What makes a smartphone premium? The Indian market in late 2016 is now flooded with smartphones across a wide price range. And most of them claim to be of premium grade. Of course, there are the iPhones and the Galaxy phones (the non-explosive ones) and then there are the Xiaomis and the LeEcos that all claim to offer a superior, premium experience. While some undeniably provides an experience far superior than the rest, the claims of most are just out of sync. So what makes a smartphone premium? For Gizmodo India, I hunt for the answer. Case in hand? The 5.5-inch Asus Zenfone 3 that launched here in India in August and it likes to call itself a premium smartphone with a hefty price-tag of Rs 27,999. Now, this isn’t a phone which will scream premium on the basis of specifications, but as they say, the devil is in the details, so has Asus managed to pull it off? Well, that’s the question I strive to answer.

Is it the build? 

The smartphone is literally the most used gadget except for when we're sleeping or when our hands are just too full or those tiny moments when we are engrossed into something. More often than not, the ubiquitous smartphone is lodged firmly in our palms. So no wonder the build quality is a huge factor in determining whether a phone is of a premium grade.

The Zenfone 3 certainly scores in this regard. It has an all-metal unibody casing that completely ditches the plastic that happens to adorn a lot of 'premium' smartphones. It has 2.5D Gorilla Glass, both on the front and on the rear. On the front this is certainly protective, but on the back it adds an element of frailty. It takes up the laser-cut concentric circles design from the Zenfone 2 phones and embraces it wholeheartedly on the rear. The Zenfone 2 only had the concentric circles at the lower lip of the display bezel, but on the Zenfone 3 it covers the entire rear panel of the phone. Every time a speck of light happens to fall on the surface, circular reflections emanating from around the fingerprint sensor hits the eye. For a smartphone, Asus tries really hard to impress with the looks and it somewhat works.

But then there's the ugly rectangular camera bump that cancels out the cool light-art. The camera sits squarely in the middle of the top part of the rear panel adorned with a laser autofocus module and LED flash on two sides and the fingerprint sensor below it. The camera bump maybe a design compromise, but a plus on the features side because the raised camera assembly houses the optical image stabilisation tech of the camera. More on that later.

The front part of the phone looks just like all other smartphones. There's the 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a full HD (1080x1920 pixels) resolution. Above it is the proximity and ambient light sensor, the microphone and the front camera. Below it there are the capacitive navigation buttons. The speaker grill is located at the bottom of the phone along with the USB-type C charging port, and the headphone jack on top. The display boasts 600 nits of brightness with its own bluelight filter and a 178-degree wide viewing angle. While the screen isn’t something that will stand out, it works for the most part. Visibility under the sun is decent and movies and games look natural.

Yet, the most distinguishing part of the design of this phone is the absence of antenna lines that plague the designs of even the iPhone. The only evidence of the antenna lines that we see from the outside are two bands on the top and the bottom.

In all, as far as the build quality goes, the 5.5-inch Zenfone 3 certainly feels intensely premium. But is that all it takes to call a smartphone premium?

Is it the hardware inside? 

All the smartphones that like to call itself premium-grade tend to offer marvellous hardware specs. The spec-sheet war has been waging for long and even the low-budget phones now come with high-tech hardware packed in them. Yet, the Zenfone 3 somewhat makes a compromise here especially with the processor. At its Rs 27,999 price it is in direct competition with the OnePlus 3 which comes with flagship-grade hardware inside and out. While the exterior hardware is well taken care of in the Zenfone 3, it's the internals that is lacking in firepower. It's the Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz that leaves me screaming for more. It is coupled with 4GB of RAM and Adreno 506 graphics along with 64GB of on board storage which can be extended to 2TB (theoretically) via a microSD card.

The Snapdragon 625 is the successor to the notorious Snapdragon 615 which was a battery guzzler. With the Snapdragon 625 in place, battery efficiency increases by 35 per cent. But why not the flagship Snapdragon 820 at the price? If OnePlus can do it, why not Asus? Well, in my opinion, that's because Asus reserved the maximum performance for its Zenfone 3 Deluxe variant which happens to be the first phone to sport a Snapdragon 821 processor and also happens to be obscenely priced at Rs 62,999.

The phone stuttered when I was switching from my camera to Adobe Lightroom, taking quite some time to register my demands to go back to the Photoshop app from the camera. There’s also that nagging heating issue that plagues most octa-core smartphones. However, when running a single standalone app like FIFA 16, there were absolutely no frame drops and it ran perfectly smooth. With that, I came to the conclusion that the Zenfone 3 is powerful enough to run a single heavy app, but multi-tasking with two or more such heavy becomes taxing on the phone.

Compromises in performance is not becoming of a premium smartphone, and so I will have to away some points the Zenfone 3 scored in terms of the build and the design.

Is it the camera? 

The rear camera can make or break a smartphone. People pay the high asking price for a smartphone mostly to avail the superior imaging capabilities of the phone. And it is here that the Zenfone 3 truly scores. There's not a single modern camera feature that has been left out when assembling the rear camera of the Zenfone 3. 16-megapixel Sony IMX298 sensor with 6-element lens and f/2.0 aperture? Check. 4K-video shooting capabilities? Check. 4-axis Optical Image Stabilisation? Check. 3-axis Electronic Image Stabilisation? Check. You name it and this camera has it. The camera also boasts of an autofocus trifecta- Phase-detection, laser and continuous autofocus that really makes focusing as easy as pointing the camera towards the object and tapping on the screen. It's instantaneous almost.


slice Team!

2015 copyrighted company it was founded and administrated by ceo mouli tharan it was the one and only website where u could have intresting life facts,we bring u some tech freaking news to inspire u,about us and join us and have fun to be with us and slice your life,i hope u have got started syl yourself now.

Post A Comment: