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ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro review: The ultimate selfie phone

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ASUS recently released a slew of ZenFones and for someone like me who gets lost in the sea of specs, I naturally gravitated towards the ones they named after selfies.

Out of six ZenFone 4 models, it was the Selfie Pro I got excited over most — a midrange phone with top-notch selfie capabilities is definitely something I wanted to test drive.

Girl taking a selfie with the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

Look and feel

The ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro looks like your typical smartphone, nothing revolutionary in terms of design. The review unit I got to test out came in red; look at how pretty it is:

Red ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro back

The ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro feels premium enough and it features a 5.5-inch AMOLED display.

Red ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

Although I appreciate this — a bigger screen that’s better to check my selfies with — the phone’s size isn’t as friendly to my teeny hands. My thumbs still struggle to reach certain buttons on the phone’s front, and it’s not the easiest to grip for one-handed selfies.

Red ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro close up of camerasSpeaking of buttons, the Selfie Pro has a capacitive home button with a built-in fingerprint sensor, plus the back and multitasking buttons.Red ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro butons

The phone’s bottom houses a micro-USB port, an audio jack, and speakers.

Red ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro bottom ports

Now, on to the star of this ZenFone 4 show.

Taking photos

The dual-cam front-facing cameras are the highlights of this selfie machine. Unlike other smartphones which only have either a bokeh mode or wide-angled photos, the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro allows for both. This is a selfie game-changer, ladies and gents!

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro photo sample

Beauty mode plus bokeh

ASUS’ built-in camera app gives countless beauty mode options: changing your skin tone, softening or brightening your skin, enhancing your eyes, or even thinning your cheeks — you’re allowed varying levels of filter possibilities.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro photo sample #wefie

Wide-angled selfie with friends!

ASUS offers the capability to take 24-megapixel photos with their DuoPixel technology. This may seem like a big deal, but unless you plan to blow up your photographs to epic proportions, there really is no noticeable difference between the default 12-megapixel photos and the 24-megapixel DuoPixel shots. 

Also, DuoPixel doesn’t activate on wide-angle and beauty mode — which are the modes that count. But despite that, it’s good to know I’ll always be billboard-capable.

Here are more photo samples (because you can never take too many selfies!):

This phone’s 16-megapixel rear camera is a capable shooter. I had no issues with photo quality under great shooting conditions; however, low-light scenarios were a different story.

Additionally, this new ZenFone line comes with a pre-installed Selfie Master app which allows users to shoot video or go live on social media, all with a beauty filter.

Shooting video

My Instagram Story game totally went up a notch because of the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro. The second wide-angle selfie camera didn’t only mean wider selfies, it also meant wide-angle videos! This is an especially great thing for people who like vlogging with smartphones– no need for selfie sticks to get a wider shot.

Both front and rear cameras are equipped with electronic image stabilization (EIS), which means the phone stabilizes your shaky footage automatically — a definite must for those who, like me, walk, talk, and shoot at the same time. 4K video recording is also available on both cams.

Other things that matter

The Selfie Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor. For a medium to heavy social media user, such as myself, this ZenFone was powerful enough to run my daily social media fix (which includes, but is not limited to, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat).

Red ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

It runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat and has 4GB of memory and 64GB storage. This ZenFone series also boasts of a cleaner ZenUI and less bloatware. The 3000mAh battery capacity means a whole day’s worth of uninterrupted selfies.

ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro vs ZenFone 4 Selfie

The ZenFone 4 Selfie is the budget alternative to the Selfie Pro. The question is: What does a US$ 100 price difference mean?

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie left; ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro right

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie left; ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro right

The ZenFone 4 Selfie is fitted with a Snapdragon 430, a more entry-level processor, and the same amount of RAM and storage. That being said, the Selfie Pro is more efficient than the Selfie, with apps launching noticeably faster and lasting slightly longer before needing to be refreshed.

As opposed to the Selfie Pro’s 24-megapixel DuoPixel photos, the Selfie is equipped with a 20-megapixel main selfie shooter. But, does this really make a difference?

