Is it Worth the Price Tag?
When the ASUS Zenfone 4 launched last August, it was met with a lot of heat due to the Php29,000 price tag. The premium level of the device was mostly hinged on their flagship-caliber dual camera set-up, which even had the “We Love Photo” tagline. Some people felt it was lacking though due to the 5.5-inch Full HD display as opposed to other smartphones in the same price range that brandished 18:9 near bezel-less displays. The question lingered on — was the Zenfone 4 worth the Php29,000 price that it commanded or was it grossly overpriced?
We revisited the ZenFone 4 after using it as a daily driver for a few more weeks and today we have our findings. Read on.
Build: Premium Gorilla Glass Back and Front
ASUS went all out with the build. They literally wrapped almost the entire phone in Gorilla Glass. Even the rear cameras were encased in Gorilla Glass to keep with the look and to prevent it from sticking out like a sore thumb. The combination of glass and aluminum metal for the chassis gave the phone a fantastic look and a solid heft and feel to it. With the exception of the Full HD display, this device definitely was in the caliber of flagships when it came to hardware.
If you want to keep it pristine, you can use the supplied clear case which came with the box.
UI: Constant Updates to keep it smooth
Staying true to being a premium smartphone, ASUS provided the ZenFone 4 with several updates to further improve the phone as a whole. During the time we had the unit, we received around four updates, and we noticed subtle improvements to the ZenFone 4’s overall performance. With those updates, the biggest improvement we noticed is the ZenFone 4’s wide-angle camera.
A standout feature, it was a no-brainer for ASUS to make minor adjustments for the ZenFone 4’s camera UI to take the best quality photos possible, regardless of which camera was used.
Cameras: OIS and EIS work seamlessly together
As a premium photo-centric smartphone, ASUS added all the best tech on the ZenFone 4, and that includes both Optical and Electronic Image Stabilization for its cameras. As they work in tandem, these premium camera features helped the ZenFone 4 capture video with minimal shake. This tech brings the ZenFone 4’s cameras at par with the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8. That being said, it is possible to take stable video footage with the ZenFone 4 without the need for a gimbal. Check out this video we made during ASUS’ Iloilo junket. Do note that all of the footage was shot handheld:
Multimedia: It has secret Audio Powers
ASUS is serious in marketing the ZenFone 4 as a premium mid-range smartphone. Aside from its photo capabilities, ASUS did not scrimp in giving the ZenFone 4 the best possible audio features. Aside from AudioWizard, you get additional goodies like DTS Headphone:X and Hi-Resolution Audio. You rarely find these features on smartphones within its price range, which makes it a strong point with the ZenFone 4’s premium pricing.
In addition to those nice audio features, you can optimize your headphones by selecting the right profile via AudioWizard. The ZenFone 4 has over a thousand headphone profiles from different brands.
Verdict: It’s Underrated But Pricing is a Challenge
Here’s the thing — the ASUS Zenfone 4 is underrated. People don’t get to see how good it really is because they’re immediately turned off by the price. Other flagship devices are just a few thousand pesos more so it’s hard to not consider other options. The hard reality is that the ZenFone 4 faces a tough competition at its current price point.
Our suggestion? ASUS should test the waters for a discount this coming holiday season. If it picks up then they have proof to show that it sells well at a certain price point and then they can make it their permanent price. It won’t hurt to try.
Don’t forget to read on our full review of the ZenFone 4: