, Adreno 506 GPU
Memory: 4GB RAM, 32GB/64GB/128GB internl storage variations, microSD expandable up to 2TB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Display: 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, 1920 x 1080 display resolution
Camera: Dual 12MP laser AF rear camera (2.3x optical zoom) w/ dual-LED flash, EIS, OIS; 13-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE support; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.2; GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDSS; USB-C, USB OTG
SIM: Hybrid dual SIM
Security: Fingerprint scanner
Battery: 5000mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 154.3 x 77 x 7.99 mm, 170 g
Colors: Navy Black, Glacier Silver, Rose Gold
Price: P23,990

Watch Spiderman: Homecoming for Free with OPPO Philippines

July 08, 2017
Want to watch Spiderman: Homecoming for free? You're in luck! OPPO Philippines is doing a giveaway where you can win two tickets (for you and a buddy) just by filling in a few details!


Fans of OPPO Philippines Facebook page simply needs to visit http://bit.ly/OPPOSpidey to enter the contest to earn raffle entries. Participants can join until 11:59PM of July 11, 2017 and winners will be announced by the following day, July 12, 2017.

Before watching, you should also experience the OPPO F3 Black Edition’s sleek metal and gorgeous matte black body, together with its dual selfie camera that lets you capture wide selfies to a larger area. The 16MP front camera with beautification 4.0 allows the best natural looking selfies even at night thanks to its screen flash feature. All these on a 5.5” Full HD JDI screen, 4GB of RAM for multitasking and ample 64GB storage for heavy data users.

The OPPO F3 Black Edition is available nationwide at all OPPO stores and partner outlets for P15,990 (limited-time offer).

OPPO F3 Black Edition Specifications

OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, ColorOS 3.1 UI
Processor: 1.5GHz Octa-core Mediatek MT6750T, Mali T860 GPU
Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage, microSD expandable up to 128GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Display: 5.5-inch FHD In-Cell display, 1920x1080 display resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Camera: 13MP rear camera w/ PDAF, LED flash; 16MP + 8MP 120-degree wide-angle front-facing cameras
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Hybrid dual nano SIM
Battery: 3200mAh non-removable battery
Dimensions: 75.2 x 153.3 x 73 mm, 153 g
Features: Fingerprint sensor
Price: P15,990 (limited time offer)

ASUS Zenfone AR to Launch June 24, Features Tango, Daydream

June 18, 2017
Taiwanese smartphone maker ASUS sets its eyes to launch the newest member of its Zenfone series, the ASUS Zenfone AR, right after a hackathon event in Manila this coming June 24.

ASUS Zenfone AR to Launch June 24, Features Tango, Daydream

The ASUS Zenfone AR is the company's first Tango- and Daydream-capable smartphone. Tango and Daydream are technologies that allows you to experience augmented reality (aka virtual reality) via a set of sensors, and a couple of equipment, like a VR headset. The technology doesn't offer much practical use, except for maybe letting you preview what an area of your house would look like if you place a new furniture, or anything to this effect. Leisure-wise, you'd have lots going on with Tango, such as superimposing objects to areas on your smartphone's display.

The ASUS Zenfone AR from what it looks like is the company's most premium phone to date. It doesn't follow the standard Zenfone 3 front (it has a physical home button), and has a leather rear paired with a metal frame that further accentuates the premium feel. It also has that unsightly rear camera that houses all the imaging power of the device, plus the essence of what a Tango device is.

There's no price disclosed yet for the Zenfone AR, but it should be revealed on the June 24 event.

ASUS Zenfone AR Specifications

OS: Android 7.0 Nougat, ZenUI 3.0
Processor: 2.3GHz quad-core MSM8996 Snapdragon 821 processor, Adreno 530 GPU
Memory: 6GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage, microSD expandable up to 256GB
Display: 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD display, 1440x2560 display resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Camera: 23 MP rear camera w/ PDAF, LED flash, f/2.0, OIS (4-axis), 3x zoom, depth & motion tracking sensors; 8 MP front-facing camera
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot; Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE; GPS, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
SIM: Hybrid dual nano SIM
Features: Fingerprint sensor
Battery: 3300mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 158.7 x 77.7 x 9 mm, 170 g
Colors: Black

Starmobile Now Assembling Phones in the Philippines

June 16, 2017
Filipino technology company Star Telecom Alliance Resources, Inc. (STAR, Inc.), the parent of smartphone brand Starmobile, announced today the start of its mobile phone production efforts in the Philippines as it starts assembly of 20,000 units of the UNO B208 featurephone in a facility in Calamba, Laguna. This ground-breaking effort officially makes Starmobile the first Filipino brand to assemble mobile phones locally.


