Asus Zenfone 3 laser Review- The sleek stylish sub 20K Smartphone, however pricey
• Sleek and stylish design
• Lots of camera features
• Easy to use with one hand
• Average battery life
• Cluster of bloatware
When Asus unveiled its latest Smartphone in India, Zenfone 3 Laser the focus was clear that Asus has just shifted its command to the mid-range smartphones segment. While the Budget smartphones category is working well for Asus but after the launch of Zenfone3, the company made it clear that now it want to capture the Mid range smartphone category as well.
The Zenfone 3 Laser, which Asus launched for Rs.19, 999 seems overpriced considering the features that it offers. Competing against the smartphones like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Moto G4 Plus. The Zenfone 3 laser might seem to be offering just the same specifications but at a slimmer form factor.
Indian consumers have started spending money on smartphones, well I know, they were spending it earlier as well, but now, the budgets have increased a little. Even if, there are tons of budget smartphones available in India, people want more features, more specifications and they are ready to pay for it. Sub 10K price range has more competitors than ever, but again, if you twitch your budget a little, the specifications might not differ a lot, but the performance will. And yes, apart from specifications and camera. The smartphone is still more about reliability.
Look and feel of the Zenfone 3 Laser
The latest Asus Zenfone 3 laser features a 5.5-inch 2.5d curved display in a unibody metal design. But what differentiates it from all the other smartphones is that, even if the device mounts a 5.5-inch display, it’s easy to hold and one can use it by a single hand. The metal finishing on the back is premium and looks stylish compared to the Moto G4 Plus. The camera however, just like the earlier Zenfone 3 looks more or less similar in design with dual tone LED flash adjacent to it and the laser sensor. The 3.5-mm headphone jack is placed on top of the smartphone on one corner, while the secondary noise cancellation microphone is placed on the other. The micro USB port for charging is placed on the bottom of the smartphone with a single speaker grill placed next to it.
The volume rocker and power buttons are placed on the right side of the smarphone, while the fingerprint sensor is placed on rear. Volume controls and power buttons are easy to use and the fingerprint sensor is also placed on a easy to access position. If you set your password as pattern or pin, you can easily unlock the device by one hand. On the other hand, reaching the notification panel would require a little effort with single hand.
After setting up the device completely, you have a weather widget on the phone’s homescreen that displays various weather animations. Along with it, it displays a digital watch, calling, Messaging and browser icon on the lockscreen for quick access. The camera icon is also available on the bottom.
The design seems to be a focal point of the new Zenfone 3 laser smartphone. Asus has seriously improved the design, comparing to the other Zenfone devices and many other of the same category. This one has that shiny metal bezel which reflects light and makes the smartphone look first-class.
The smartphone features a hybrid sim card slot, on which you can either mount one micro sim and one nano sim, or one nano and micro SD card. Also, the design of the overall smartphone measures just 149x76mm and weighs just 150grams, which again makes it a very light smartphone.
Talking about the specifications first, Asus Zenfone 3 laser is powered by a 1.4 GHz Octa-core Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. The smartphone runs on Android v6.0.1 (Marshmallow) with ZenUI 3.0 on top. It has 32GB of internal storage that can be further expanded upto 128GB via micro SD card.
The 5.5-inch Full HD display on the Asus Zenfone 3 laser is very bright and responsive. It is easily visible in all types of lighting conditions. Even in direct sunlight, I didn’t face any sorts of issues regarding the display. Furthermore, the viewing angles are also great.
Coming to the performance, Zenfone 3 laser offers decent performance when we talk of high-end gaming and multitasking. The user interface might feel a little cluttered because of the bloatware that the smartphone comes with. It has MiniMovie, Photo Collage, Zencircle, weather, share link, webstorage, Amazon Kindle, Puffin, Tripadvisor, Audio wizard, Flashlight, Laser ruler, Mobile manage, Splendid, Zen Flash camera, Zen talk and much more. All these applications consume unnecessary storage in the smartphone. And also occupies a good amount of storage.
I installed the CPU-Z application to check the number of active cores and how much load they are putting on the CPU. All the 8 cores were active a time. However, the CPU consumption was around 2-3% when I wasn’t running any application, which was very low compared to the Vivo V5, which was using a single core at a time but was consuming nearly 20-30%. There are again, some pros and cons of using all the cores at one time. If a smartphone is using all the cores in one single moment, which means it’s using more of the battery compared to the one which has a single core active. And also has been activating all the other cores unnecessarily. If a single core can do the task, why activate others?
On different benchmarks, Zenfone 3 laser showed a decent performance. Quadrant standard benchmark showed a score of 21424, Antutu 4.27FPS and Nenamark2 showed a benchmark score of 59.9FPS, which is pretty decent.
Talking about multimedia. The video playback is smooth and the preloaded video application is also decent, having most of the video player features that are available in popular video applications such as MX player and VLC player. The splendid application on the smartphone has brightness and color adjustment features that allow you to select the color temperature and you can also select the Bluelight filter that keeps your eyes safe.
Calling and signal strength are good on the new Zenfone 3 laser. But I think there was some issue with the speaker, which could be unit specific also, as the sound coming out of the speaker was not clear and lacked treble. The output level was low and inappropriate. Apart from the speaker, the earphones that come with the smartphone are not the best. The sound quality is bad and the fitting is also only average.
The Asus Zenfone 3 packs a 3000mAh battery and if you’re a heavy user then Zenfone 3 laser might leave you disappointed. It hardly gives a single day of battery backup and sometimes you might also need the charger before the day is completely over.
The Zenfone 3 laser packs a 13MP rear camera at an aperture of f/2.0. The rear camera is loaded with tons of photography features. It has Zen Flash, Manuel mode, HDR pro, Beautification, Super resolution mode, Low light, children, Night, QR code scanner, Depth of Field, Selfie, GIF animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time rewind, Smart remove, All smiles, Slow motion and Time lapse feature.
The slow motion feature is decent but the depth of field feature appears ineffective as there was no significant difference between a normal photograph and the one captured in depth of field mode. The colors are a little over saturated in normal photographs and the images are a little grainy on the edges.
The front camera is an 8MP shooter that captures good selfies. The beautification mode works fine and the photographs have fine saturation in them. The selfie panorama mode is very impressive and one can make the camera lens look wider by using the selfie panorama mode.
Zenfone series from Asus is one of the very popular series of smartphones in budget smartphones category, however, not very popular in the mid-range segment. The latest in the Zenfone family, Asus Zenfone 3 laser offers a sleek unibody metal design. The smartphone is easy to use with one hand and offers decent daylight camera photography. Though, the images captured in low light are a little grainier. The smartphone offers a good performance and multitasking is also fun. However, if you’re looking for a device that could offer you both performance and battery life, than you can look for other smartphones such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Lenovo Vibe K5 Note.