Sleek look, incredibly fast camera
ASUS ZENFONE 3 ULTRA
- Processor: Snapdragon 652 | RAM: 4GB | GPU: Adreno 510 | Internal Memory: 64GB
- Screen Size: 6.8" | Thickness: 6.8 mm | Weight: 233g
- Cameras: Rear camera: 23MP f/2.0 | Front camera: 8MP
- Price: $778
Its elegant design, glossy screen and metallic sand-blasted rearcombine to make the Ultra look and feel luxurious.
For a device with a heavy-duty 4,600mAh battery and a large 6.8" screen, the Ultra is remarkably sleek for its class.
The 6.8mm body is even thinner than iPhone 7's 7.3mm body and its high screen-to-body ratio gives it a nearly "frameless" look, which makes it a lot smaller than your usual 7" tablets. Nevertheless, the large screen size alone is sufficient to pose portability issues.
It's almost impossible to find a pair of jeans that has pockets deep enough to completely hold the Ultra's body, so you often end up with part of the device jutting out of your pocket.
Trying to navigate it single-handedly will be futile for those with smaller hands.
The home button now holds the fingerprint sensor, which is fast and responsive, whereas the volume rockers have been pushed to the rear for better accessibility.
The crystal clear full-HD display iswell-suited for watching movies and for gaming because the in-built Splendid app does a great job of manipulating colour and contrast.
The blue light filter within Asus' ZenUI also allows you to filter out blue light that disrupts your sleep cycle to give a warmer display that is less harsh on the eyes.
The camera is one of the phone's strongest features.
The 23MP camera, with a 4-axis image stabilisation technique, focuses quickly and takes photos incredibly fast. The details on photos taken with the rear shooter were impressive.
Even with shaky hands, shots were fairly clear.
The colours were a little off-balance as the phone favours warm colours over cooler shades. This is especially noticeable in portrait shots, where skin tones have an unnatural orange hue.
In low-light conditions, the Ultra did well.
The front camera didn't receive an upgrade from the basic ZenFone 3's 8MP shooter, but it works well enough for selfies. The beautification mode allows users to brighten their skin tone and slim their jawline.
When it came to performance, I was rather disappointed with the Snapdragon 652 processor. Multitasking, even with regular apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, will reveal noticeable lags and the phone heats up rather quickly.
Nevertheless, the Ultra makes up for it in terms of its battery life, which is capable of handling 34 hours of talk time.
It can even "reverse charge" to act as a portable charger for other devices. I managed to use it for 1½ days even though I was constantly texting, watching videos and snapping photos.