Local smartphone company Starmobile just did a nation-first by deciding to have 20,000 units of its UNO B208 feature phone assembled in the Philippines - specifically in Calamba, Laguna.

“Since we started five years ago, it has been the company’s goal to contribute to the local economy and provide employment by assembling phones in the Philippines,” said Starmobile COO Michael Chen. “Aside from bringing us a step closer to our dream of building up the Philippines an important player in the global tech scene, this will also benefit our bottom line, as it will result in more cost and time-efficient logistics and shipment around the country. In addition, because we will have parts and an assembly facility locally, we expect this to improve our after-sales support for our customers.”


So why did the company decide to put its assembly efforts first on a feature phone instead of its top-tier smartphones? Perhaps it's testing the local water's long-term sustainability, but there's also the fact that there's still a huge demand for feature phones, just because it can do calls and texts.

Specs-wise, the Starmobile UNO B208 is a dual-SIM feature phone with an FM radio, camera with flash, expandable memory, flashlight, multimedia playback, and a battery life of up to two days. It is available in red, blue, or black.

OPPO A57 Launched, Selfie Smartphone with Snapdragon 435

June 14, 2017
OPPO Philippines recently launched the OPPO A57, a 5.2-inch Android smartphone that doesn't bring anything new to the table, except for its small-ish size, and Qualcomm processor. But yes, it still captures wonderful selfies with its front-facing camera.

OPPO A57 Launched, Selfie Smartphone with Snapdragon 435

For starters, the OPPO A57 features the same design language as the OPPO F1s and the OPPO F3 (except for the antenna lines). It even has a fingerprint sensor. In fact, you'll definitely mistake it for one or the other if not for the smaller display.

The device unfortunately doesn't support the Snapdragon 435's Quick Charge 3.0 capability, so it may take some time to fill up that 2900mAh battery capacity. Other specs include 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, and a 16MP camera.

The OPPO A57 retails for PHP 11,990, a bit steep considering you can get the OPPO F1s Upgraded at PHP 13,990.

OPPO A57 Specifications

OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, ColorOS 3.0
Processor: 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor, Adreno 505 GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage, microSD expandable up to 256GB
Display: 5.2-inch HD IPS display, 1280x720 display resolution, Gorilla Glass 4
Camera: 13MP rear camera w/ f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, LED flash;
16MP front-facing camera w/ f/2.0 aperture
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Dual nano SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2900mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 149.1 x 72.9 x 7.65 mm, 147 g
Colors: Black, Gold, Rose Gold
Price: PHP 11,990

Nokia 3, 5, 6, and 3310 Coming to the Philippines, Pricing Revealed

June 10, 2017
It's official: The Nokia 3, 5, and 6, will be coming to Philippine shores at the end of June. The announcement comes after the smartphones' debut at the 2017 Mobile World Congress just a few months ago.

HMD Global, the Finnish mobile phone maker company licensed exclusively to develop and market phones under the Nokia brand, formally announced the devices' entries to the country. It's also good to know that this company is made of former Nokia veterans, so you know that the qualify of the new devices is more or less comparable to what Nokia was back in its glory days.

Nokia 3

Nokia 3

The Nokia 3 is the smallest and most affordable of the trio announced. It features a 5-inch HD display and runs on a 1.3GHz MT6737 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard storage. It also features an 8MP front-facing camera and an 8MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash.

The Nokia 3 looks like a miniature version of an Xperia device at the front, but looks like a Nokia all the way at the back. It's a welcome smartphone for those trying out Android for the first time.

Nokia 3 Specifications

OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Processor: Mediatek MT6737 1.3GHz quad-core processor, Mali-T720MP2 GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 128GB
Display: 5.0-inch HD IPS LCD display, 1280 x 720 display resolution, 2.5D sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass
Camera: 8MP rear camera with AF, LED flash, 1.12um, f/2; 8MP front-facing camera w/ AF, 1.12um, f/2, 84 degrees wide-angle
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE; WiFi 802.11 b/g/c; Bluetooth; GPS; NFC; microUSB 2.0 w/ USB OTG
SIM: Dual SIM
Battery: 2650mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 143.4 x 71.4 x 8.4mm
Colors: Tempered Blue, Silver, Matte Black, Copper

Nokia 5

Nokia 5

The Nokia 5, the mid-ranger among the three, comes with an anodized aluminum body, making off with a very premium feel at an affordable price. Another highlight is its fingerprint sensor, for an added layer of security. Wrapping the premium feel up is a 5.-2 inch HD IPS display with a 2.5D Gorilla Glass screen.
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Specs-wise, the Nokia 5 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, and a 3000mAh battery. It also comes with a 13MP rear camera with PDAF and dual-tone flash and 8MP front-facing wide-angle camera.

