ASUS today unveiled pricing details for the ZenFone 3 and its multiple variants in the Philippines. And man, are they expensive compared to a year ago.

To put into context how the current price compares to the previous generation, recall that the ZenFone 2 came in at P14,995, or $320, for the version with as much RAM and storage as the new ZenFone.

The ZenFone 3 runs P16,995 ($365) for the 5.2-inch variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, P18,995 ($410) for the 5.5-incher with identical specs.

What happened to ASUS’ mantra of “empowering luxury”? Clearly it was abandoned like the batch of Intel chips ASUS refused to fit into all ZenFone 3 models, which are now powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.


ASUS upped the ZenFone 3’s specs; unfortunately, it also upped the price

To be fair, that decision, along with many others, paid off; in our review, we said the ZenFone 3 is “an across-the-board improvement over what came before.” We also suggested that anyone interested in the ASUS sequel should probably wait for a better deal, like a discounted OnePlus 3.

And we still stand by that comment — even more so now.

The more expensive ZenFone 3 Ultra and ZenFone 3 Deluxe, which cost P32,995 ($700) and P34,995 ($750), respectively, are even harder to recommend without reservation, especially because they betray the very qualities the ZenFone brand is founded on.

The P44,995 ($965) ZenFone 3 Deluxe with a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and a ridiculous 256GB of flash memory is disagreeable; a phone that lacks waterproofing, a 2K display covered by shatterproof glass, and other nice extras found on today’s flagship offerings shouldn’t command that much money.

By contrast, the $400 OnePlus 3 has a metal body, a fingerprint sensor, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Xiaomi’s Galaxy S7 look-alike, the Mi 5, retails for the same amount but comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a company putting a premium price on anything. But in ASUS’ case, the company didn’t start out with products that make Samsung and Apple’s signature phones look like bargains. A couple of years ago, ASUS was on the other end of the spectrum; it was a disruptor.

Thankfully, the ZenFone 3 Laser and ZenFone 3 Max remain affordable to the average consumer; the Laser is tagged at P11,995 ($260), whereas the Max costs P8,995 ($190).

It’s too early to tell whether the ZenFone 3 will be as popular as its predecessors. But if ASUS fails to hit the 25 million shipment target it set for itself in 2016 — 5 million more units than last year — we know what is to blame.

ASUS ZenFone AR hands-on

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  • Kelot August 16, 2016  

    It’s not expensive, it’s OVERPRICED! Even their Asus Zenfone 3 Laser is too much for a Snapdragon 430, since online stores made Xiaomi Redmi 3S and 3X available for purchase which cost like a little few hundreds to 8K, same SOC bigger batt at 4000mAh smaller and less denser IPS panel and at 3gb ram, even Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro and Mi Max are still better value for money. They say that the Zenfone 3 targets other companies midrange offering. Vivo’s V3 Max can easily outsell what ASUS is offering. Their flagship offering as well is a big thumbs down. Ive read somewhere that there are lotsa hate on ASUS right now, its not really hate, lets just say that people who have waited patiently just for the release of their products are sooo disappointed at the prices across the board, its not the fault of the consumers, it was ASUS who posted the pricing from the beginning, and if there would be adjustments on the prices, consumers dont expect those at skyrocket pricing +50% especially on the Deluxe and Ultra.

  • James August 17, 2016  

    I totally agree. Zenfone 3 is way overpriced! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an Asus hater but actually an asus fan. I’m endorsing this brand to my friends but for now i’m having second thoughts.

  • Frederick A Ternida October 5, 2016  

    Zenfone 3 is way too expensive as a base model you can buy FLAGSHIP PHONE LIKE ONEPLUS 3 (WITH QUALCOMM 820 processor) in liue of it’s 5.5 incher model