First impressions: Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe


Asus has just declared war in the Indian smartphone market by launching as many as six new handsets – Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe, Zenfone 3 Ultra, Zenfone 3 Ultra and the Zenfone 3 Laser (the sixth smartphone is a variant of Zenfone 3 Deluxe). Although the Taiwanese tech giant is prioritising its Zenfone 3 smartphone over other models, its flagship in true sense should be none other than the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, the variant that runs Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 821 processor. The particular model also proves to be the Taiwanese tech giant’s most costly smartphone in India, priced at Rs 62,999.
Not only it is the costliest in India, it also proves to be the first in the country to run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. Though the price of Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe has surely raised eyebrows in many a quarters, it surely is a different issue. Here we take our first look at the smartphone and the impression it leaves behind when used for the first time.Design and display
Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, unlike the Zenfone 3 and the Zenfone 3 Laser, sports a matte finish design, something which we prefer over the shiny mirror-finish panel. Also, one of the drawbacks the mirror-finish panels is that it acts as a fingerprint magnet. We have seen this a lot with recent high-end Samsung Galaxy devices. Nonetheless, the device is lighter than most of the other metal-build handsets out there. The slim profile in addition to the matte texture finish makes the smartphone grippy. Unfortunately, you still won’t be able to use it single-handedly as it is slightly wider than others. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise as Asus has an old habit of adding thick screen bezels on all sides.Skimming through the basic design, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe has power and volume buttons on the right, three backlit capacitive buttons below the display, a speaker and front-facing camera with usual set of sensors above the display, and a microSD/SIM card slot on the left. At the back, the camera is placed at top-centre position with autofocus sensors and dual-LED flash on either sides. And yes, there is a camera bump. Nothing can be done about it.
The Zenfone 3 Deluxe features a 5.7-inch Full HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution Super Amoled display with just above-average viewing angles. This should be understood given the large display and a Full HD resolution. A QHD panel could have justified the price tag and the high-end segment placing of the smartphone.However, Asus claims that the Zenfone 3 Deluxe sports 79% screen-to-body ratio with Tru2Life technology “optimizing every pixel for maximum intensity.” Since we spent limited time with the device under artificial light situations, we would still need to test it in other conditions to give our final word. For now, the display looks just fine and shouldn’t be a problem for general users.Performance and camera
Nothing much can be said about the performance of the smartphone as we spent just about an hour with the handset at the launch event. But we are guessing it should run smooth without any glitches as it packs one of the world’s most advanced mobile chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. To keep things swift the handset also packs 6GB RAM, which is slowly becoming a norm with devices. It is worth adding that Asus was the first in the smartphone market to bring 4GB RAM in its Zenfone series last year during CES 2015.
Stay tuned for our full review to find out how the smartphone performs in varied conditions.The handset runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with its native ZenUI 3.0 on top. Someone who has already been using an Asus handset would find nothing new with the UI. For those coming from other handsets, the UI is pretty much straight-forward. It also has 256GB of inbuilt storage, which should be more than enough for a general user. Just in case that 256GB fills up, you also get the option to expand the storage using microSD card. The smartphone is backed by a 3000mAh battery, which also supports Quick Charge 3.0 technology.
Coming to the camera, the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe sports 23MP Sony IMX318 rear camera with PixelMaster technology, Sapphire cover glass, Optical Image Stabilisation, PDAF and more. It can record videos in 4K resolution as well. We clicked a few snaps in low-light situations and it was not disappointing at all. Although we could see noise when zooming an image, it is something that could be ignored for most of the times. Our full testing of the camera still remains. We expect the 23MP camera to click extremely detailed images in bright daylight conditions. A 92MP super Resolution Mode is also included.The smartphone also has an 8MP front-facing camera with 85-degree wide angles lenses. The front-camera worked just fine and the image quality was satisfying.Since we are yet to review the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe by testing it to the limits, we cannot jump to any conclusion as of now. But as for first impressions, the smartphone managed to impress us when it comes to the build and camera. We expect a glitch-free performance by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. The display too remains to be tested.
Looking at the Rs 62,999 price tag of the smartphone and the specifications it offers under-the-hood, it may be difficult for Asus to bring traction for its Zenfone 3 Deluxe. The handset too, as Asus India head Peter Chang told TOI, is targeted at a slightly different audience (such as power users).

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