What's good about the Nokia 5, aside from its design, is the fact that HMD Global managed to squeeze in NFC to the device, a technology you don't often see in sub-10k smartphones today.

Nokia 5 Specifications

OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Processor: 1.4GHz octa-core processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, Adreno 505 GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 128GB
Display: 5.2-inch HD IPS LCD display, 1280 x 720 display resolution, 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass
Camera: 13MP rear camera w/ PDAF, dual-tone flash, 1.12um, f/2; 8MP front-facing camera w/ AF, 1.12um, f/2, 84 degrees wide-angle
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE; WiFi 802.11 b/g/c; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS; NFC; microUSB 2.0 w/ USB OTG
SIM: Dual SIM
Features: Fingerprint sensor
Battery: 3000mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 149.7 x 72.5 x 8.05 mm
Colors: Tempered Blue, Silver, Matte Black, Copper

Nokia 6

Nokia 6

Rounding up the Nokia trio is the Nokia 6, the company's current crown jewel so to speak. It's not that far off the Nokia 5 from the build and specs, but the difference maker is the upsized 5.5-inch display, 3GB RAM, and 32GB onboard storage. It also comes with the Snapdragon 430 processor, 16MP/8MP rear and front-facing cameras, and NFC. And since we're talking about a 430 here, the Nokia 6 will support fast charging.

There's also a variation of the Nokia 6 called the Arte Black, which basically features an upgraded 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage. We're still not sure if we're getting this version locally, but we'll remain hopeful.

Nokia 6 Specifications

OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Processor: 1.4GHz octa-core processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, Adreno 505 GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 128GB
Display: 5.5-inch FHD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 display resolution, 401ppi, 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Camera: 16MP rear camera w/ PDAF, dual-tone flash, 1.12um, f/2; 8MP front-facing camera w/ AF, 1.12um, f/2, 84 degrees wide-angle
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE; WiFi 802.11 b/g/c; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS; NFC; microUSB 2.0 w/ USB OTG
SIM: Hybrid dual SIM
Features: Fingerprint sensor, fast-charging
Battery: 3000mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 154 x 75.8 x 7.85 mm, 169 g
Colors: Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper

All devices will come in Android 7.0 Nougat, and with Android 8.0 O in the future, if HMD Global's update commitment is to be believed. All three Nokia devices will be available by the end of June, with other 120 countries simultaneously launching as well.

The Nokia 3, 5, and 6 will be sold at PHP 6,990, PHP 9,990, and PHP 11,990 respectively.

Up to 70% OFF on Audio Gadgets at Beyond Innovatios Warehouse Sale

June 09, 2017
Beyond Innovations, the official local distributor of international audio brands such as JBL, Harman Kardon, AKG, Booq, LinearFlux, and Denon, will be having a warehouse sale with discounts up to 70% OFF!

Up to 70% OFF on Audio Gadgets at Beyond Innovatios Warehouse Sale

Where: Circulo Verde Multi Purpose Hall, Bagumbayan, Quezon City
When: July 1-2, 2017, 9 AM - 6 PM

Be there early! We're expecting steals! 

ASUS ROG Masters 2017 Announced, PHP 200,000 Local Prize Pool

June 07, 2017
ROG
So you think you and your friends got what it takes to be a professional gamer?

ASUS Republic of Gamers recently announced the ROG Masters 2017 esports tournament that will feature over 20 top professional teams from across the globe and offer a prize pool of US $500,000. Featured games are DOTA 2 and CS:GO.

ASUS ROG Masters 2017 Announced, PHP 200,000 Prize Pool

The global ROG Masters 2017 qualifiers will start in a few weeks in 30 country qualifiers and 4 regional qualifiers (EMEA, Americas, APAC, and China). These qualifying teams will then face invited professional teams for slots in the ROG Masters grand finals that will happen in November 2017.

ASUS Philippines Systems Group Country Manager, George Su, states: “For over a decade ROG has been committed to providing the most innovative hardware to gamers worldwide, and last year we offered the gaming community an opportunity to live their esports dream by launching the first-ever ROG Masters. Thanks to extremely positive feedback, ROG Masters returns this year as a global affair, inviting pro teams and amateur players from over over 30 countries across five continents.”

If you want to test you and your teammates mettle at DOTA 2, sign up for a local qualifier slot at http://rog-masters.ph.
 
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