The Asus Zenfone Selfie isn't too quiet about what it tries to be - a smartphone for taking photos of yourself. With 13 megapixels front and back it sure has nailed the numbers game and the dual-tone dual-LED flash makes it a one-of-a-kind offering. OK, second of its kind, but still a rare breed.
Now, name a smartphone Selfie, and you're certain to be putting a lot of weight on that front camera's shoulders. For the most part it does okay and captures decent images, as far as front cams go, but it's just not the ultimate selfie-shooter.
Set the front-facing camera and flash aside and you essentially end up with a 5.5-inch Zenfone 2 ZE551ML, with only a few minor albeit principal differences - easily questioning the Selfie's existence, or its success at least. And even though we appreciate the user-replaceable battery in the Selfie, there's no getting around the fact that the Atom-powered Zenfone 2 (in all its incarnations, really) is a much stronger performer.
So again, the Zenfone Selfie's most obvious competitor comes from within Asus' ranks. The Zenfone 2 ZE55ML, be it the Z3560/2GB model or the Z3580/4GB one, does substantially better in the graphics department and from a mobile gamer's perspective the choice is a no-brainer. Those in the habit of swapping batteries will need to stick with the Selfie, and they'd be getting a few extra hours per charge to begin with.
The HTC Desire Eye is the only other major smartphone with a dual-tone dual-LED front flash and as such can't go unmentioned. The Eye is powered by a top-tier chipset, even if a couple of generations older, so it's more powerful, in graphics tasks especially. Its display is smaller and so are overall dimension, so if you're put off by the Selfie's size, the 5.2-inch Eye might be worth a look.
It also has IPx7 certification for water protection, slightly better battery life and fast charging, but the powerpack is sealed. Perhaps we should have started with the fact that the Desire Eye is up to twice as expensive as the Zenfone Selfie, though.
The Samsung Galaxy J7 is a more recent contender in the selfie-centric niche. It sports an AMOLED display, but its resolution is only 720p - it's not as sharp, but handles onscreen graphics with a bit more ease. Its front camera isn't as good as the one on the Selfie, not on paper and not in practice, and the same can be said about its flash. The J7 has a swappable battery too, and one that lasts longer than the Selfie's in all but voice calls.
No selfie shootout can do without the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra. Another 13MP unit with flash, the Xperia has a single LED on its faceplate. The C5 is the obvious choice for big-screen lovers, offering a 6-inch FullHD display in a reasonably compact package with minimal bezels. The larger diagonal takes its toll on battery life though, and the Selfie lasts longer across the board.
The Xperia C5 Ultra, on the other hand, consistently outperforms the Selfie, despite having a gig less RAM. Depending on where you reside, Sony's selfie-loving phablet can be between a little and a lot more expensive so that may settle it for you before you get to the matter of merits.
The Motorola Moto X Play is one of the most rounded off 5.5-inch devices out now and it does so without breaking the bank. It doesn't have the Selfie's megapixel count on the front, nor the front flash, but does a pretty good job with its 5MP unit. And when it comes to the main camera on the back, the Selfie is not even in the same league. The Moto X Play's battery is a marathon runner more so than the Selfie's, and supports fast charging, but it's not user-replaceable.
In the end, to go for the Zenfone Selfie means you must really insist on having the highest-spec'd front camera setup on a budget that the market offers. And there's nothing wrong with that - after all, Asus design this phone with a specific audience in mind. If you however don't fall in that specific group, there are not a whole lot of reasons to recommend the Zenfone Selfie over the competition.