ASUS ZenFone 3 in 3 variants: joining the ranks of premium smartphones

The new generation ASUS ZenFone 3 comes in 3 variants; the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Deluxe and ZenFone 3 Ultra. Unlike the ZenFone 2 and ZenFone 2 Laser it replaces, each variant only comes in one display size (for now).

ASUS Entering the Big Boys’ Arena

Finally, a ZenFone with the build quality comparable to smartphones from big names such as Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony. While the standard ZenFone 3 is made with precision-sculptured glass on the front and back, the ZenFone Deluxe and Ultra come in all-metal unibody chassis plus ASUS went one step further and made a gapless design, with the antennas integrated to the chassis in such a way that it looks seamless.

ZenFone 3 design

Each of these smartphones are also a flagship in its own right given the size. Instead of following big players such as Apple and Samsung with their flagship duos; iPhone 6s and 6s Plus or Galaxy S7 and S7 edge respectively, ASUS chose a trio. Except, the third variant is more of a compact tablet with a whooping 6.8-inch display.


ZenFone 3 Deluxe hero

It is worth noting that the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is also the first phone to use the Snapdragon 821 processor, a cutting edge high end processor from Qualcomm. Its predecessor the Snapdragon 820 has been on flagship smartphones from major manufacturers such as Samsung (Galaxy S7), HTC (HTC10) and Xiaomi (Mi5). Qualcomm claims the new chip 821 to be 10% faster than 820. With Asus throwing in 6GB RAM and 64GB Storage and 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is up there with the rest of the big boys.

Comparing ZenFone 3 vs ZenFone 3 Deluxe vs Zenfone 3 Ultra

Quick to the point, here are how the phones differ starting with its design:

ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL)

Precision-sculptured glass on both front and rear made from 2.5D contoured Corning Gorilla Glass with 0.18mm diamond-cut bevel held together with all-metal frame. 7.69mm thin. Available in Moonlight White, Shimmer Gold, Aqua Blue and Sapphire Black.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe ‏(ZS570KL)‏
ZenFone 3 Ultra ‏(ZU680KL)

All-metal unibody from finest aerospace-grade alloy, precision milled, invisible antennas. Curved diamond-cut 0.18mm bezel, 6.8mm thin Available in Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray and Rose Gold.

ZenFone 3 ultra fast laser focus


  • DISPLAY: ZenFone 3 has a 5.5-inch display, ZenFone 3 Deluxe has a 5.7-inch display while the ZenFone 3 Ultra has a 6.8-inch display. All displays are Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080).
  • CPU: ZenFone 3 is powered by Snapdragon 625 clocking at 2.0GHz, ZenFone 3 Deluxe uses Snapdragon 820 clocking at 2.15GHz while Zenfone 3 Ultra uses the newer Snapdragon 652 clocking at 1.8GHz. GPUs are Adreno 506, Adreno 530 and Adreno 510 respectively.
  • MEMORY: ZenFone 3 has 3GB or 4GB RAM, ZenFone 3 Deluxe has 6GB RAM while ZenFone 3 Ultra has 3GB or 4GB RAM. All memory chips are LPDDR3.
  • STORAGE: ZenFone 3 storage options include 32GB or 64GB, ZenFone 3 Ultra starts at 128GB or 256GB while ZenFone 3 Ultra starts at 64GB or 128GB. All smartphones support up to 128GB addtional micro SD memory except for ZenFone 3 Ultra taking up to 200GB.
  • BATTERY CAPACITY: ZenFone 3 and ZenFone 3 Deluxe shares the same 3000mAh battery while ZenFone 3 Ultra goes further with a 4600mAh capacity battery.
  • CAMERAS: All three smartphones share the same 8MP front facing camera with 85˚ wide-viewing angle. For the rear camera, ZenFone 3 has a 16MP sensor while ZenFone 3 Deluxe and Ultra uses a 23MP sensor.
  • DIMENSIONS: ZenFone 3 is 7.69mm thin with 0.18mm diamond-cut bevel, ZenFone 3 Deluxe has 4.2mm thin edge with 0.14mm diamond-cut bevel and ZenFone 3 Ultra has 6.8mm thin edge with 0.18mm diamond-cut bevel and. See overall dimensions from table below.
  • WEIGHT: ZenFone 3 weighs 155 grams, ZenFone 3 Deluxe weighs 170 grams while ZenFone 3 Ultra weighs 233 grams.

Let’s break it down by looking at the specification of each of the phones.

