What can you do with the ASUS Zenfone 3 in 2018?

What is a mid-range 2016 smartphone doing in a 2018 blog? That's insane! Yes, we are. And yes, this model is actually aging. But the ASUS Zenfone 3 still packs a punch and is economically a good purchase for a…
The Holidays are over and we survived the (financial) storm. But the gift-giving season is not yet over as we received a very special package from our friends at Widget City. Meet the 2016 smartphone – ASUS Zenfone 3!

flatlay zenfone 3

As usual, we’ll break this down into chapters for consistency purposes. Girls love ’em some consistency diba?

I. Introduction
II. The Unboxing Experience
III. Spec Sheet
IV. Hands-On
V. Intended Purpose
VI. Conclusion

Our No-nonsense INTRODUCTION

flatlay 2 zenfone 3

What is a mid-range 2016 smartphone doing in a 2018 blog? That’s insane! Yes, we are. And yes, this model is actually aging. But the ASUS Zenfone 3 still packs a punch and is economically a good purchase for a great number of reasons – reasons that we will try to enumerate later. Read on!

The Mandatory UNBOXING

From the get-go, the Zenfone 3 from ASUS feels a lot like the flagship of yesterday. And it’s a good thing. Premium build quality, a welcome change of glossy white and

The glossy white body is adorned with metal corners reminiscent of an iPhone 6S. But unlike the iPhone 6S, it’s fingerprint sensor is at the back as it’s front chin still sports the optical menu buttons – To which, I cannot fathom. The Power Button is on the right side and the Home Button on the chin, both are accessible with my thumb, however, the Fingerprint sensor needs an additional finger. I would’ve appreciated that the Home Button doubles as Fingerprint Sensor. Or that the Fingerprint Sensor would double as the Power Button.

But despite the extra finger action, with the size and dimension of this unit remain very convenient, especially with all the flagships following the philosophy to be bigger and better.

THE SPEC SHEET

NETWORK Technology: GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH : July 2016
BODY : Dimensions 146.9 x 74 x 7.7 mm (5.78 x 2.91 x 0.30 in)
Weight 144 g (5.08 oz)
SIM : Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM/ Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
DISPLAY Type Super IPS+ capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size : 5.2 inches, 74.5 cm2 (~68.6% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~424 ppi density)
PLATFORM : Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), upgradable to 7.0 (Nougat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625
CPU : Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU : Adreno 506
MEMORY : microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Internal : 64 GB, 4 GB RAM / 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
CAMERA : Primary 16 MP, f/2.0,
phase detection & laser autofocus, 4-axis OIS,
dual-LED dual-tone flash
Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps
Secondary 8 MP, f/2.0, 1080p
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
– 24-bit/192kHz audio
COMMS : WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: 4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
GPS : Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Radio : FM radio, RDS
USB : 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
FEATURES: Sensors Fingerprint (rear-mounted)
BATTERY : Non-removable Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery
MISC : Colors = Sapphire Black, Moonlight White, Shimmer Gold

Source: GSMArena

Intended USE

Gaming

So, I have huge hands (therefore huge fingers) and I am no longer used to typing on a small screen (5.2 is now considered small in my vocabulary), hence the first thing that came to mind when I got a hold of this small form-factor is to game on it.

With the help of my trusty Ipega Controller 9026, I was able to try out graphic-intensive games that I love.

First, I tried out my all-time favorite PC game, Max Payne. The mobile version is very identical to its predecessor. The game aged well, the story is still riveting and the gameplay is still topnotch.  Anybody still familiar with The Matrix? This game is the grand-daddy of Bullet Time!

The ASUS Zenfone 3 did not disappoint! There were no stutters nor lags in playing this game. Yes, it is offline, but the pixel-demand is still heavy on this one considering this is a 1GB game and me being able to play seamlessly is a great experience. Nostalgia!

So, to test a multiplayer/online game, I tried out Beach Buggy Racing. Despite the cartoonish design, this game remains one of the most graphic intensive online games to date. Oh, and before you hit that play button, need I remind you I suck at racing games? I mean, this is only for testing purposes. Get it? Try not to laugh too loud at this one.

Both games played well. It’s not a surprise as the ASUS Zenfone 3 is still no slouch under the hood. Pair it with a Bluetooth controller like my Ipega and you have a retro gaming rig that don’t cost a lot.

As a Music Player

zenfone 3 spotify

We’ve mentioned the small form-factor here quite a few times already. And with such, the other use I can think of is to use this 2016 Zenfone as a dedicated music player.

zenfone with Marshall Major 2

Slap a high impedance headphone or earphone, install Spotify (do Premium if you can) and download your songs in High Quality and you have yourself your music rig. You can maximize the 32GB or 64GB storage space (depending on the model you’ll purchase).

headphones

I have a variety of headphones and I tried it all on the Zenfone 3. All of which worked perfectly with the ASUS phone.

Secondary Phone

If we have the means, it is really convenient to have a backup phone at our disposal. When we drain our very expensive Samsung Note 8 or our iPhone X (hey, I can dream, can’t I?), we have a dependable fallback within reach. And this fallback doesn’t necessarily have to be a weakling. It just has to be economically friendly. 😀

A backup phone is not a compromise. It is an extension. It should be powerful enough to accomplish half of the things we can do on our daily driver.  The ASUS Zenfone 3 managed to do just that. It allowed me to be connected. To be within reach. To be productive, despite having my primary phone locked away in some faraway wall socket.

CONCLUSION

By no means is the ASUS Zenfone 3 a poor investment in 2018. You just have to be creative and you should know how to maximize your smartphone.  I do. And it made my time with the ASUS Zenfone 3 such a treat.

To grab a hold of this baby, head over to Widget City or click on the image below.

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[John Edward Fajarda], [CIV191], Rule of thirds, [MQ2]

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