The Asus Zenfone 3 is the destination of the company's "pursuit of superior function" combined with love for design and craftsmanship. Lofty goals for sure, but this isn't your typical flagship or mid-range phone.
The Zenfone 3 is a photography buff, it adores music and puts visuals on a pedestal. Really, there are pages of features of the PixelMaster 3.0 that drives the 16MP camera (loaded with OIS and a ton of focus assistants), the SonicMaster 3.0 that pushes 24-bit Hi-Res audio to the dual speakers and DTS sound to headphones, then there's VisualMaster 3.0 that drives the High Gamut screen.
Before we're pulled into three directions at once, let's try to summarize and not miss the potential Achilles heel of the Zenfone 3 - the Snapdragon 625 chipset. We'd love to see it ace the battery test (it's the first 6-series chipset built on a 14nm process), but neither the CPU nor the GPU are as good as the Snapdragon 650, for example.
If you need something more powerful, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe offers Snapdragon 820 (even 821), but this ZE552KL model has to make do with a mid-range chipset. That said, the Snapdragon 625 handles 2160p video capture, it offers a fast LTE modem and comes paired with up to 4GB of RAM too. With that in mind, it feels unfair to knock the chipset.
The camera has a laundry list of features - we alluded to some, but it has rare things like a color correction sensor and a triple autofocus system that can get a lock in as little as 0.03s. The image sensor is built to limit light bleeding and along with the dedicated hardware offers goodies like 4x Super Resolution and long exposures (up to 32s).
The 5.5" Super IPS+ screen boasts a Tru2Life+ processor that borrows tech from 4K TVs. The Zenfone 3 is made for high contrast scenes - both being in them (the screen's 600 nits of brightness promise great visibility) and showing them (intelligent contrast control delivers real-time HDR imagery on screen). The screen is as colorful as it is bright too with 100% NTSC color coverage (30% wider than sRGB).
The Asus Zenfone 3 ZTE552KL has a five magnet speaker hooked up to the smart amp. Overall they promise to be louder without distorting sound and thumping low frequencies too.
The Zenfone 3 has been available in Europe and Asia for quite a while now, but it was very expensive. However, Asus is launching it in the US soon and the base model (3GB/32GB) will cost $250 - a killer price for this screen and camera.
You can see there's plenty of tech under the hood to be excited about, so don't let hangups about the chipset hold you back - the Zenfone 3 promises to be an audio-visual experience of the highest order.