- Release Date: January 22, 2016
Optical Zoom lens
Remarkable OIS results
Manual camera settings
Decent battery life
Bulky to hold
The Asus Zenfone Zoom is presently an exclusive option in the smartphone market with optical zoom technology. It hasn't only the potential to sit among the best camera smartphones but also a high-end hardware to compete with some of the great flagships.
Smartphones have become quite smart. But when it comes to their comparison with DSLRs or with even some premium point-and-shoot cameras, they still lack. They lack because of fixed focal length. They lack because of standard camera sensors. And, they lack because of some traditional imaging engines. A handful of companies had introduced their offerings in the past to bring a revolution in the market. But a breakthrough is yet to be derived. In the meanwhile, Asus joined the race with its Zenfone Zoom. This new model has emerged as the world’s slimmest optical zoom smartphone.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom was unveiled at the CES last year but entered India just last month. We started using this new offering following its launch to test how it is different from the almost homogenous market of camera smartphones. So without any further introduction, here begins our in-depth review.
What’s in the Box
Unlike the affordable Zenfone 2, the Asus Zenfone Zoom comes with a price tag of Rs. 37,999 in India and $399 in the US. The Taiwanese giant is utilising your money in uniquely designing not only the smartphone but also its box. Yes, there is a premium box that contains most of your required things.
You’ll get the Zenfone Zoom along with a hand strap, premium headset with multiple ear knobs, USB data cable and an AC charger. The quality of the box content is certainly justifying the price of the smartphone.
Asus is infamous for using plastic on its Zenfone range of smartphones. But for the Zenfone Zoom, the company chose an aluminium unibody design that sports 5mm thin edges.
The front of the Asus Zenfone Zoom is quite identical to the Zenfone 2. There is a metal chin on the bottom and Asus branding on the top. Also, there are the three iconic, touch-sensitive keys for back, home and recent apps. You’ll notice more curved edges compared to the Zenfone 2, but the entire front is reminiscent of the previous Zenfone models. On top, there is a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection that has an oleophobic coating to resist smudges.
Left of the Zenfone Zoom has nothing to play but the right side is full of controls and buttons. There is a volume rocker that transforms into zoom keys as well as a power/lock key, dedicated camera shutter button and a video recording button.
On the bottom, there is a microUSB port, primary microphone and a strap eyelet. Although some of the high-end offerings nowadays have a USB Type-C port, Asus hasn’t made any change perhaps to let you easily use your existing USB accessories, docks and cables.
The top of the Zenfone Zoom has a 3.5mm audio jack and a secondary microphone.
Turning towards the rear shows us an all-new back cover that has a leather covering on top. Asus claims that it has used an ox leather material that received the final shape through a traditional Italian leather tailoring technique. Apart from the leather back cover, there is a giant camera setup that distinguishes the Zenfone Zoom from its siblings and other high-end smartphones. Asus and Intel logos and a loudspeaker grill are the remaining two things on the rear side.
The back cover of the Zenfone Zoom is removable though its battery pack isn’t a user replaceable one. Once the cover is removed, you’ll have a microSD card slot and a microSIM card slot.
Overall, the design of the Asus Zenfone Zoom is quite premium. You could notice its 185 grams weight on the very first glimpse, and the whole build is solid enough. The smartphone has 12mm thickness, 158.9mm height and 78.8mm width.
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