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Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro review: Buy it, be surprised, but don't take a selfie with it

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 13 November 2017, 12:06 IST
(Sahil Bhalla/Catch News)

ASUS' flagship Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is a mixed bag. It improves in many ways upon the last series of smartphones from the previous company, but it fails to deliver on its USP. The USP being that of selfies.

The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro produces 24-megapixel "duopixel" photos using just software tricks. The phone is the flagship upgrade to the company's Zenfone 3 line of phones. Back then, the phone mostly focused on providing a long-lasting smartphone. To give a smartphone that lasted over 24 hours at one stretch. ASUS delivered on that promise. Whilst the phone itself wasn't great, the battery life was tremendous.

With its ASUS for 4 series, the tables have turned. The USP of selfies clearly falls behind the competition of Vivo and OPPO but the overall experience of using the smartphone has surprisingly been a pleasure.

The phone launched on 14 September. With ASUS falling behind its competition in market share, the company had to significantly change the smartphones that were being produced. ASUS took one look at the trends of the smartphone market and realised that the word 'selfie' was plastered all over. In the process of developing a 'selfie-first' smartphone, ASUS actually make a smartphone that felt nice in the hand, performed without lag and multitasked like a boss, all without attracting a crowd on the Delhi Metro.

Sure, the smartphone lacked the bells and whistles of a bezel-less smartphone, but during my ten odd days of usage, that didn't matter one bit. It was a short relief from the fears of dropping my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and shattering it. I'm not going to go in depth as to just exactly how the smartphone performed, as you've probably decided not to buy an ASUS smartphone from the onset. I will tell you what's inside the phone though, for all of you geeks out there.

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Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro specifications

The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and one variant of 4GB RAM and 64GB (expandable up to 2TB!). There are two 12-megapixel shooters on the front and a 16-megapixel rear camera. It runs on a 3,000 mAh battery. The software is Asus ZenUI 4.0 that is based on Android Nougat.

Day-to-day Performance

Slim. Light. Efficient. Perfectly 'likeable' on Facebook & Instagram. Frustrating software.

The pale silver-gold version was good looking with its clean look on the back. The rear camera protrudes out a tiny bit, but it is never a hindrance. The phone has a good grip and not once did I fear it slipping out of my hand and falling straight to the ground beneath me. The metallic rear doesn't allow the phone to accumulate fingerprints and with the great grip, you could also forgo a case and keep it looking pretty,

The phone, at first glance, seems like just any other phone. Any other phone with thick bezels. It's when you turn on the phone, and struggle to set it up in less than an acceptable time do you realise that this is an Asus phone. It is the software that really lets this smartphone down. Maybe a Zenfone 4 Seflie Pro with stock Android will do the trick.

The display has bright, punchy colours and the 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display does justice. The touch has also tremendously improved from the previous generation.

Performance wise there was little to no lag. The only time the phone stuttered and warmed up a bit was when I started playing Need For Speed and FIFA Mobile and other semi-to-heavy games. Charging was also slow, which is a problem, but with good battery life, that rarely became a problem.

On a day-to-day basis, I was pleased with the functionality of the smartphone, surprised by the design and solid grip and utterly disappointed with the bloated software included on the phone. I had no issues using WhatsApp, watching a video and editing documents. I did, however, grow frustrated by various small hiccups in the software.

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Social media worthy photos?

Photos, yes. Selfies, definitely not. The rear camera performs above expectations. It may not defeat the Honor 8 Pro in the camera department, but it beats all of its price-point peers, including Samsung's C7 Pro.

Selfies, you may ask? No. The photos are washed out, despite the 24-megapixel 'duopixel' technology. The photos lacked detail and the white background became whiter by the minute.

There is a 5-megapixel sensor alongside the dual-sensor. That's for when you want wide angle photos. These photos were marginally better than the duopixel photos.

The bottom line is, upload the rear camera photos and forget about taking any selfies at the moment. This is a massive disappointment since the main selling point of the smartphone is that you can take selfies worthy of 'likes' from your various friends.

Take a look at the photos compared to the Nokia 6 and you'll notice a vast difference.

Verdict

As I said above, I haven't dived deep into the smartphone, but at the price point of Rs 23,999, the Zenfone 4 Seflie Pro competes with older models of OnePlus 3/3T, Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro and newer models like Vivo V7+. Besides speed (OnePlus), display (Samsung) and selfies (Vivo), Asus wins out. Once the price point reduces to under Rs 20k, I'd definitely recommend this phone to the competition.

For now, the Moto G5S Plus at Rs 15,999 delivers a better package at a cheaper price.

First published: 13 November 2017, 12:05 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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