TAIPEI, Taiwan – ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih led the unveiling, presenting the improvements and innovations that the company has made to Zen product line, which consists of the ZenBook, ZenFone, and the Zenbo.
The ZenFone 3 series bears tremendous pressure due to the success of its predecessor, the ZenFone 2.
As the Z3N moniker suggests, there are three models available: The ZenFone 3 Deluxe, the ZenFone 3, and the ZenFone 3 Ultra.
ZenFone 3 Deluxe: monster flagship
Leading the series is flagship ZenFone Deluxe, which packs a 5.7 inch full HD super AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass 4.
It is driven by the Snapdragon S820 SoC, up to 6GB RAM, a 23MP rear camera, and an 8MP Sony IMX318 front camera. It is powered by a 3000 mAh battery.
To further establish the premium feel, the Deluxe is encased in a beautiful, all-metal unibody chassis.
Standard retail price of the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is $499 for the 64 GB / 6GB model. It is available in gray, silver, and gold.
The ZenFone 3 debuts with a 5.5-inch Super IPS+ Gorilla glass-protected screen. Though the housing is made of plastic, the back cover is also protected by Gorilla Glass, results in a crystal-like look and feel.
It is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, Adreno 506 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. Just like its bigger brother the battery is a solid 3000 mAh.
For its camera, it is equipped with a 16MP rear / 8MP front snapper driven by the Sony IMX298 sensor.
The ZenFone 3 retails at for $249 and is available in black, blue, white, and gold.
ZenFone 3 Ultra
Finally we have the Ultra, a phablet that is in most respects similar to the ZenFone 3 Deluxe with a few changes, most notably the screen size, which comes in at 6.8 inches.
Just like its flagship brother, the full HD display is protected by Gorilla Glass 4 although it uses an IPS panel as opposed to super AMOLED.
Aimed at multimedia-heavy users (read: movies and television series), the Ultra comes with a DTS Headphone:X, an innovation capable of pumping virtual 7.1-channel surround sound.
The Ultra uses the same camera hardware as the Deluxe, a 23MP / 8MP rear and front snapper driven by the Sony IMX318 sensor.
It is driven by a Snapdragon S652 processor, 4GB of RAM, and packs a 4600 mAh battery that can switch to power bank mode.
The ZenFone 3 Ultra is available in gray, silver, and rose pink and retails at $479.
Standard hardware and software improvements
All models in the ZenFone 3 series exhibit a number of hardware and software improvements, most obviously the presence of a fingerprint scanner at the back, right below the camera for the ZenFone 3 and the ZenFone 3 Deluxe, or at the front home button in the ZenFone 3 Ultra.
As a consequence, both the ZenFone 3 and the ZenFone 3 Deluxe has a power button and volume rocker located at the right hand side of the unit, similar to the ZenFone Zoom. The ZenFone Ultra retains previous design of having both power button and volume rocker at the back.
The speakers have also been moved from the back to the bottom for all 3 models.
ASUS engineers have also decided to go the nobody route – a departure from the removable back cover design many have come to love.
Like its predecessor three capacitive buttons line up the bottom of the screen – back, home, and tab.
The ZenFone 3 series phones support dual-SIM operation via its 3G/4G micro SIM and nano SIM slots.
Charging is even faster thanks to Quick Charge 3.0 support, as well as the switch to reversible USB Type-C 3.0 connector.
All three ZenFone 3 models come equipped with Gorilla Glass, though the ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra takes screen protection further with Gorilla Glass 4.
PixelMaster 3.0 drives the camera in the ZenFone 3 series with 4K video recording support.
Rear camera supported by additional hardware such as optical image stabilization (OIS), triple auto-focus (laser, phase detection, and continuous), and dual LED real tone flash with color correction sensor for the best resulting white balance.
ZenUI 3.0, the latest release of ASUS custom interface runs on top of the Android 6 Marshmallow operating system for the entire ZenFone 3 line.