Asus goes ahead full steam with the new Zenfone 3 range

They bring new Snapdragons and top-notch specs, but at a price

The Zenfone 2 might have been fast as greased lightning, but it wasn’t quite the complete package. The Zenfone 3 range is now here, and while you’ll have to wait for a review to see if Asus has finally managed to tick all the boxes, it does seem enticing enough on paper.

We get four new devices in the Zenfone 3 range for now - from the ‘budget’ Zenfone 3 Laser all the way to the ‘whoa, it’s expensive’ Zenfone 3 Deluxe. Asus has also moved away from the chunky, plasticky construction that characterised its previous generation of Zenfones, towards a new, ‘slimmer than a snowball's chance in hell’ design. We approve.

The Zenfone 3 picks up the baton from the Zenfone 2

The Zenfone 3 should be the bread-and-butter model of Asus’s new range. It’s got a metal frame, Gorilla Glass on the front and rear, and a 5.5in Full HD display that has a maximum brightness of 600nits, which should be a relief for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. The ZF3 is also the world’s first phone to be powered by the Snapdragon 625, which gets 4GB RAM to play with.

Other features include a fingerprint sensor (finally!), a PixelMaster 3.0 camera based on the Sony IMX 298 sensor (yes, it has 4K video recording) with Tri-Tech focus (a combination of laser, phase detect and contrast detect), a 3,000mAh battery, 64GB of storage and two SIM slots, one of which is of the hybrid kind with support for microSD cards up to 2TB in size. The price? It’s gonna cost you ₹21,999.

The Zenfone 3 Laser will be the budget model of the range

At ₹18,999, the aluminium-bodied Zenfone 3 Laser might sound more mid-range than budget, but it’s the cheapest model here. This 5.5in, Full HD device uses the Snapdragon 430 processor, but there’s still 4GB of RAM, while the storage gets knocked down to 32GB.

The camera’s based around the ageing Sony IMX214 sensor, but there’s laser focus, a fingerprint sensor, two SIM slots - one is again a hybrid slot with support for microSD cards up to 128GB, and a 3,000mAh battery.


The Zenfone 3 Ultra is more of a tablet

It might be tagged as a phone, but with a 6.8in, full-HD display, the ZF3 Ultra is a proper tablet (unless you’re eight feet tall with huge hands to match). It’s made of metal, has stereo speakers, virtual 7.1-channel surround sound, a fingerprint sensor, dual SIM slots (one hybrid slot), a 23MP camera, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 652 CPU. Luckily, the battery - at 4600mAh - matches the screen size and there’s support for Quick Charge 3.0 as well. Keen on getting this tablet? Fork out ₹49,999 and it’s yours.

Wanna win the spec war? Check out the Zenfone 3 Deluxe

And finally, there’s the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, which should be the flagship of the range. A version with the Snapdragon 821 is also on its way, but for now, you’ll get the Snapdragon 820 starting at ₹49,999.

It’s got a 5.7in, AMOLED display (Full-HD), 6GB of RAM (excuse us while we let that sink in), up to 256GB of storage, dual SIM slots (again, one is of the hybrid variety), USB 3.0 with a Type-C port, a 23MP camera based on Sony’s IMX318 sensor (Asus claims this is the first smartphone to use this particular sensor), Tri-Tech focus and support for high-res audio.