Besides the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Ultra, and ZenFone 3 Deluxe, there’s another ASUS smartphone you should watch for in 2016: the ZenFone 3 Laser.
But unlike the other ZenFone 3 models launched in May, the newly unveiled Laser feels less like a luxury phone and more like a step above most phones in the budget category. It’s certainly an upgrade over its predecessor, last year’s ZenFone 2 Laser, not just in looks—the 2016 version is easier to hold and use, and is encased in a metal unibody construction—but also in performance.
Despite the changes, the ZenFone 3 Laser retains its identity as an affordable smartphone that takes photography seriously. And speaking of which, the Laser’s 13-megapixel main camera takes brighter and more natural-looking shots even in low light. You can even slip into manual mode for more versatility between shots.
We’ll hold off on comments about image quality until we get a retail unit (the one you’re looking at is an engineering sample).
As for the rest of the key specs, the ZenFone 3 Laser pairs a 5.5-inch, 1080p display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 system-on-a-chip backed by 4GB of RAM. It also ships with a non-removable 3,000mAh battery and the latest version of ASUS’ custom interface on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. From what we’ve seen so far, the software is cleaner and less intimidating to use this time around.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser is slated for an August release at the earliest, and will run between $250 and $270. For more about the device, watch our hands-on video.
[irp posts=”9639″ name=”ASUS ZenFone AR hands-on”]
Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra Hands-On
Samsung has finally Unpacked the newest Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra in San Francisco.
This is actually Samsung’s first in-person event during the pandemic.
With all the design and hardware improvements, do you actually need to upgrade?
Watch our Samsung Galaxy S23 Series Hands-on video to help yourself decide.
SHOP S23 Ultra
SHOP S23 & S23+
DISCLOSURE: GadgetMatch earns a commission from qualifying purchases from any of these links.
HONOR X9a 5G Hands-On: Tough and capable
Strong 2023 start for HONOR?
HONOR is determined to make some serious noise in the smartphone space in 2023. In the Philippines, they’re looking to start strong with the release of the HONOR X9a 5G.
If you follow any tech publications and some influencers and endorsers online, you likely saw the drop test videos the company had literally everyone do. That includes GadgetMatch.
For what it’s worth, the thing is really tough. During our quick shoot, we dropped it around 3 times on concrete. No major damages suffered. The 0.65mm ‘Deeply Reinforced Glass’ on the display is, for the most part, not just a gimmick. Still, don’t go dropping the phone carelessly if you do decide to get it.
We’re already talking about the display anyway, so let’s dig into it a little more.
Pleasant to the eyes
The HONOR X9a 5G sports a 6.67-inch OLED Curved Display. It has a 394 pixels per inch count with a 2400 x 1900 resolution and 800 nits of peak brightness. Marketing materials also tout its 1.07 billion colors and TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification.
For the most part, the phone is everything it says it is on paper. The curved display affects more how the phone feels on-hand than it does for your eyes. It makes the phone’s profile feel slimmer than it actually is. And it’s not too curved to the point that it distracts from whatever you’re watching.
Colors also look great. We can confidently say that you’ll have a good time watching videos on the HONOR X9a 5G. Whether that’s one of our YouTube videos, mindlessly scrolling on TikTok, or catching up on your favorite series.
It also delivers a buttery-smooth feel, it has a 120Hz refresh rate and a 300Hz touch sampling rate.
Going over to how the rest of the phone looks, it gives off a Magic-ish, Mate-ish vibe. The circular camera module on the back plays a huge part in that. We’ll get to the camera details later on. For now, let’s focus on the look.
One glance and you could mistake it as an HONOR Magic or even a HUAWEI Mate phone. After all, they share a similar design language.
All the buttons (power and volume) are on the right.
And at the bottom, you’ll find the SIM Card tray, USB-C port, and speaker-grille. Pretty standard stuff.
Globally, the phone comes in three colors: Titanium Silver, Emerald Green and Midnight Black. In the Philippines, it appears only the first two colors will be available at launch.
Overall, it’s your standard slab with a signature look. That camera module is certainly doing a lot to separate it from the pack.
Now onto the cameras. Here they are by the numbers:
- Main (Wide): 64MP, f/1.8, PDAF
- Ultrawide: 5MP, f/2.2,
- Macro: 2MP, f/2.4, (macro)
- Front (wide): 16MP, f/2.5
And since video taking seems to be all the rage these days, you might be pleased to know that both the front and back cameras can take 1080P at 30fps footage.
Again, these are pretty standard numbers for midrangers. The same is true for the actual output. There’s nothing here that’s mind blowing. But for posting on socials and just capturing stuff on the daily, it’s more than serviceable.
Take a look at these samples:
The HONOR X9a 5G is powered by the Qualcomm SM6375 Snapdragon 695 5G processor. In the Philippines, it comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It also has a massive 5,100mAh battery. Software-wise, it’s running Magic UI 6.1 based on Android 12.
In practice, all these components come together to deliver a steady performer of a smartphone. The HONOR X9a 5G is reliable in all the ways that matter. The processor, while not new by 2023 standard, still does what you expect it to do. That is to keep the stuff you need running in the background as needed.
It also has a decent power efficiency, which, paired with the massive battery, delivers an overall battery life that won’t have you running to the nearest power outlet as the day winds down.
We didn’t do much gaming on the phone, but given that it’s the same processor that was equipped on mobile gaming-inclined phones in the past, we’re confident it can steadily run plenty of the most-played games on mobile.
Solid start for HONOR
The HONOR X9a 5G is a tough, capable smartphone that’s easy on the eyes. It’s the quintessential midrange smartphone. Everything we’ve come to expect from midrangers is present on this phone while also being extra tough and lasting extra long.
With this being HONOR’s first offering in 2023 in the Philippines, the company is off to a solid start.
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HP’s new laptop is stylish yet powerful
The HP Envy Laptop 16 is designed on the Intel EVO platform, which deliver superior performance when you need it most.
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