Gear Review: Zenfone 3 5.5 ZE552KL

ASUS looks to build on the success of their Zenfone series by launching the third iteration of their popular lineup of smartphones. I unboxed a brand new Asus Zenfone 3 and after using the phone for two weeks,  here is my take.

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What’s in the box

  •  Unit

  •  USB Type-C Cable

  •  Fast Charger

  •  SIM eject pin

  •  Manual and leaflets



Design and Build

The ASUS Zenfone 3 looks familiar. At a glance, the Zenfone 3 resembles the iPhone 6 but is given away by the presence of the non-lit capacitive keys. The side of the phone ‘hugs’ the front and back glass panel and is made of a two-tone aluminum alloy.


ASUS may have borrowed a couple of design elements from Apple but the comparison stops when you flip the device on its back.


The back has an elegant jet black glass finish with a circular pattern which you’ll notice when you view it at an angle. The Zenfone 3 is equipped with a protruding 16MP camera,  a laser auto focus,  dual-LED flash, and a finger print scanner.

The volume rocker and power button are located on the right edge,  while the hybrid dual SIM-MicroSD slot is located on the left edge. The top edge features the 3.5mm jack and a noise canceling mic.


The bottom edge houses the single speaker grill,  a USB Type-C port, and the mic.



The Zenfone 3 has a 5.5inch, 1080×1920 resolution IPS display with 401 ppi. The front and back panel of the phone made of Gorilla Glass 3 making it scratch resistant to some degree.

The Zenfone 3 display speaks premium. The display is sharp,  bright and is readable even in direct sunlight. The color representation is on point. In my opinion, this is one of the selling points of this device.



For the ZenFone 3 5.5 version, ASUS went for the more affordable Snapdragon 625,  Adreno 506 GPU and equipped it with a 4GB worth of RAM. This octa-core device has all cores clocked at  2Ghz. It also has an in built storage of 64GB but can be expanded by inserting a micro SD card. All in all, this translates to a fast phone capable of delivering even under heavy load.

I benchmarked the phone by subjecting it against performance heavy games like Modern Combat 5, NBA Live, NBA 2K17, Implosion and Pokémon Go. As expected,  it was able to perform without any hiccups.

In my 2 weeks of using the Zenfone 3, I noticed that the device almost does not heat up, even in heavy use. I’ve tested phones in the past where, even just browsing Facebook, generates noticeable heat. This one does not, and if it does,  it’s not as hot compared to other phones I have tested.



The Zenfone 3 has an 8MP wide angle front-facing camera. The 16MP camera at the back has an aperture size of f/2.0 and utilizes Sony’s IMX298 sensor. As you may have guessed already,  the camera captures great stills, especially with good lighting. When you’re done capturing stills on Auto,  you may want to try other shooting modes like Manual,  HDR Pro,  Low Light,  Panorama,  GIF Animation (functions like the Boomerang app),  Time Lapse and Slow Motion, among other modes.

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One of the things that impressed me with the camera is that the manual mode of the Zenfone 3 behaves fairly similar to a modern DSLR camera.


Adjusting the parameters like the ISO or shutter speed and it will give you a preview of what the image may look like with the settings you choose. This is especially useful in low-light conditions and works great with a tripod

Below are sample shots from the Zenfone 3.


User Interface

The ASUS Zenfone 3 ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The ZenUI is a heavily skinned Android OS but some of the native apps are downloadable via the Play store. Upon activating the device,  I immediately received two major software updates and some incremental updates to the native apps,  so it’s quite nice of ASUS to be active in software development.

Here are screenshots of the ZenUI.


Battery life

The Zenfone 3 has a non-removable battery rated at 3000mah. On my normal use,  that being always connected on WiFi,  a few calls,  texts but quite heavy use on browsing social media apps,  it lasts me a day. When the juice runs out,  don’t fret as the phone comes with a fast USB Type-C charger, able to top the phone in less than 90 minutes.




The Zenfone 3 is a great sequel to the popular Zenfone series. Sadly, unlike the previous releases, it does not come on a budget. However, the good thing is ASUS stepped up its game more especially on the looks and hardware department.  The ZenUI is intuitive and has a mix of serious and play to it. The phone does not heat up as much and the camera is great at capturing stills.

The only thing I did not like was the non-lit capacitive keys,  which made using the device in pitch black needs getting used to. However, overall,  the phone performs well and the experience was nothing short of great. The Zenfone 3 is available online and via your local ASUS distributor.





Article first published on NewsBytes.PH
Reposted at Gear App Snap with permissions from the editor
Article author is the site owner

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