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Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe is a much better Android phone than its predecessor thanks to its full metal body design and, for the price, leading specs, including 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a 23MP camera. It also now has the Android Oreo update.
- 6GB of RAM onboard
- Slick antenna-less metal design
- Starts at 64GB of storage
- Hidden cost: Snapdragon 821 version
- 1080p display unfit for VR
- Single, bottom-firing speaker
Update: Although the Asus Zenfone V is the newest Asus phone you can buy, the you can still find the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe on Amazon for cheap, and it’s been updated with Google’s new Android Oreo software. Here’s our updated Zenfone 3 Deluxe review.
The smartphone is made a name for itself at Computex 2016 with 6GB of RAM. All but one (the OnePlus 3T) of our best phones ended 2016 with 4GB of RAM, which prevents slowdown with multiple apps open.
This phone also debuted the Snapdragon 821 chipset worldwide (though the Google Pixel and Pixel XL launched with the chip first in the West) and starts with 64GB of internal storage (going up to 256GB).
Of course, there’s also a more reasonably priced Snapdragon 820 version – the one we tested – but you wouldn’t know that from Asus’s 821-touting product page. The 820 is in fine print.
The Zenfone 3 Deluxe camera puts big numbers on the specs sheet, too, with a 23MP sensor, and so does the 5.7-inch display and it dual SIM/microSD card unlocked phoned capabilities.
But do these specs compute into anything meaningful now that it runs Android Oreo? Let’s explore this ‘fone.’
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2016, May. Released 2016, August|
|BODY||Dimensions||156.4 x 77.4 x 7.5 mm (6.16 x 3.05 x 0.30 in)|
|Weight||170 g (6.00 oz)|
|SIM||Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM/ Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Size||5.7 inches, 89.6 cm2 (~74.0% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~386 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 4|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 6.1 (Marshmallow), upgradable to Android 8 (Oreo), ZenUI 3|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 (14 nm)
Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821 (14 nm)
|CPU||Quad-core (2×2.15 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)
Quad-core (2×2.4 GHz Kryo & 2×2.0 GHz Kryo)
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)|
|Internal||64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Single||23 MP, f/2.0, 1/2.6″, 1.0µm, PDAF, Laser AF, 4-axis OIS|
|Features||Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||8 MP, f/2.0|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.0, USB On-The-Go|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Ion 3000 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||Fast charging 18W, 60% in 40 min (advertised)
Quick Charge 3.0
|MISC||Colors||Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray, Shimmer Gold|
|Price||About 230 EUR|
the design of this all-metal, 5.7-inch phone. Asus has done some clever engineering to hide the antenna lines and the result is a clean-looking metal device. The phone’s display is bright and vibrant. As for the Deluxe‘s charging lifespan, I’m pleased to report the embedded 3,000mAh battery is more than sufficient to last you a full day’s use and then some. In our video looping tests, the phone lasted 13 hours 55 minutes.
Now for the negatives. While the diagnostic benchmark scores were pretty good — thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor — actual day-to-day performance can be laggy. My best guess is that bloatware (a lot of preloaded apps) uses up precious memory and slows everything down, especially keeping all those apps updated in the background. In addition, I find the keyboard unwieldy. It keeps the settings button where the number switch key is usually located, and also has the worst autocorrect feature I’ve come across. You’re better off downloading and installing Google’s keyboard (which I did, after struggling for 2 hours with the Asus keyboard).
The rear 23-megapixel camera does a wonderful job snapping pictures when there’s enough light, but low-light situations are a bit hit and miss. The default auto mode keeps the shutter open longer for a brighter image, but if your subjects are constantly moving (like my cat), then all you get is a bright but blurry shot. Check out the test shots gallery below for a more in-depth look at the camera.
Hardware specs comparison
|Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe||Asus ZenFone 3||OnePlus 3T|
|Display size, resolution||5.7-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.16×3.05×0.3 in||6.01×3.05×0.3 in||6.01×2.94×0.29 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||156.4×77.4×7.5 mm||152.6×77.4×7.7 mm||152.7×74.7×7.35 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||6 oz; 170 g||5.47 oz; 155 g||5.57 oz; 158 g|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow|
|Processor||2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 / 2.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821||2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625||2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|Storage||64GB, 256GB||32GB, 64GB||64GB, 128GB|
|Expandable storage||Up to 2TB||Up to 256GB||None|
|Battery||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,400mAh (nonremovable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Back cover||Back cover||Home button|
|Special features||Dual-SIM, metal chassis with no antenna lines||Laser/phase detection autofocus, OIS (4-axis), fingerprint doubles as shutter button||Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$500||$249||$439 (16GB), $479 (128GB)|
|Price (GBP)||Converts to £410||Converts to £170||£399 (16GB), £439 (128GB)|
|Price (AUD)||AU$735||Converts to AU$350||Converts to AU$590 (16GB), AU$650 (128GB)|
The Good All-metal body looks premium; sleek design feels great. Has a whopping 6GB of RAM. Battery life is fantastic.
The Bad Rear camera can be sluggish in low light. Performance can be laggy. The cluttered user interface and bloatware make it a pain to use.
The Bottom Line The Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe has a luxurious build that’s overshadowed by bloatware and poor performance — you’re better off with the OnePlus 3T or a cheaper ZenFone 3.