Head-to-Head: ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom vs. Zenfone Zoom

ASUS has officially released their first ever smartphone with twin rear cameras today – the Zenfone 3 Zoom. It’s quite a change from the original Zenfone Zoom, which got its name thanks to the clever optical zoom unit housed inside its body. But how much has the Zenfone 3 Zoom changed from the original? Let’s check it out in the comparison below:

ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor
  • 3GB/4GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch, full HD Super AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB/64GB expandable storage
  • Twin 12-megapixel rear cameras, Sony IMX362 image sensor, f/1.7 aperture, 1x, 2.3x optical zoom, laser AF, PDAF, EIS, OIS, 4K video recording
  • 13-megapixel front camera, Sony IMX214, f/2.0 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Android 6 Marshmallow, ZenUI

ASUS Zenfone Zoom ZX551 specs

  • Intel Atom 2.5GHz Z3590 quad-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Bluelight filter, 1920 x 1080
  • 128GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, Panasonic sensor, HOYA dual-periscope lens system, 3X optical zoom, OIS, laser AF, f/2.7-f/4.8
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Single SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop with ZenUI
  • 3000mAh battery, Boostmaster fast charging

Out with the old, in with the new

The Zenfone 3 Zoom now sports a processor from Qualcomm instead of the Intel. Beating under the hood of the Zenfone 3 Zoom is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2GHz, paired with a number of RAM and storage combinations much like the Zenfone 3 was initially offered with, in an attempt to cater to a majority of markets moving forward.

No more faux leather

Because of the large gap in release dates for both phones (the original Zenfone Zoom was announced back in 2015 during CES) the original Zoom and the latest model look nothing alike. The Taiwanese company has gone through major changes in their desing language for the better since the original was announced, and have ditched the less than premium faux leather for more premium metal.

In truth, the Zenfone 3 Zoom feels much like the Zenfone 3 Laser and Zenfone 3 Max in terms of design, which is definitely better than the original’s faux leather finish.

Seeing double

The biggest change for the two phones is the camera technology. The Zenfone Zoom got its name from its innovative camera module that hid a 3x optical zoom lens. While the resulting image quality wasn’t the best (you can thank the less than ideal Panasonic sensor for that) the phone was able to achieve 3x optical zoom while still retaining a reasonable thickness, unlike its contemporaries.

ASUS’ new Zenfone 3 Zoom still has that native optical zoom tech built in it, though now the Taiwanese company has gone for a more practical, and simpler route to achieve it. Instead of having a complicated zoom mechanism like the original, ASUS has opted to put in two identical cameras with different zoom levels to achieve the desired zoom levels. One camera shoots at 1x and the other shoots at 2.3x. If the setup sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same practical solution that Apple used with their iPhone 7 Plus.

The camera technology in the ZF3 Zoom is way better than the original though. For starters, the f/1.7 aperture of the ZF3 Zoom makes for better low-light performance (in theory) over the one in the original. It’s also capable of producing way better bokeh effects thanks to the lower aperture and the software that’s included in the phone.

The ZF3 Zoom certainly has a lot of potential. We’re hoping that ASUS prices this particular phone aggressively when it launches in the PH.


John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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