When the phablet came into life, a lot of eyebrows were raised and yet, a few years later, we have devices verging on 7 inches, that still want to pass as a phone. Well, the Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra is just a fraction of an inch short of that, and it is big, there's no denying that.
For all its sheer size though, its weight is perfectly manageable, a feeling reinforced by its thinness, a mere 6.8mm. Handling benefits from the grippy surfaces and the back doesn't hold too many fingerprints either.
The Ultra sports an entirely different control layout, one simply warranted by its dimensions. There is a proper physical Home button, which holds a fingerprint sensor. The volume rocker is on the back, where it was on the previous-gen Zenfones, and where the bulk of this year's models have their fingerprint readers.
The display is so big that even the FullHD resolution is far from ideal at that diagonal. It's still reasonably sharp, though we wouldn't stretch 1080p any further. We're no fans of the black frame that surrounds it either.
Moving down the ranks, we find the Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL. Positioned below the vanilla Zenfone 3, this midranger does get a FullHD display nonetheless.
Not only that, but it's arguably better looking than the base model, as its satin finished back wards off fingerprints a lot more successfully.
The control layout is identical to the Zenfone 3 - power button and volume rocker on the right side. This model doesn't get a Type-C connector at all, it's the good old microUSB 2.0 at the bottom (you cant see it, but trust us).
The Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL is the budget model of the lineup, with its priorities set towards longevity. That said, last year's Max had a 5,000mAh battery vs. 4,130mAh for the new model, but there's a lot more to battery life that just cell capacity, so we won't judge just yet.
The 5.2-inch display has 720p resolution, so pixel density is below 300ppi, but still acceptable at 282ppi. The black frame surrounding it is more objectionable though, you may want to stick to dark backgrounds to mask it. You won't be surprised by control placement, just don't look for the laser autofocus window - there isn't one.