Claimed to be a pocket-sized DSLR, the Zenfone Zoom packs one too many lenses along with a raft of features. We fiddle around with it to see if it’s really worth the dough.
Asus is one of the few electronics giants who does not shy away from experimenting with new technologies. And the Taiwan-based manufacturer’s new smartphone, the Zenfone Zoom, is perhaps a testament to that fact. Billed as a pocket sized DSLR, the Zenfone Zoom is claimed to be the world’s first smartphone offering 3X optical zoom backed by 10-element Hoya lenses. Now, on a glossy sheet of paper, the Zenfone Zoom promises a lot, but then it costs as much too – it’s priced at a whopping Rs.37,999! Well, we’ve have been playing around with this device for a few weeks now, so, let’s find out if it’s any good.
First up, let’s take a quick run through all the highlights of the Zenfone Zoom. For starters, it has a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3590 quad-core processor that is clocked at 2.3GHz with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM – specs that can even put some mighty laptops to shame! Then, there’s its outer appearance. With a 5.5-inch full HD screen, diamond cut edges and an aluminium unibody frame, the Zenfone Zoom looks the part.
The rear cover is finished in leather, although you don’t tend to notice it unless being told. The back cover has a huge disk shaped structure at the centre, inside which all the aforementioned Hoya lenses are housed. Since this section has a silky smooth finish, the phone tends to slip off your fingertips often, causing a bit of an annoyance as well as worry. Also, the capacitive navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen are non-backlit, which in my view is a glaring omission considering the price-tag of the phone.
The 3,000mAh battery is non-removable. Other accessories that you will find while unboxing the phone include a super-fast charging adapter, a data cable, a leather strap and an in-ear headset that offers decent sound quality and keeps you isolated from outside noise.
Now coming to the performance of the phone. Since everything about the Zenfone Zoom – including its name – revolves around its camera, let’s discuss that first. The Zenfone Zoom boasts a 13-megapixel primary and a 5-megapixel front camera. Thanks to aids like laser autofocus and Optical Image Stabilisation, the phone captures some breath taking shots without the user having to make any efforts at all. The Asus camera app is intuitive, allowing you to easily shuffle between different settings and modes. That being said, the pictures, while being of exceptionally good quality, still leave you wanting for more. Given its extraordinary hardware, we were perhaps expecting it to offer something sensational – something that’d make us go instantly wow!
On all the other aspects, the Asus Zenfone Zoom shines through. The screen display is scintillating and the touch-interface works like a breeze. Despite running a trillion apps all at the same time in the background, the Zenfone Zoom simply refuses to skip a beat – no lag or delayed responses. It does have rather capable hardware, it has to be said. But our only grouse is its price-tag, which is definitely on a much, much higher side.