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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Table of Comparison
We leave you with a comparison table between the three ZenFone 3 variants.