Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra Review- Does this really competes against other Flagships?

Highlights

Rs. 49,999

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Pros

• Big and Lively display
• Speedy Response
• Great camera performance
• Can record upto 4K videos
• Decent battery life
• Rich and Loud speaker output
• Great calling experience

Cons

• Too big to handle with both hands
• Mediocre specifications
• Awfully heavy for a smartphone
• 4K videos lag during playback
• Stock earphones are below average
• Doesn’t fit in pocket easily

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra is a 6.8-inch smartphone that packs an average SoC and Specs, however the rear camera performance, battery life and lively display does impress a little.
  • Review

Introduction

What is an ideal display size for a smartphone? Well, there’s no single answer to that. It only depends on one’s personal preference. But what I think is, it shouldn’t be too small that enjoying videos would become uninteresting and also it shouldn’t be too big that handling it gets tricky. And if it’s priced at premium segment, the product should be accordingly packed with specifications.

Before we jump into the review let’s just look at the biggest highlights of Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra.

  • Display- 17.272 centimeters (6.8-inch) IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and 16M color support
  • SoC- 1.8GHz 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa core processor, Adreno 510 GPU
  • RAM and ROM-  4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory expandable up to 200GB and dual SIM (micro+nano)
  • Camera- 23MP primary camera with OIS, HDR video F2.0, 4K video recording, laser focus 1.25M, f/2.0 aperture, pixel master beautification, selfie panorama, auto night, HDR pro, effect, low light, slow motion, time lapse and 8MP front facing camera
  • Battery- 4600mAH lithium-ion battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology
  • Weight- 230 Grams

Now, that you’ve gone through with the complete specifications you understand what the device is, physically. Let’s take our review forward.

Look and Feel

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra smartphone

It’s not a tablet, it’s not a notebook, it’s only a smartphone. Even if Zenfone 3 Ultra features an enormous 6.8-inch display, it’s only a smartphone, as the company says. I don’t know why I’m taking this review forward negatively, but there are some pros and cons in Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra.

 The display on the smartphone is super big, not only it’s big, it’s lively. Asus has crafted the smartphone in a very clear-cut manner focussing on and around its display. Watching movies is super lively and mesmerising. I haven’t seen any other smartphone offering such an incredible movie experience like the Zenfone 3 Ultra. If you love watching movies and want to carry a television inside your pocket, there you go, this is the right choice for you. Now that television part was not sarcasm, I labelled it as television only because of the way its video algorithm works. We’ll talk about it later in the performance part of the review.

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera phone

The review unit of Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra we received was of white color on front with silver back. There’s a thin shiny stripe that runs along the edges of the smartphone. The display does not receive scratches quickly; however the rear panel could receive scratches. Although it saves your smartphone from scratches, I would strictly recommend you to put in a back cover as the smartphone will often drop from your hands.

“You can use the smartphone easily only if you use both of your hands. Otherwise, it’ll fall”

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra phone

During our testing period, I tried using the smartphones as much as possible, however, only when I used was either for watching movies or playing games. Gaming on Zenfone 3 Ultra was equal fun as watching movies. And the new Game Genie software is also helpful while playing games.

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra mobile phone USB PORT

If we talk about the placement of buttons, there is a fingerprint scanner at the bottom front of the smartphone. The scanner is quick, accurate and works almost every time. Power button is placed on the right side while the volume rockers just like other Asus smartphones is placed at the rear side of the smartphone. I didn’t like the placement of volume rockers on the Zenfone 3 Ultra, as it’s a massive smartphone and Asus should have kept it in mind while placing volume controls. It’s very difficult to using them even with both the hands. The company should have made it like the other smartphones placing them on one side of the body.

“The display is not that bright to watch movies in direct sunlight or even while travelling in public transport”

Speaker placement is great, not only it saves the audio from getting absorbed in the surface, but also the volume hits directly to the users ears giving them a loud overall response.

There’s a USB type-C port in between the speaker which is great choice. And the 3.5mm Audio jack is placed at the top of the smartphone.

Performance

Before we start talking about the overall performance of the smartphone let’s talk a little about the video performance.

You might have noticed that watching movies in a 50-inch LED Television is way different from watching it on an smartphone. Yes I know the display size is different but there’s something else that adds to overall beauty of movie playback on a TV. That’s called video engine. Video engine is a hardware unit that helps a television in playing movies and videos. It usually makes the overall video experience more immersive and smooth. And the Zenfone 3 Ultra packs a similar kind of video engine that helps in delivering smoother videos and gaming.

“Watching movie on Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra is as immersive as watching it on a 50-inch LED TV”

Moving on to gaming and User interface part. Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra performed well in our testing environment. I played a couple of popular games on the Zenfone 3 Ultra, like Asphalt 8 Xtreme, The Room 3 and Nova 3, all of them ran smoothly. We also didn’t encounter any heating issues with the smartphone as well.

Just like any other Asus Zenfone device, the Zenfone 3 Ultra also comes packed with a lot of bloatware. Even though everything runs smooth, we’d have preferred a less cluttered smartphone.

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra mobile phone

Overall app experience is great, and most of the apps run smoothly. On the other hand there’s a new story. Some apps either don’t run on the Zenfone 3 Ultra or even if they do the screen ratio gets affected. This is the problem that we generally encounter with tablets.

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra mobile phone Adobe premiere

As you can see in the above image. Adobe premiere is not supported on the Zenfone 3 Ultra.

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra mobile phone facebook

The aspect ratio of Facebook doesn’t feel right, or you can say it feels weird.

The most surprising element of Zenfone 3 Ultra is that it records 4K resolution videos; however it does not play 4K videos. The videos that are recorded by its rear camera can only be played on the smartphones, while other 4K videos show shutter lag and also does not run as smooth as Full HD videos.

Camera Quality

Camera performance in daylight conditions is very impressive. Images are sharp, well lit, well saturated and the depth is also very detailed. Laser autofocus system is also very accurate and most of the times works great.

Check out the Samples below

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Although the picture quality is great in properly lit conditions, it’s not accurate in low light conditions. Images captured in low light conditions have too much of noise in them which reduces the detailing.

4K video recording is one of the biggest highlight of Zenfone 3 Ultra and it works fantastic.

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra camera sample

Front camera of the Zenfone 3 Ultra captures decent photographs. The images have proper detailing in them and the colors are good as well. Beauty mode works awesome.

Battery Life

Well, for most of the time I used the Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra either for watching movies or using it as a hotspot device. The smartphone in these conditions functioned for more than 1.5days, sometimes even close to two. Even when I used the device only for watching episodes and social media, Zenfone 3 Ultra gave me a battery life of more than a day.

So, yes the Zenfone 3 Ultra does packs a powerful battery and could easily deliver you a battery life of more than a day.

Final Verdict

Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra is a massive smartphone. The display on the device is bright and vivid; however it has black bezel around it and the screen is not visible in direct sunlight. Carrying the smartphone with you is not as easy as you would think; it doesn’t fit inside the pocket as well. Camera performance is sharp and accurate in daylight conditions only, and not too accurate in low. Battery life is great. So, only if you’re looking for an enormous entertainment product, go for Zenfone 3 Ultra.

Bikram Singh Negi

Bikram Singh Negi

Holding camera at extreme destinations or playing games in metro train his love for tech never ends. Phones, Apps, Updates, Cameras and Tech gossip all in one roof, he’s a complete tech-package. Travelling or sampling new cuisine nothing would distort him from his passion.