While it was glimpsed early last year at Asus demo booths at MWC, the Asus Zenfone Zoom camera remained an experience seen under glass and in controlled conditions though even its early generation samples showed great promise. Now, it’s finally seeing the light of day and has hit the shelves with a Malaysian launch.
Unlike previous additions to the ZenFone family, the ZenFone Zoom eschews the rear volume slider in its design and opts for a more conventional layout with the buttons on the sides on account of the fact that half of its backplate is taken up by its rather huge camera array on the back. In terms of design, it strikes a different approach on the usual faux metal polycarbonate finish seen in other ZenFone designs.
Instead, the ZenFone Zoom goes for a lush Italian leather backplate that comes in either black or white along with a matching dangle. An orange version was glimpsed at the launch but odds are it won’t make it to Malaysia. More likely, it will be sold as an optional backplate accessory.
While it’s chunkier and heavier than conventional phones – it’s 185g grams compared to the iPhone 6S weighs 143g , the ZenFone Zoom is still significantly slimmer than previous efforts in cramming a camera with optical zoom into a smartphone.
Crammed into a 12mm thin casing is a 13-MP Panasonic SmartFSI sensor with a 10-element 28-84mm Hoya lens that offers 3x optical zoom as well as optical image stabilisation and an image laser focus that offers 0.03 second focus time. The phone also has a rear dual-LED flash for more natural skin tones when taking snaps. The camera is capable of taking 1080P video and has a Super Resolution mode that stacks four 13-MP snaps together to create a 52-MP still. Rounding things off is their PixelMaster 2.0 tech that enhances low light shots. The front 5-MP selfie camera also integrates PixelMaster tech for taking selfies.
The sides have a very subtly chamfered edge and smoothly finished aluminium. The right side of the phone comes with all the important buttonry: a power button, a volume rocker that doubles as the zoom toggle when the camera is activated along with a dedicated video capture and shutter release button help you to be fast on the trigger rather than having to go through the menus to get a shot. The left side remains unadorned. The overall feel when holding the initial samples was quite positive though those with small hands may have trouble reaching all the buttons one-handed. The ZenFone Zoom’s 5.5-inch LCD display is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and has 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution and 403ppi. It’s not 4K resolution like some other flagship phones but it’s more than sufficient for the job and saves on the battery life.
The rest of the hardware on the ZenFone Zoom consist of a 64-bit Intel Z3590 2.5GHz processor running Android Lollipop, 4GB RAM and 128GB of built-in storage supplemented by a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB cards; an impressive amount of storage indeed. The phone supports a single micro SIM card and the aforementioned dedicated microSD card slot that are accessible by prying open the backplate as opposed to the more popular dual SIM/single SIM and SD card trays seen recently in many devices.
The built-in 3000mAh battery is non-removable though it has fast charging tech to go from dead zero to a healthy 60% in just under 40 minutes. It’s quite a package indeed and we look forward to field testing this under when we get our hands on a test unit.
The ZenFone Zoom will be available for sale by the end of this month in Malaysia for RM2,099. To find out more swing by Asus’ official site.