Asus Zenfone 3 Review: Overpriced or Feature Rich?

The latest zenvolution event revealed the new class of Zenfone smartphones, the Zenfone 3 in India at the most shocking price range. The whole Zenfone fans are a bit disappointed with the rates but, what do you think made this phone wear a tag of such a high price?

Asus has got a new nick name with this revelation. People started calling Asus the next Apple, not fortunately in the terms of quality but the pricing. However, Zenfone 3 is not that dumbest phone. It has all those extra bit features (except the processor) that we were expecting.

Let’s see what Zenfone 3 has got in its armor and later decide if it is over priced or really a feature rich smartphone.

What’s in the box?

Zenfone 3 package comes with the handset, charging unit with detachable USB cord, ear phones (surprise!!), SIM ejector tool along with the manuals and usage guides.

Good to see Asus including the earphones this time. It seems like the company has taken the user frustrated feedback on no-earphone package seriously this time.


If you had ever closely observed the previous class of Zenfones, you would have noticed that the similarity of design between the Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 2 and difference compared to the Zenfone 3.

Zenfone 3 has the full metallic unibody design this time with an eccentric back pointing to the finger print sensor. The device is made flat and slimmer than Zenfone 2 leaving the marks of premium looks in its design.

asus-zenfone-3-ze552kl-back   asus-zenfone-3-ze552kl-front   asus-zenfone-3-ze552kl-side

The power button and volume rockers are replaced to their normal position compared to that of Zenfone 2. So, the complaint of difficulty to reach out to the power button on Zenfone 2 has been solved. The Zenfone 2 Deluxe and Laser also had the same problem as they are the sibling products of the Zenfone 2 era.

Zenfone 3 has the Type-c 2.0 port at the bottom beside the 5-Magnet loud speaker and mic. The other edge has the SIM tray and the top of the device has the 3.5mm audio jack along with the secondary mic.

The back side has the premium looking eccentric glass over metal design with a fingerprint scanner, camera, dual-tone flash and laser. On the front, it has the secondary camera and proximity sensor. The front and back panel is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 0.25D glass.


Zenfone 3 ZE520KL comes with 5.2 inch FHD 1920x1080 IPS display with 75.6% screen-to-body ratio and 600nits of brightness. The 178 degree viewing angle display will not let the true color performance of the screen. It also comes with the blue-light filter for eye care. The ZE522KL version has the 5.5 inch display with the same specifications.

ZF3’s display has 10-point capacitive touch with the fingerprint and smudge-resistant Oleophobic coating. You would see less smudges on the screen and less oil stick to it.

This ZE520KL model is the one with the smaller screen among all the Zenfone 3 phones that were released.


Zenfone 3 sports a 64-bit Octa-Core Snapdragon 625 processor clocking at 2.0GHz. The processor is accompanied by the 3GB/4GB RAM and Adreno 506 GPU. The hardware combo is powered by the Android 6.0 based ZenUI 3.0, unleashing the performance out of the device.

Though Snapdragon 625 is not a fair exciting processor that a smartphone of 2016 should be having, with the support of 3GB/4GB RAM, Adreno 506 and Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the Zenfone 3 will perform at best.

However the SD 625 processor can support the LTE aggregation, camera module up to 24 mega pixels and 35% less power consumption. Trust me, you still can count on it.


The basic Zenfone 3 comes in 32GB internal storage at minimum. It ditched the 16GB version this time or may introduce with lessened prices in future. ZF3 comes in two memory variants, 32GB and 64GB. These two variants come along with the 3GB and 4GB RAM variants respectively.

You can expand the memory of Zenfone 3 up to 2TB with the help of a microSD card. You will also get 100GB of free Google Drive space for 2 years.


Zenfone 3 has an interested upgrade to the camera module. It has 16MP rear camera with 6P Largan lens, f/2.0, dual tone flash and laser auto-focus system. This means that we don’t get a laser version in future like as Zenfone 2 Laser.

The front camera is a 8MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture. This is a good upgrade compared to ZF2 to take clearer and sharper photos.


Zenfone 3 supports the UMTS/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE/TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE networks all over the world. Their specifications are as follows.

Data Rate:HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 5.76 Mbps
DC-HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 42 Mbps
LTE Cat4:UL 50 / DL 150 Mbps (WW version)
LTE Cat6:UL 50 / DL 300 Mbps (TW/JP/HK/SG/PH version)
2G: 850/900/1800/1900
WW version:
WCDMA: Band: 1/2/5/8
ID/IN/TH version:3G:
WCDMA: Band: 1/5/8
FDD: Band: 1/3/5/8
TD: Band: 40
TW/JP/HK version:
WCDMA: Band: 1/2/5/6/8/19
FDD: Band: 1/2/3/5/7/8/18/19/26/28
TD: Band: 38/39/40/41
BR version:
WCDMA: Band: 1/2/4/5/8
FDD: Band: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/17/28
CN version:
WCDMA: Band: 1/2/5/8
TD-SCDMA: Band: 34/39

*The above network information is taken from the ASUS official website. The ASUS phone 4G/LTE band compatibility may vary by region. You are advised to check compatibility with local carriers if intending to use your ASUS phone outside the original purchase region.


Zenfone 3 ZE520KL comes with a 2650mAh Li-ion non-removable battery. It is less powerful than that of Zenfone 2 had (3000mAh). The battery is quite a disappointment for Zenfone 3. The Adreno 506 will suck up the juice faster when in use. Though the processor is 35% energy efficient, it cannot perform as good as ZF2’s.

The ZE522KL version has the 3000mAh battery. With the little extra large screen on this version, the battery performance of both the devices makes no difference at all.

The Zenfone2’s battery also couldn’t stand for 24 hours when moderately used, because of the bloatware that keeps on running in the background. The less powered battery is hopeless.


+ Premium looking design
+ Better display
+ Type-C port for quick charging
+ Improved cameras
+ 2TB storage expandability
+ 100GB Google Drive space for 2 years


- Average processor in price point
- Weaker battery
- Drastically overpriced


The SD 625 may be energy efficient, the 3GB/4GB RAM variants are good enough for better multitasking. The Antutu score of 60,000 is not a negligible one. Zenfone 3 could have been a good device if it was labelled around $180 (Rs.12,000 INR). But, the device is overpriced at $328 (Rs.22,000 INR) for 3GB/32GB version and $418 (Rs.28,000 INR) for 4GB/64GB version.

I don’t understand the point that why would someone spend that much whereas the better processor phones like Redmi Note 3 is coming out for just $180 (Rs.12,000 INR).

Another point is that why would someone spend another $90 (Rs.6,000 INR) for just 1GB more RAM, 32GB more storage,0.3 inch extra screen and 350mAh extra juice in the battery? Looks like Asus have gained more overconfidence this time.

Performance-wise, Zenfone 3 ZE520KL makes a very good device. If you want to buy one, you may buy it from the following links:

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