Notable Features

ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL)

The all metal frame sandwiched with two sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass puts this miles ahead of the previous generation ZenFone 2 and ZenFone 2 Laser. However, it does make it the thickest of the three variants at 7.69mm. The metal frame has an added diamond-cut chamfer giving it a multi-dimensional design and premium chrome accent on either side. The Super IPS+ display offers plenty of brightness and contrast making it easy for viewing indoor or outdoor. The screen-to-body ratio however is not as high as the Deluxe and Ultra, at only 77.3%, it’s really not bad for a phone with a 5.5-inch display but Deluxe and Ultra pushing it closer to 80%, 79% to be exact and the result really shows.

ZenFone 3 pixelmaster 3 photographyThe 16MP camera captures 4K video, has a large f/2.0 aperture lense, uses subject-tracking TriTech auto-focus and does it ultra fast in just 0.03 seconds. The instant focus is continuous and includes phase detection. To top that off, it uses both 4-axis 8-direction optical (OIS) and 3-axis, 4-direction electronic image stabilisation (EIS) for blur-free stills and video. PixelMaster 3.0 also makes colour adjustments for true colour photography. Another feature that mobile photographers will appreciate is the Deep Trench Isolation technology. This prevents photos of light from leaking from one pixel on the sensor to another for better details. Together with the colour correction sensor, it makes photos look natural. Switch it up to 4x Super Resolution mode and you can create extremely detailed photo at 64MP. It also offers Real-time HDR, with no delay in shooting so you capture HDR photo as you frame it.

ZenFone 3 colours

In the power front, the ZenFone 3 is powered by 14nm process Snapdragon S625 64-bit octa-core processor clocking at 2.0GHz paired with ample 4GB RAM memory and Adreno 506 GPU offering desktop like graphics and performance. The processor is 35% more efficient and offers 4G Cat 6 LTE connectivity supporting speed up to 300Mbps. It also adopts the new reversible USB-C port. Another upgrade is it now has a rear fingerprint scanner, position naturally where you would hold the phone. You can use this to unlock the phone in a fraction of a second. In the sound department, the smartphone is SonicMaster and High-Res Audio certified offering studio-grade 24-bit/192kHz playback, 4 x better than CD quality. It uses 5-magnet speakers with metal voice coil and expansive sound chamber to pump out the high quality and powerful sound. Finally, it is worth mentioning on this and other ZenFone 3 is the new ZenUI 3.0 skin. There are apps that plug gaps in the vanilla version, improving the standard interface and improve productivity.

ZenFone 3 ZenUI3

ZenFone 3 Deluxe ‏(ZS570KL)‏

The ZenFone 3 Deluxe has a 5.7-inch bigger display, faster Snapdragon 820 processor clocking at 2.15GHz and more memory at 6GB RAM. It also improves on design over the ZenFone 3 with a full metal unibody with invisible antenna. The thinnest point, the edge only measures 4.2mm. The backplate is curved and is thicker in the middle up to 7.5mm where the camera is located. Using the finest aerospace-grade alloy and precision milling with 0.14mm diamond-cuttin technology. The metal surface is finished with hyper fine sanding process, polished to a beautiful smooth anodized finish. What we like best is the display, with an ultra small 1.3mm slim side bezel and a high 79% screen-to-body ratio the 5.7-inch device does not feel big.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe display

Its Full HD Super AMOLED display offers plenty of contrast (3,000,000:1) for vibrant colour and uses Tru2Life technology for maximum intensity. For protection, it uses Gorilla Glass 4 glass cover. The display also has always-on technology, the screen keeps vital information in constant view for whenever you need it — without waking up the whole display. For connectivity the ZenFone 3 Deluxe comes with 4G Cat 13 LTE supporting up to 600Mbps (subject to network provider). It also uses the USB-C 3.0 connector and is capable of fast-charging pushing the battery level up to 60% in 39 minutes. Even with all this power and connectivity, the 14nm processor is 300% faster than compared to ZenFone 2 Deluxe and 30% more efficient. The Adreno 530 graphics is also 64% faster.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe back