The answer is yes. Compared to photos from the ZenFone 4 Selfie, the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro’s photos are brighter and richer. The Pro gives you that extra glow, which is what’s most important when taking ultimate selfies.

Both phones have 16-megapixel rear shooters.

The photos above were shot in the worst lighting conditions, but the Selfie Pro won out in the end. Despite taking multiple shots and focusing on the same area in the photo (the frame in the middle), the two phones took very different photographs. Zooming in would show that the Selfie Pro’s photo has more detail as opposed to the Selfie counterpart.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re not someone who utilizes the front-facing camera, you’d find nothing special with this phone.

Girl using the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

For the Selfie lovers, however, it’s a different story. Choice matters, and this smartphone gives you a lot of them for your photo needs. The slew of options are boundless — wide-angled selfies, bokeh selfies, beauty mode selfies, wide-angled selfie videos — meaning this ZenFone has it all. For it’s midrange price tag, that’s looking like a very good deal.

This ZenFone 4 wasn’t named Selfie Pro for nothing.

It retails at US$ 379 in the US and PhP 18,995 in the Philippines.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie hands-on and camera review

Laptops

Google lead designer reveals prototypes of Pixel 2, Home Mini, Pixelbook

A touch of human

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It’s not too often that we get a behind-the-scenes look at the drawing boards of premium hardware products, but when we do, it’s magical.

Ivy Ross, who’s the lead designer of Google’s latest devices, revealed the ideas and executions she and her team put into making their gadgets.

Published on The She Word (a series featuring the women of Google on the company’s blog), Ross discussed a variety of topics ranging from her early beginnings as a young designer to the aesthetics of Pixel and Home devices.

When asked what the most important design principle of Google’s hardware is, she had this to say:

Human. By that I mean friendly, emotionally appealing, and easy to fit into your life and your home.

She goes on to explain that three-dimensional and tactile aesthetics are important after spending so much time in front of flat screens. That’s why her design team puts so much emphasis on fabric materials.

Through images, the blog post also showed off the progress from multiple prototypes to finished product for Google’s most important items:

The visual progression of the Pixel 2 XL’s design is arguably the most interesting. You can see how the flagship phone went from a squarish panda to a more rounded one.

Ross became the head of design for Google’s hardware team in mid-2016, and has since made her mark as the company’s most human designer to date.

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CES 2018

LG’s InstaView ThinQ is one smart fridge

This is the future

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The future of smart appliances is upon us.

LG has not only dared to venture into connected kitchen technology, they’ve taken it a step further with their newest smart appliances. We got to see all this at CES.

The InstaView ThinQ is the fridge of the future. It’s equipped with the smart voice assistant Alexa which means you will be able to talk to it — the better to figure out what you want to eat! Not only that, it will suggest recipes depending on what food items you have stored. The best part is that it can be connected to your phone and all your other smart appliances for a seamless everyday home experience.

SEE ALSO: LG builds a smart kitchen that ‘talks’ to you and your home

SEE ALSO: Lessons from household appliances

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Accessories

Cauldryn Fyre V2 is a smart mug you’ll want to own

This smart mug will make mornings easy

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Imagine a world where your coffee will brew itself upon your command. Well, folks, that world is real.

Of all the cool things we saw at CES 2018, it was this device that totally made our Vegas mornings.

The Cauldryn Fyre V2 is not your ordinary mug. This 16 ounce, stainless steel beauty keeps your beverage hot in a vacuum insulated bottle. The mug itself allows you to maintain a certain temperature all day so your coffee stays hot and your juice cold.

It also has Google Assistant! Now all you need to do is tell your mug to brew coffee and it will.

It’s fully modular — attachable accessories allow you to do so many things. You can choose to attach a blender and grind your own coffee beans; there’s a percolator accessory, a Bluetooth speaker base, and even a lantern with a bug zapper for outdoor adventures with your Cauldryn.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but true innovation happens when you can talk your water bottle into making you coffee.

MORE ON CES 2018: GadgetMatch LIVE coverage

SEE ALSO: 6 must-have products for your smart home

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