I usually see everyone around me struggling for free storage space, specially the iPhone owners with 16 GB, but that’s not the case with this Asus Premium device.
There is lot of space on this one, 256 GB – that is huge for anyone. Specially, for people like me who have learnt to live in 32 GB. And iPhone owners would be super jealous to see that kind of internal storage.
Let’s talk of key features and user experience of the most premium smartphone made by Asus – The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe 256 GB (ZS570KL).
Asus – Change of Strategy and Focus
Asus has always been known to deliver bang for your buck smartphones. Asus Zenfone 5 – one of the highest sold mobiles by Asus, was a real value for money offering. But with time things have changed. and Asus have been transformed into a more premium brand.
Be it celebrity endorsement By Sonakshi Sinha or brand positioning, they are trying to portray as premium smartphone seller.
It is not only the pricing of the smartphones which have become expensive, but Asus is also trying to improve the build Quality, Camera , Design and overall user experience of their mobiles.
The recent Zenfone 3 Series, marked the change in the company strategy from being a value player to being a more premium mobile manufacturer. There has been lot of praise for the design of Asus Zenfone 3 and camera quality and at the same time some of Asus fans are not liking the sky high price tags.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe 256 GB is a top end model, and it costs Rs 62,999 and comes with top of the line specs sheet that you can demand in a modern smartphone. There is also a 64 GB version of the smartphone which is priced at Rs. 49,999.
Let’s Explore the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe 256 GB (ZS570KL) to find out where the device does well and where there is space for improvements.
These days smartphones have become so good that they’re being judged by, “What’s wrong with it” instead of “What’s right with it.” The negatives are highlighted more than the positive aspects.
Design is a crucial factor in the flagship devices as specs are a becoming more common and easy to replicate.
Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe sports a thin profile, with sturdy metallic build and has slight tapered edges which meet the rounded sides. The back of the phone is slightly curved which makes it easy to hold and use.
When it comes to metal phones, there’s a high probability of using plastic antennas for radio waves to pass through.
Surprisingly, Asus has managed to make an all metal phone with invisible antenna lines, a technology which Asus calls PureMetal. The usual power and volume buttons lie at the right side. The USB-type C is placed at the bottom with microphone and speaker.
It still retains the 3.5 mm audio jack at the top. The front bezels reflect the iconic Zen concentric circles. The back features a fingerprint sensor with an unusually long rectangular shape, placed vertically right below the camera sensor. There is a small camera bump for the rear camera.
Overall, the phone lives up to its name and feels good to hold.
The Zenfone 3 Deluxe flaunts a 5.7 inch Super AMOLED display. The sides have non-existing bezels, where as the top and bottom bezels are chunky enough since it features off-screen navigation buttons. The display is quite bright to see it under bright sunlight.
Though it is not as sharp when compared to some of the Quad HD Displays. There are some filters and color schemes provided by Asus like the Blue Light filter to enhance the user experience.
Asus has also provided an option for users to calibrate the screen temperature according to their own taste. There is a half baked “always-on display” feature like “LG and Samsung.” Unlike Samsung, Asus’s provides more information such as the Notification badge with their icons. The UI for the always on feature is not that great.
The Zenfone Deluxe was released back in 2016. Now it’s, 2017 and still many of the smartphones are yet to receive Android N update. So it’s evident that the Deluxe variant would’ve shipped with Android Marshmallow v6.0.1 with ZenUI skin on top.
Zen UI comes with alot of customization options and Its not all dull , ZenUI has been very popular even on the Play Store with over 10M downloads.
This proves that the launcher isn’t half-baked like other Chinese ROMs. Although, the choice of design might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The notification drawer looks hideous with overly large circles around the WiFi and several options up top.
The apps are not symmetrical in shape and size. The color combination throughout the system is not helping either. Though it is not a deal-breakers, as the launcher is smooth and snappy to use. It doesn’t hamper the overall performance by any means.
In fact i found some of the Apps launch really fast on the Zenfone 3 Deluxe even when compared to a Samsung S7 edge.
Though there are lot of pre-installed apps from Asus and as there are equivalent Apps from Google as well this causes heck load of bloatware and duplication of apps for no good reason. Apps such as, ZenCircle, ZenFone Care, MiniMovie etc may be useful for some of the users but majority should get an option to add them or remove them.