It wouldn’t be Deluxe if not for bigger memory, 6GB RAM and even more storage at 64GB, 128GB or 256GB UFS 2.0 ROM. Compare this to ZenFone 3’s 32GB or 64GB eMCP ROM, the Deluxe has plenty of room. As with the ZenFone 3, the Deluxe has a finger print scanner in the middle just under the rear facing camera for ease of reach. In the optics department, it also has a better 23MP camera again with TriTech auto-focus. PixelMaster 3.0, ASUS’s speak for photography on the smartphone enhances the onboard 23MP sensor with large f/2.0 aperture lens and subject-tracking TriTech auto-focus to offer superb result. In Super Resolution mode, it can capture 92MP image and does this with super quick 0.03s instant auto-focus applying both optical and electronic image stabilisation. The term TriTech auto-focus refers to the three focusing technologies – laser, phase detection and continuous auto-focus. While shooting photos, the four-axis optical image stabilizer (OIS) senses and prevents your hand movements from blurring photos. And for videos, a three-axis electronic image stabilizer (EIS) keeps your handheld videos rock steady. TriTech, OIS, EIS and Deep Trench Isolation (technology that prevents photons of light from leaking from one pixel on the sensor to another) plus Colour Correction sensor offers clearer and better picture.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe front

Like the ZenFone 3, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe has SonicMaster and High-Res Audio certification. It pumps out your tunes and sound from an advanced five-magnet speaker construction, metal voice coil and expansive sound chamber. For immersive listening, plug in your favorite compatible headphone or earbuds and experience true High-Res audio quality studio-grade 24-bit/192kHz playback that’s 4x better than CD quality. Finally, the ZenUI skin now in its third iteration, version 3.0 offers sublime front end improvements over the standard interface while adding productivity features for things like eather updates with real-time animations, time using the clock widget and depth of parallax scrolling when swiping through the apps.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe ZENUI3

Table of Comparison

We leave you with a comparison table between the three ZenFone 3 variants.

ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL)

ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL)

ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL)

ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL)

ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL)

ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL)

