We review the ASUS Selfie!
Selfie phones aren’t new. Almost every mobile company worth their salt has their own iteration of the selfie phone, and Taiwanese company ASUS is no different. Introduced back in June during Computex, the Selfie is a derivative of the company’s highly successful Zenfone 2 line, outfitted with a new processor family and two 13-megapixel cameras both in the front and back. Unlike the ASUS Zenfone 2, the Selfie wasn’t designed to be a screamer but instead was made to appeal to a growing market of users who put a premium on self-photos. Is the Selfie only good for, well, selfies, or does it have a few more tricks in its sleeve? Find out in the review below!
Zenfone Selfie specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
- Adreno 405 GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 5.5-inch full HD display with Gorilla Glass 4, 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 32GB storage,expandable via microSD up to 64GB
- 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, dual LED real-tone flash, laser AF
- 13-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture, wide angle lens, dual LED real tone flash
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- Android Lollipop
- 3000mAh battery
A design that doesn’t stray too far from what ASUS is known for
As part of ASUS’ Zenfone family of phones, the overall design of the Selfie isn’t too far off from its siblings. The phone uses the same volume key placement on the back and top, along with the curved plastic removable back cover.
Just like the Zenfone 2, the selfie uses ASUS’ trademark concentric Zen design on the chin of the phone, which is also present on the physical keys on the device. Up front, the phone uses physical, Android capacitive keys for navigation.
The Zenfone Selfie comes in brighter colors and palettes than the Zenfone 2. Our review device was colored teal, and there’s even a pink version for the ladies. The easiest way to spot the Selfie is by looking at its front facing camera.
The large, 13-megapixel front camera dominates the upper part of the phone, and is flanked either side by a dual LED flash unit and the earpiece. The 13-megapixel front camera isn’t your typical front snapper either – for one thing, it sports an 88-degree wide-angle lens that allows you to fit more people in a shot and has a rather large f/2.2 aperture for better light collection even in low-light conditions.
The rear camera of the Selfie isn’t too shabby either – 13-megapixels with ASUS’ PixelMaster technology, along with a laser AF system that’s usually found on more expensive smartphones like the LG G4.
Overall the Selfie isn’t a thin phone, but that’s pretty much par for the course for ASUS’ phones, really. On the upside, the phone’s chunkiness and the curved back allow users to get a positive grip on the device, and the removable rear cover facilitates easy installation of the two SIM cards and the microSD card. Unlike the Zenfone 2, the 3000mAh battery on the Selfie can be removed.
The 5.5-inch full HD display on the Selfie is good though outdoor visibility isn’t the best, even on the brightest setting. Colors are punchy and bright though viewing angles aren’t as great in the Selfie compared to the Zenfone 2.
Just like the Zenfone 2, the Selfie runs Android 5.0 Lollipop along with ASUS’ ZenUI overlay which puts a distinct spin on Android. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, so be sure to take a look at our Zenfone 2 review to see what the ZenUI brings to the table.
Finally, a processor that doesn’t overheat
While ASUS is no stranger to Qualcomm processors – the LTE versions of the their Zenfone 5 and 6 all ran Qualcomm chips – the Selfie is only the second mainstream smartphone of the Taiwanese company to sport silicon other than the ones made by Intel. And unlike Intel’s top-tier Atom processor on the Zenfone 2, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor on the Selfie is a mid-range SoC at best. Does that mean that the Selfie lags behind in terms of performance compared to its older brother?
Not really – the Selfie was unusually smooth and fast during our time with it, and Qualcomm’s mid-range processor is capable of matching the performance of Intel’s Atom SoC on the Selfie’s older brother, at least when it comes to navigation. Animations were fast and fluid, and we never really felt that the Selfie suffered from the mid-range SoC. That’s partly because of the generous 3GB of RAM on the Selfie, and while it can’t hold a candle to the voluminous 4GB of RAM in the Zenfone 2 that’s more than enough for the casual users that ASUS is targeting with the Selfie.
While its AnTuTu score isn’t going to impress people who already have a Zenfone 2, it’s good enough to run games like Marvel Future Fight and Clash of Clans well without any major slowdowns or issues. We also noticed that the Selfie doesn’t suffer from the same thermal issues that plagued early iterations of the 615 processor, partly because of the slower 1.5GHz clockspeed compared to the default 1.7GHz on earlier iterations. People who are wary of Snapdragon 615 shouldn’t worry – the Selfie does get warm, but it doesn’t get obnoxiously hot unlike other phones sporting the same processor.
A selfie camera that pinoys will love
The Selfie wouldn’t be a selfie phone if it failed to deliver on its promise. We’re happy to report that the Selfie makes good on its promise – selfies captured on its 13-megapixel front camera are bright, full of color and detail even under challenging conditions.
And true to form, ASUS even adds a number of shooting modes that’s available on the rear camera to the front facing camera, along with the requisite beauty modes that modify how you look in selfies. Overall we’re really impressed at just how wide the wide-angle lens on the Selfie is, so much so that we wish that the rear camera got the same treatment. Unfortunately, the rear lens isn’t quite as wide, so you’ll have to back up quite a few steps if you’re trying to photograph a group of your friends during get-togethers.
Overall image quality for the rear camera is good but it’s not amazing. There’s plenty of noise in shots taken in low light, though obviously that’s not going to be a problem once you start snapping when the sun is still up, or when you’re in a brightly lit room. The laser AF is a godsend, and subjects were quickly in focus as they came in view. There’s really no way to describe the focusing speed other than ungodly.
Battery that’ll last
One of the biggest gripes of ASUS Zenfone 2 users is the battery. With a power-hungry Atom processor, you’d be lucky if your Zenfone 2 manages to reach the end of the day on a single charge. That’s not going to be a problem with the Selfie. Thanks to the slower, more sedate Snapdragon 615 processor and 3000mAh battery, the Selfie managed to earn a PCMark battery benchmark of 7 hours and 9 minutes. That translates to around a day and a half of moderate use. That’s more than enough to get you through the workday and through happy hour, with enough left in your phone the next day even if you forget to charge it when you crash for the night.
Verdict: a mid-range Zenfone that fixes many of the Zenfone 2’s faults
At the end of the day, the Selfie is a great addition to ASUS’ Zenfone lineup and is a solid alternative to the Zenfone 2. People looking for a device that has a battery that lasts without compromising too much on sheer number crunching power and a powerful front facing camera shouldn’t look further than the Selfie. It’s truly a phone for the Facebook and Instagram generation and manages to hit all the right notes in design, specs, power, and usability. If you’re looking for a mid-range phone that will last you a day or more with decent cameras and processing power, you can’t do any better than the Selfie.
The Selfie is priced at Php 11,995.
Read more Zenfone Selfie coverage here: