Asus Zenfone Zoom belongs to a category of smartphones that have been a hit for long. Cameras in smartphones were our toy before, we went for apps and fancy tricks like fingerprint scanners. Now it is just an essential part of our phones. But, we need more features. So is adding a zoom lens inside a phone’s camera a good idea?
Will Asus pull out a rabbit out of the bag with the Zenfone Zoom? Do you really need a Zoom lens inside your smartphone’s camera? Will it work like it does on a DSLR? Let’s find out.
Asus Zenfone Zoom specs:
- 5.5-inch display
- 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
- 2.5-GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 processor
- 4 GB RAM
- 128 GB internal memory
- 13-megapixel rear camera
- 5-megapixel front cam
- Android 5.0 – Lollipop OS
- 3000 mAh battery
Asus Zenfone Zoom: Tidbits
For starters, despite its Rs. 37,999 price tag, the Asus Zenfone Zoom has similar features to the Zenfone 2 series phones – 4 GB RAM and a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 chipset. It also runs Android Marshmallow build, which is getting regular updates. A 3000 mAh battery inside the Asus Zenfone Zoom lends it the juice to run the whole day.
The USP of this phone, then, is its Zoom camera – a 13-megapixel rear cam with a built-in 3X optical zoom lens. From the looks of it, the Asus Zenfone Zoom looks like the Nokia Lumia 1020 from the back. It is a far cry from the 1020’s 42-megapixel rear cam. Yet, it is still better executed than the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom.
Another feature is its leather back which definitely feels premium. The one feature that appealed to us more than anything else was the Video recording button. This is a feature that we could have on more smartphones.
The Zoom Lens
The Asus Zenfone Zoom stands out as the only camera out there with a built-in zoom lens. Fitting a moving zoom lens inside a smartphone is not an easy job. Typically image zoom on a smartphone works differently. The camera focusses on a single point and takes out everything else. Not only that if you zoom in, the image will be croppy. What you expect with a Zoom lens is that it zooms in on the subject without losing clarity and even takes shots from afar.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom’s lens lets you zoom in, up to 3X without losing image clarity.
The camera app works well too – Apart from pinch to zoom, you can also zoom with volume buttons. Although the lens works well, it is the sensor behind the lens that lets it down. The sensor misses the bus and the shots you get are clear, but the colors could have been much better. This lack of color saturation lets down the rest of the camera setup. The low-light performance of this camera could have been better.
Yet, there are aspects of the camera that are great – the autofocus is pretty fast.
You can also customize your shot like you do on a DSLR, in the manual mode. Apart from the regular ISO, Aperture and Autofocus controls, you can also work the sharpness and contrast.
The video mode works in the same way. It also records 4K. But, the Zoom works only well at 1080p and stabilization at 720p.
My two cents on the camera are that it works well, but there are better ones coming up in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom is definitely a premium smartphone in terms of looks.
The chrome lining on this phone, the leather feel back, the camera lens and the display make this phone look good. Yet, they could have added smart buttons instead of hard ones at the bottom.
The display looks good, works and responds well.
The playback on the speakers is good and the connectivity also works well. The processor is powerful and the 4 GB RAM complements it to take on gaming without heating up.
The software is the same as the other Asus phones. Despite its price tag, the Asus Zenfone Zoom comes with Android Lollipop out of the box. Yet, build that we experienced was definitely smoother than on previous phones. Asus has kept the channels open to feedback and is constantly working on improving the software.
Apart from that, everything is mostly same as the other Zenfones.
If you are looking for a Zoom lens in a smartphone, then this is definitely a good pick. In fact, the Asus Zenfone Zoom is a pretty stylish phone to flaunt around. But, if you are in it only for the camera, then you can consider many other phones which come around the same price.