Finish/Color
Glass finish : Sapphire Black/Moonlight White/Shimmer GoldMetal : Glacier Silver/Titanium Gray/Shimmer GoldMetal : Glacier Silver/Titanium Gray/Rose Gold
Dimensions
152.59 x 77.38 x 7.69156.4 x 77.4 x 4.2 ~ 7.5 mm (WxDxH)186.4 x 93.9 x 6.8 mm
Weight
155 g [LIGHTEST] 170 g233 g
Operating System
Android™ 6.0Android™ 6.0 with brand-new ASUS ZenUIAndroid™ 6.0 with brand-new ASUS ZenUI
Processor
CPU:
64-bit Qualcomm® Octa-Core ProcessorSnapdragon™ 625 @2.0Ghz
GPU:
Adreno™ 506
CPU:
64-bit Qualcomm® Quad-Core Processor Snapdragon™ 820 @2.15Ghz [FASTEST PROCESSOR]Snapdragon 821 on some models.
GPU:
Adreno™ 530 624 MHz with OpenGL 3.0 support
CPU:
64-bit Qualcomm® Quad-Core ProcessorSnapdragon™ 652 @1.8Ghz
GPU:
Adreno™ 510
Display
5.5-inch
FHD(1920×1080) Super IPS+ display
77.3% screen-to-body ratio
500 nits brightness
5.7-inch
FHD(1920×1080) Super AMOLED
79% screen-to-body ratio
ASUS TruVivid technology
Bluelight Filter for Eye Care
Corning® Gorilla® Glass4 (Super Anti Scratch)
Touch:
10-finger capacitive touch
Fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Industrial-leading 60ms touch response time for smooth gaming experience
Support glove touch
6.8-inch [BIGGEST DISPLAY]
FHD(1920×1080) IPS display with full-screen lamination
79% screen-to-body ratio
ASUS TruVivid technology
Bluelight Filter for Eye Care
Corning® Gorilla® Glass4 (Super Anti Scratch)
178˚wide-viewing angle
Touch:
10-finger capacitive touch
Memory
RAM 3GB / 4GB LPDDR3RAM 6GB [BIGGEST RAM]RAM 3GB / 4GB LPDDR3
Capacity
Internal Storage:
eMCP 32GB/ 64GB
Micro SD:
Micro SD Card up to128 GBGoogle Drive: 100GB free space (2 years)
Internal Storage:
UFS 2.0 64GB/ 128GB / 256GB [BIGGEST STORAGE]
Micro SD:
Micro SD(SDXC) Card up to128 GB
Support Apps to SD card
ASUS WebStorage: 5GB free for life
Google Drive: 100GB free space (2 years)
Internal Storage:
eMMC32GB/ 64GB / 128GB [BIG STORAGE]
Micro SD:
Micro SD(SDXC) Card up to200 GBASUS WebStorage: 5GB free for life
Google Drive: 100GB free space (2 years)
Battery
3000mAh3000mAh (non-removable)
BoostMaster Fast Charging : 60% battery capacity in 39 minutes (18W)
4600mAh Lithium [HIGHEST CAPACITY]
BoostMaster Fast Charging : 60% battery capacity in 45 minutes (18W)
Audio
Speaker:
Built-in Mono speaker
5 magnet speaker for up to 40% better performance
ASUS SonicMaster 3.0
Speaker:
Built-in Mono speaker
5 magnet speaker for up to 40% better performance
ASUS SonicMaster 3.0
Speaker:
Dual FIVE-magnet speakers for louder sound volume and less distortion [DUAL FIRING]
ASUS SonicMaster 3.0
World’s 1st with DTS Headphone:X™ for virtual 7.1 surround sound
Hi-Res Audio 192kHz/24-bit standard that is 4 times better than CD quality
NXP Smart AMP technology delivers up to 4X sound volume
FM Receiver:
FM Radio
Video
Take still photo while recording video
4K video recording
3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization
4K video recording
3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization
Full HD Video recording 1080p @30 FPS
4K video recording
3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization
Wireless Technology
802.11ac
Bluetooth V 4.2
Wi-Fi direct
802.11b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth V 4.2 +A2DP +EDR
802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth V 4.2 +A2DP +EDR
Navigation
GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDSSGPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDSSGPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDSS
SIM Cards
Dual SIM card
SIM 1: 2G/3G/4G SIM Card
SIM 2: 2G/3G/4G SIM Card
Dual SIM Dual Standby
Only use the nano SIM card or the microSD card at a time
Both SIM card slots support 3G WCDMA/ 4G LTE network band. But only one SIM card can connect to 3G WCDMA/ 4G LTE service at a time.
Dual SIM card
SIM 1: 2G/3G/4G SIM Card
SIM 2: 2G/3G/4G SIM Card
Dual SIM Dual Standby
Only use the nano SIM card or the microSD card at a time
Both SIM card slots support 3G WCDMA/ 4G LTE network band. But only one SIM card can connect to 3G WCDMA/ 4G LTE service at a time.
Dual SIM card
SIM 1: 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card
SIM 2: 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card
Dual SIM Dual Standby
Only use the nano SIM card or the microSD card at a time
Both SIM card slots support 3G WCDMA/ 4G LTE network band. But only one SIM card can connect to 3G WCDMA/ 4G LTE service at a time.
Network Standard
UMTS/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE/TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE
Data Rate:
HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 5.76 Mbps
DC-HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 42 Mbps
LTE Cat6:UL 50 / DL 300 Mbps
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
ASUS phone 4G/LTE band compatibility varies by region. Please check compatibility with local carriers If intending to use your ASUS phone outside the original purchase region.
UMTS/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE/TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE
Data Rate:
HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 42.2 Mbps
LTE Cat 13 LTE supporting up to 600Mbps
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
