Three full months since the Zenfone 3 lineup was announced, the smartphones are only gradually making their way to users' hands. And not all of them, mind you, it's Asian markets getting the vanilla Zenfone 3 first, with the rest of the world and and the rest of the models to follow. This right now is the first time we ourselves are getting a close look at the handsets too, starting with the Zenfone 3 ZE552KL.
And not a great first impression, it must be said, as the Zenfone 3 is a fingerprint nightmare. The back takes on grease with ease, and is a pain to keep clean. When you do wipe the smudges away though, the concentric circles effect resembling that of the Zenbooks looks truly impressive.
Smudges aside, the Zenfone e ZE552KL has its controls logically laid out with the power button within easy reach on the right, the volume rocker above it. The 3.5mm jack is on top, while the Type-C port (only USB 2.0 spec though) is on the bottom, as is the loudspeaker.
You're a lot more likely to fancy the Deluxe version, for a number of reasons. The slightly larger display doesn't make that big of a difference, but the hardware is vastly superior and so is the finish.
The metal unibody is nowhere nearly as friendly to fingerprints (keeps them away, actually) and looks as great as it feels in the hand. The phone doesn't feel as heavy as you'd think and the surfaces are nice and grippy.
The circular pattern is still present here, only this time just on the front around the display. And the AMOLED display itself is beautiful too. We only wish the bezels would have been smaller.
The controls follow the same principle as the previous model with the power button and volume rocker on the same side. The top houses the 3.5mm jack, and the Type-C connector on the bottom does adhere to USB 3.0 standards.
Don't miss the rest of the Zenfone 3 models on the next page, including the giant phablet-pushing-on-tablet 6.8-inch Ultra.