Be it the Nokia N8 or Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, we have just not been able to get over our fixation of powerful camera optics in smartphones even after so many years. The launch of the Asus ZenFone Zoom only makes the desire stronger. In fact, the company has done a commendable job by adding a 3x optical zoom to a phone without making it look like a digital camera or making it uncomfortable to hold.
The 5.5-inch, 1,080x1,920p resolution display protected by Gorilla Glass 4 dominates the front. To give it a premium feel, Asus has added leather to the plastic rear panel. A big circular camera module dominates the rear while there is a hump at the bottom that balances the weight of the device. The highlight is the 3x optical zoom, which when zoomed in, does not leave the smartphone frame. And, all of it has been packed in a device that is merely 12 mm thick and weighs 185 gm.
The Zoom packs in a 13 MP sensor with a 10-element lens by Hoya along with a laser auto focus, 3x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation. Asus has also added a dedicated camera key, which locks the focus instantly to capture images. The beauty of the camera app is its ability to detect the surroundings and suggest a mode for getting best results. For better results, it did prompt me to turn on the High Dynamic Range (HDR) or the night mode when needed. Other than the auto mode, Asus has also added manual mode with a host of settings that help in capturing good images. The images captured during bright daylight came out to be good, but you can't always be sure of getting the best shot on auto. Indoor images in well-lit surroundings had very little noise but low-light imaging is not the Zoom's forte. The 3x optical zoom captured blur-free shots and I wished it had more. While the lens never leaves the camera body while zooming in, if examined closely, you can feel the lens mechanism moving. In a way, it prevents the camera module from dust. The Zenfone Zoom captures videos at full HD resolution but 4k video capture is missing.
The Zenfone Zoom is a neat Android hardware that packs in the best from ZenFone 2. The 2.5 GHz Intel Atom quad core processor is paired with 4GB of RAM that offers great performance while streaming 4k videos, playing heavy graphic games or switching between multiple running apps in the background. It comes with 128 GB of internal storage and runs on Android Lollipop OS. The 3,000 mAh battery struggles to last one full day, but the phone's fast charging feature quickly tops up the battery.
BAG IT OR JUNK IT: A good devices but faces competition from the Nexus 6P
PRICE: Rs 37,999
PLUS: Camera, 3x optical zoom, performance
MINUS: Missing 4k video recording