Certainly, one can’t just uninstall them. It also includes some third-party apps pre-installed such as TrueCaller, Sim City.
Overall the User experience is very fast and fluid, we would have loved the user interface to be more aesthetic and minimalist.
A phone packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SOC, 6 GB of RAM along with Adreno 530 GPU clocked at impressive 653 MHz, makes it a perfect recipe for stellar performance. No gripes here, it just performs fast and I mean really fast.
The software is well optimized from performance perspective and it flies when it comes to multi-tasking.
There’s also a fingerprint sensor at the back. It’s sporting a unique shape which is a first for any smartphone company. It’s placed vertically and is rectangular in shape.
This somehow makes the surface area smaller compared to usual circle or square shaped sensors. The overall performance of the sensor is just passable.
Antutu Benchmark Score – The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe scores an inspiring 141,000 score on the Antutu Benchmark which is top of the charts performance number.
Gaming on Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe – It offers great gaming experience as expected from a top of the line phone and there is no heating issues. We played some of the popular Games like Nova 3 and Modern Combat 5. The Deluxe handled them without breaking a sweat.
It’s powered by 3000 mAH battery. It’s sounds very less for a phone coming with a large 5.7 inch FHD display. Even the phones with smaller form factor like the HTC 10, Huawei P9 are able to pack in the similar sized battery in a much smaller form factor.
It could’ve been an opportunity for Asus to pack in a higher capacity battery in this beast. Although, the overall battery performance is above average and can get you a day’s usage easily. Fortunately, it also supports Quick Charge 3.0 which can charge up to 50% in just 33 minutes in my test.
Call Connectivity 4G LTE VOLTE and Sound
There were no glitches we used the smartphone with a reliance JIO sim to surf data and make calls. Also tried an idea sim, both of which worked as intended.
Asus provides an Audio Wizard Software which helps you choose the Audio modes like – Game , Movies or Music or a smart automatic mode. Didn’t find much enhancement in the sound quality compared to most other phones.
This is a big deal and we expect nothing but the best performance from camera in this range. The camera is impressive for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe but to sum it up short and sweet it lacks the quality of Google Pixel or Samsung S7 Edge.
Though it is a pretty decent camera and click images quickly and uses a fast auto-focus mechanism. I found couple of things in my testing – the images appear to be more cold than the actual scene with a slight bluish tint. The low light camera performance is not as great as we have seen on some of the other flagship phones.
Lets Explore some of the shots we captured with the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe.
Camera Comparison a Close Shot Vs Samsung S7.
Click on the image below to see Full Size Images
Overall there are things left to be desired from the Zenfone 3 Deluxe camera while it can take decent shots in day light if you get used to the camera.
The night shots can have noise and it takes a while for the camera to capture the shot. The aperture size becomes wider but the shutter speed becomes too slow, taking a long time to click the shot.
On some instances I just removed the phone after 1-2 seconds of pressing shoot button but it was still capturing light and was taking the shot. If you notice the blur on the moving vehicles in above image it is due to lower shutter speed in that condition.
The 23 Mega Pixel rear camera on paper is a strong number but in reality is just okay compared to some of the modern 12 MP /13 MP camera lens we have tested.
Concluding Thoughts – Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe 256 GB
The Zenfone 3 Deluxe packs the punch with it amazing camera performance, equally good sound output, above average battery life and stellar performance. The main pillars which makes a smartphone worth your time and money.
Unfortunately, the competition has gotten fierce in 2017. The presence of iPhone 7, Samsung S7 Edge, HTC 10, LG V20 and Google Pixel make it difficult to really difficult for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe to outshine.
All these smartphones are priced closer to the Deluxe and also provide equally good performance and great camera and user experience. While the Pixel and HTC 10 shines in the user experience with stock Android and the iPhone 7 is in it’s own league when it comes to User interface with iOS 10.
Asus need to work on their user experience and software refinement making it more minimalist for the future updates. It has got vastly improved from older skins to the current version but there is still a lot of catching up to do if they wish to match or beat the competition.
Overall Rating : Pros and Cons – Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe 256 GB