Asus Zenfone Zoom – First Impressions and Camera Samples – Review Part 1

  
The Asus Zenfone Zoom has arrived. This phone is special. It has a 3 x optical zoom lens which operates without any moving external parts. The whole mechanism is internal. See video below. 

So what’s inside the box? The photos below show the contents of the box. I like the fact it comes with a lanyard that attaches securely to the phone. You also get a pair of headphones, quick start guide, UK adapter and micro USB cable. 

  
The key specifications are –

The other specifications –

– Display – 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD, 403ppi, IPS LCD
– Corning Gorilla Glass 4
– Processor – 64-bit 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 CPU
– Graphics – PowerVR G6430 GPU
– RAM – 4GB LPDDR3
– Internal Storage – 64GB eMCC Flash or 128GB eMCP Flash
– External Storage – microSD (up to 128GB)
– Cameras – Rear – 13MP Panasonic SmartFSI sensor with a 10-element Hoya 3x optical zoom lens, aperture ranges from f/2.7 to f/4.8
– 5MP front-facing camera
– Software – Android 5.1 with ASUS ZenUI
– Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/b/ac
– Bluetooth 4.0+ EDR
– NFC
– micro-USB
– Battery – 3000mAh non-removable Li-Polymer – comes with a rapid charger
– Dimensions – 158.9 x 78.84 x 11.95mm
– Weight – 185g
– Build – aluminium body with a removable leather back cover for accessing the micro SD and Micro SIM slots

So you’re wondering what the picture quality is like. Below are the first shots of the camera. The below photo is taken in HDR mode.  Edit – Curse! These were literally the very first shots below, and later on when back home I realised in the camera app settings the picture quality was set on medium, not high. The difference on the high setting is noticeably better.

  
Let’s zoom in optically 3 times. We now see this. 

  
As the above shot is optically zoomed in it is still possible to crop the photo and still get a crispy crop. 

There are a multitude of shooting modes including manual which allows for a 32 second shutter time. 

Night mode takes a really dark scene and brightens it up a lot. This was pitch black practically. I have used the night mode on several shots last night and was impressed with the results. 

  
Don’t worry my review will examine the camera in more depth. I will also be preparing a 3 way camera shootout with the iPhone 6S Plus and LG V10. 

So starting up the Asus Zenfone Zoom for the first time takes you through a number of sign in pages including redeeming 100gb of Google Drive storage, free for 2 years. About 20 apps needed updating plus another 25 of Asus own apps/ZenUI apps. A 63mb firmware update was available which was for stability updates. After everything had updated I had 55gb free of the 64gb storage. The Asus Zenfone Zoom also has a micro SD card slot. This phone has plenty of space of saving video and photos.

The Asus skin appears to be incredibly customisable. Icons can be resized on the fly and more. I have downloaded and installed a more cleaner theme so far. I ran AnTuTu which produces a score of 59,160.

In terms of design, the Zenfone Zoom is well built and looks great. As a camera phone it has a dedicated 2 stage physical camera button, which also launches the camera. There is another physical button for recording just video. The volume keys act as zoom buttons.

I must admit there is a lot to learn on this phone as Asus provide plenty of extras. The camera app is extensive too with many modes including manual as mentioned above.

So my plan is to test this more throughly at the weekend and next week start posting more thoughts. This should work out quite nicely, as I should be receiving the LG V10 UK version around Tuesday or Wednesday.

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8 thoughts on “Asus Zenfone Zoom – First Impressions and Camera Samples – Review Part 1

  1. Gavin, If you get a chance try shooting from a distance of a sign that is difficult to read from where you are standing.
    1. Shoot with the Asus no zoom and take a shot.
    2. This time apply 3x zoom and take a shot.
    3. Shoot from the iPhone no digital zoom and take a shot.
    4. This time apply 3x digital zoom and take a shot.
    (I appreciate you don’t really need to do this but it makes it easier to compare without manually cropping the non zoomed shot to 3x).

    With all the shots taken it will be interesting to see just how good the optical zoom is on the Asus.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Can you please do a comparison with Samsung Galaxy K Zoom? Naturally that is its main competitor and I saw Asus compare it at one of their keynotes! Haha. Plus I want to know the difference in quality when it comes to taking pictures between the two… Test everything thoroughly: the zoom, the OIS, the flash, the laser autofocus. And come up with a conclusion whether its worth the change from K Zoom to Zenfone Zoom or not.. I really need to make a decision soon once its available in my country! The main reason why I want to change is not only the phone has better specs, like in terms of every other thing; better processor, bigger internal memory, bigger RAM, bigger screen, higher resolution screen. But because I am getting tired of the protruding lens of the K Zoom!! People notices you taking pictures because it pops out every time you activate the camera and you simply cannot do it discreetly… Asus was indeed ingenious going for the internal zoom mechanism and the design of the back is really beautiful to me as I have always admired the huge flat round design for the lens just like the Nokia Lumia 1020.. Hehe

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      1. Yes I have checked out all your other posts relating to the Zenfone Zoom! I am obsessed with this phone at the moment and I just hope it wont be too pricey in my country… I cant imagine how the next Zenfone Zoom will be since the first one is already impressive as it is! Compared to lets say the Samsung S4 Zoom when it was first announced.. Please do all those that I have mentioned in my previous comment yeah? I would appreciate it. Its even greater if you can get your hands on a K Zoom and compare the photos.. I really want to know if its gonna be worth the change. I’ll look forward for your main review then next week!

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      2. Oh yeah just to add on my comment… I’m a food blogger and I use my phone mainly to take pics of the places I visit and also close up of the food.. Sometimes the lighting may not be ideal, that is why I need a phone that is close to a point and shoot camera in terms of quality. My main problem is usually locking the focus on food when the lighting is not ideal… So I’m hoping the laser autofocus will be useful in this case. And despite the K Zoom having OIS, to me it does not work as well. I am always frustrated whenever I ask someone to take a pic of me and it turns out to be blurry… Their hands are just not as steady as mine! lol. The OIS that I am impressed with so far is the LG G4 and V10. Those phone really take some sharp photos… But after owning the K Zoom, I cannot live without an optical zoom anymore. It just proves to be useful in situations where you might not expect you need to zoom in something.. That is why the Zenfone Zoom is the only worthy alternative at the moment.

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