As many of you know, we’re only a few short weeks away from seeing ASUS’ signature smartphone series hit the streets in many parts of the world.
As of this month, it’s reportedly already available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Next up are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines in August. A ZenFone 3 launch event is expected to take place in India sometime in September. Shipments could be headed to Europe, Japan, and the United States later in the year.
The standard ASUS ZenFone 3 comes in two variants: one, a 5.2-inch model with 3GB of RAM and a 2,650mAh battery; the other, a 5.5-incher with 4GB of RAM and a 3,000mAh battery. Each variant is identifiable by a unique model number. But regardless of specifications, the outward appearance has been completely redesigned from the ground up — in lieu of a removable plastic back, there’s curved-edge glass on the front and back and a metal frame that holds the assembly in place.
The ZenFone 3 is far less cumbersome and prettier now, arguably more attractive than the bigger and higher-specced and more expensive ZenFone 3 Ultra and Deluxe models. Its design is proof that ASUS, like Xiaomi and OnePlus and so many other Chinese startups, is also capable of building a premium-feeling phone for less.
More importantly, the ZenFone 3 is a more capable phone than before, housing a new octa-core processor from Qualcomm, as opposed to an Intel chip, which has historically been synonymous with poor heat dissipation and inefficient battery use. We quickly noticed the difference and thanked the heavens ASUS went with a different chip maker this year.
Our immediate takeway from the ASUS ZenFone 3 event was that the Taiwanese manufacturer is well aware of the huge expectations from the public that saw a deluge of quality but affordable smartphones over the past year and a half, hence the guns-blazing approach in 2016. After playing around with the ZenFone 3, we’re convinced ASUS has surpassed its previous feats.
But ASUS doesn’t operate in a vacuum; and more so than ever, the market is seeing brands of all sizes making headlines in the affordable phone segment.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 starts at $249. Check out our unboxing video to see a retail unit in action.