ASUS phone 4G/LTE band compatibility varies by region. Please check compatibility with local carriers If intending to use your ASUS phone outside the original purchase region.
UMTS/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE/TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE
Data Rate:
HSPA+: UL 42.2 / DL 5.76 Mbps
LTE Cat6:UL 300 / DL 50 Mbps
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
ASUS phone 4G/LTE band compatibility varies by region. Please check compatibility with local carriers If intending to use your ASUS phone outside the original purchase region.
Sensor
Accelerator/E-Compass/Gyroscope/Proximity sensor/Hall sensor/Ambient light sensor/RGB sensor/IR sensor/FingerprintAccelerator/E-Compass/Gyroscope/Proximity sensor/Hall sensor/Ambient light sensor/RGB sensor/IR sensor/FingerprintAccelerator/E-Compass/Gyroscope/Proximity sensor/Hall sensor/Ambient light sensor/RGB sensor/IR sensor/Fingerprint
I/O Ports
Type C 2.0
3.5mm audio jack(1 Head phone / Mic-in)
Type C 3.1
3.5mm audio jack(1 Head phone / Mic-in)
Type C 2.0
3.5mm audio jack(1 Head phone / Mic-in)
Miracast
Support HDMI (Support USB OTG: USB2.0)
Camera
Front:
8MP Camera , f/2.0 aperture, Fix Focus
PixelMaster Camera Modes:
Back Light (HDR) Mode (with ASUS PixelEnhancing Technology for up to 400% brighter , and evenly exposed photos)
Low Light Mode (with ASUS PIxelMaseter Technology for up to 400% brighter photos and videos)
Real Time Beautification Mode, GIF Animation Mode, Panorama Selfie Mode
Rear:
16MP Camera, f/2.0 aperture, 6 P Largan lens
Auto Focus
0.03 second laser auto-focus
32 second long exposure
4-axis 4 Stops Optical image stabilization
Dual-LED real tone flash
PixelMaster Camera Modes:
Back Light (HDR) Mode (with ASUS PixelEnhancing Technology for up to 400% brighter , and evenly exposed photos)
Low Light Mode (with ASUS PIxelMaseter Technology for up to 400% brighter photos and videos)
Manual Mode (for DSLR-like camera detail settings)
Real Time Beautification Mode
Super Resolution Mode (for up to 4X resolution photos)
Night Mode
Depth of Field Mode
Photo Effect Mode
Selfie Panorama, Selfie Mode
GIF Animation Mode
Panorama Selfie Mode
Miniature Mode
Time Rewind Mode
Smart Remove Mode
All Smiles Mode
Slow Motion Mode
Time Lapse Mode
Front:
8MP Camera , f/2.0 aperture 85˚ wide-viewing angle
PixelMaster Camera Modes:
Back Light (HDR) Mode (with ASUS PixelEnhancing Technology for up to 400% brighter , and evenly exposed photos)
Low Light Mode (with ASUS PIxelMaseter Technology for up to 400% brighter photos and videos)
Rear:
23MP Camera, f/2.0 aperture, 6 P Largan lens
Auto Focus
0.03 second laser auto-focus
32 second long exposure
4-axis 4 Stops Optical image stabilization
Dual-LED real tone flash
PixelMaster Camera Modes:
Back Light (HDR) Mode (with ASUS PixelEnhancing Technology for up to 400% brighter , and evenly exposed photos)
Low Light Mode (with ASUS PIxelMaseter Technology for up to 400% brighter photos and videos)
Manual Mode (for DSLR-like camera detail settings)
Real Time Beautification Mode
Super Resolution Mode (for up to 4X resolution photos)
Night Mode
Depth of Field Mode
Photo Effect Mode
Selfie Panorama, Selfie Mode
GIF Animation Mode
Miniature Mode
Time Rewind Mode
Smart Remove Mode
All Smiles Mode
Slow Motion Mode
Time Lapse Mode
Front:
8MP Camera , f/2.0 aperture 85˚ wide-viewing angle, Auto Focus
PixelMaster Camera Modes:
Back Light (HDR) Mode (with ASUS PixelEnhancing Technology for up to 400% brighter , and evenly exposed photos)
Low Light Mode (with ASUS PIxelMaseter Technology for up to 400% brighter photos and videos)
Real Time Beautification Mode, Night Mode, Photo Effect Mode, Selfie Panorama, Selfie Mode, GIF Animation Mode, Slow Motion Mode
Rear:
23MP Camera, f/2.0 aperture, 6 P Largan lens
Auto Focus
0.03 second laser auto-focus
32 second long exposure
4-axis 4 Stops Optical image stabilization
0.03 sec Ultrafast TriTech auto focus
Color correction (RGB) sensor for the best white balance and natural-looking colors
Dual-LED real tone flash
PixelMaster Camera Modes:
Back Light (HDR) Mode (with ASUS PixelEnhancing Technology for up to 400% brighter , and evenly exposed photos)
Low Light Mode (with ASUS PIxelMaseter Technology for up to 400% brighter photos and videos)
Manual Mode (for DSLR-like camera detail settings)
Real Time Beautification Mode
Super Resolution Mode (for up to 4X resolution photos)
Night Mode
Depth of Field Mode
Photo Effect Mode
Selfie Panorama, Selfie Mode
GIF Animation Mode
Miniature Mode
Time Rewind Mode
Smart Remove Mode
All Smiles Mode
Slow Motion Mode
Time Lapse Mode
Power Adapter
Output:
5 V 2 A 10 W
Output:
9 V 2 A 18 W
Input:
100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
Support Fast Charging /Bundle Fast Charging
Output:
9 V 2 A 18 W
Input:
100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
Support Fast Charging /Bundle Fast Charging
User Interface
ASUS ZenUI 3.0ASUS ZenUI 3.0ASUS ZenUI 3.0
Note
*Specifications and contents may varies by region.Hi-Res Audio :
•Supports 192kHz/24bit digital USB audio output.
•Supports FLAC, WAVE audio formats in 192kHz/24bit, 96kHz/24bit, 88.2kHz/24bit, 48kHz/24bit, 44.1kHz/24bit.
NFC
Yes
Accessories
Headset
Adapter Type + Plug
Headset
Adapter Type + Plug
Folio Cover