The influx of choices for a smartphone with a decent camera have left many settling with the mainstreams like the iPhone 7 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S8+.
While their cameras are more than capable of taking Insta-wrothy (or billboard-worthy) photos, there comes a tier that attempts to change the game with camera specs and features alluring even those who dwell in the DSLR realm. The ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZenFone Zoom S in other regions) is the latest addition of the tier from Asus, rocking dual rear cameras for the first time that seems to be aiming at serious shooters.
But does the upgraded camera along with its latest features stand out from its competitors? We took it with us to Bali, Indonesia to find out.
3'S A PARTY
The first thing we noticed about the Asus' Zenfone Zoom latest iteration is its upgraded design. Asus has done away with the gaudy camera module at the back and replaced it with more conventional dual camera lenses that look almost identical to the the iPhone 7 Plus design.
The back is also home to the fingerprint scanner that's easily accessible (unlike the oddly placed sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S8) and vibrates when touched. The aluminum alloy body with matte texture on the back gives the phone a sophisticated and premium feel to it while preserving its durability.
On the front is where its 5.5 inch AMOLED display sits, leaving almost no room for bezels on the sides. However, it does have some space for its touch sensitive buttons on the bottom and a 13MP front facing camera at the top.
The display handles full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with colours showing robust saturation. Though its crisp and clear, visibility did falter under the sunny skies of Bali even with its auto-brightness turned on. It's not too bad but it's definitely something to take note of if you plan to use to it for sunny day-time photography.
Thankfully, its cameras more than make up for it.
ASUS' FIRST SHOT
It's a first for Asus for but not the first we have seen. The dual-lens camera on the back combines a 12MP f/1.7 aperture, wide-angle lens with ASUS SuperPixel Technology, along with another 12MP shooter with a 2.3x optical zoom for your beautiful close-ups from farther away.
Though we found the optical zoom rather forgettable, the magic is when both cameras are utilised at the same time. Combined, the cameras deliver stunning portaits with bokehs that can easily be mistaken for a proper DSLR shot.
Sure enough, it's not perfect and you might spot some out of focus portions around your subject of choice, but they are not always noticeable and you can always readjust.
Thanks to its f/1.7 aperture, low-light photography was made possible but with some noticable noise because of its ISO. However, if you are an experienced photographer, its manual mode will make you feel right at home.
Asus allows you to have full control over its shutter speed, ISO and white balance just to name a few for total manual photography goodness.