“The pragmatist’s powerhouse” is all grown up, and while Asus doesn’t appear to have learned from past mistakes, once again diluting its own premium mobile brand, at least there are clear differences between the Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra this time around.
Oddly enough, the relatively popular big-battery Zenfone Max that was recently refreshed in India didn’t also get a proper sequel at the Computex trade fair in Taipei, with the Ultra model instead set to carry the heavyweight torch.
Starting from the beginning though, the base Asus Zenfone 3 variant markedly improves the build quality of its predecessor, nonetheless settling for a mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor and “only” up to 4GB RAM in order to keep the pricing bar as low as possible.
The 5.5-incher rocks both front and rear glass panels, as well as a metal frame, with 2.5D “contouring” and an elegant fingerprint scanner replacing that annoying volume rocker on the back. The specifications are overall decent for a phone expected to start at $250, including Full HD screen resolution, 16 and 8MP cameras, USB Type-C connectivity, a 3,000 mAh battery, and of course, Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Meanwhile, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe graduates to a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 SoC, can go all the way up to 6GB RAM, 256GB internal storage, and a 23MP rear-facing shooter with Sony’s IMX318 sensor.
Arguably prettier than its “little brother”, the 5.7-incher somehow manages to conceal the iPhone and HTC-iconic antenna lines, despite carrying an aluminum unibody construction, and it’ll reportedly cost just $500 with the full 6 gigs of memory, plus a 64GB ROM.
Last but certainly not least, the 6.8-inch (!!!) Zenfone 3 Ultra stands out with a pair of super-sweet speakers, some nifty surround sound enhancements, and a large 4,600 mAh cell. With an SD652 silicon, though, the colossus will set you back $480 in a 4GB RAM/64GB ROM configuration. Alas, there’s no word on availability across the board yet.