Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra Review

  • Build Quality

  • Battery Life

  • Camera

  • Performance

  • Value for Money

Good 3.9

If you are a fan of big smartphones or phablets, Zenfone 3 Ultra is the sweet spot for the screen size of 6.8 inches, but for everyone else, it might take a little time to get used to. I have used 7-inch tablets for long, and Ultra does not have as big of a width, which makes it more usable for taking calls or day to day activities. But it’s definitely not going to sit in your pockets comfortably… never!

On the glacier white colored front body you get the 8MP shooter, proximity sensor and the speaker on the top. Whereas the physical home button, back, and multitasking button is the bottom. The home button is also a well-designed fingerprint sensor, that detects your thumb or any other finger you save comfortably from most angles. And you can wake the display up just with your fingerprint. The glacier white body at the front has diamond-cut shiny chamfer all over the sides that connect with the silver colored side and the back panel.

On the left side, you have the power button the center, two separate 4G LTE SIM card slots, one of which is a hybrid slot for microSD storage. The top side has 3.5mm audio jack with one of the dual loudspeakers, and bottom side has the other microphone with USB type C port for charging and audio. The left side has no ports at all.

On the back side, you get the proprietary volume rocker of the Asus Zenfone series devices at the center, Dual tone LEDflash with the 23 MP camera on the top, and branding of Asus in the Middle and Zenfone at the bottom.

Zenfone 3 ultra looks premium, if compared with most phablets and why not, its priced accordingly as well.

Display

The IPS display panel of 1080P resolution has incredible viewing angles. The darker blacks make it look incredible even under direct sunlight.  Zenfone 3 Ultra comes with ‘Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and has a 79% screen-to-body ratio. It has 4K TV-grade Image processor with Motion Blur, Contrast correction feature, and high color gamut. You can use the Bluelight Filter for making the experience calmer like every other Zenfone devices.

For the big sized device, thankfully one of the best features of Ultra is its display. If you want to enjoy reading,  watching movies or playing games this mighty device offers you the best visual experience you can hope for.

Gaming

I played Asphalt 8 Airborne and Bullet Force games on Zenfone 3 Ultra, and experience was incredible thanks to the 1080P HD graphics on the almost 7-inch display. The screen size offer proper separation of game controls, making it easier to look at the road or the target, without missing the essential visual elements of the games. The performance was top-notch, and very little warmness under the hood was felt after 25 minutes of constant gaming, which is acceptable.

The performance was top-notch, and very little warmness under the hood was felt after 25 minutes of constant gaming, which is acceptable.

Camera

With this flagship phablet by Asus, you get 23 MP Primary Camera & 8 MP Front camera for better selfies. The video camera can record as high as 4K UHD resolution at 30 FPS and 1080P footage at 60 FPS. The little but notable enhancements like Ultra fast 0.03 sec Tri-tech Auto Focus, 4-axis, 4 Stops Optical and 3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization makes it a good camera for smartphone photography enthusiasts.



Comes with typical camera modes with ZenUI like Low-Light, HDR Pro, Beautification or Selfie Panorama. The Low light mode enhances the light in the photo but introduces more noise, but still a good feature to have. Ultra also supports Asus Zenflash device, which you can use for better light exposure like in the DSLR cameras.

The selfie mode with the back camera is one amazing feature where you can select the number of faces it should detect and hold the back camera in front of you. As you can not see the screen from the back side, it beeps on detection and shutter sounds will let you know the selfies are done. You can select the best one from the 3 selfies captured. The dual tone LED flash works great in low light conditions, and you can also use night mode to enhance these images even further.

The 92MP super resolution will take photos in enhanced pixel count that bring out the best resolution but increases the file size. Whereas miniature and depth of field are great option to have for macro close object photography.

Performance

The Zenfone 3 Ultra comes built-in with  Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest and most optimized version of Android, making sure you get newest features, and at least one or two next major updates to the operating system. The latest ZenUI on top of the Nougat makes it a well-performing user experience with the addition of fluid and impressive effects. The power boost feature constantly shows you the RAM usage in the notification bar, and you can release it in the case of high usage and immediately enhance the performance. The audio Wizard let you set the right sound effects for gaming, entertainment or normal use. Many small features and quick access buttons make ZenUI as one of the best skin ever made for Android.

Zenfone Ultra can handle multi-tasking very well with the 4GB RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa Core 652 with

Single core Geekbench score for Zenfone Ultra is 1329 which is somewhere between Samsung Galaxy S6 edge and S7 edge. Whereas the multi-core score of 3849 is better than Galaxy S7 edge but significantly lower than Oneplus 3.

According to AnTuTu benchmark, the score of 81888 shows very shows is far behind the S7 edge, and somewhat closer to LeEco Le2 and Oppo or Oppo R9 Plus.

Battery Life

With massive physical appearance, the room for 4600 mAh is just enough to get through the day but not more, as bigger display takes up considerable power. But for casual use, it lasted me more than a day, just like the Zenfone 3 Max, Asus’s most battery efficient smartphone.

Zenfone 3 Ultra also support Quick Charge 3.0 standards and reverse charging other devices as long as the battery is more than the 20%.  Overall, Ultra is very well optimized for performance and extended battery life device.

Verdict

If you are big screen fanboy and deep pockets, Zenfone 3 Ultra is the device made exactly for you. It’s undoubtedly well-designed and well-balanced device than carrying around a big 7-inch tablet with SIM card.

With great battery life, decent, solid build quality and again the greatest display of all time where Zenfone 3 fails to impress is performance-per-rupee you spend. You have better phablets like Mi Max out there, which will win in every aspect except the build quality fo Zenfone 3 Max.

Amol Wagh

Author of Game Marketing Book: Market Your Indie Game Like A Pro! 7 years of Tech Blogging & Digital Marketing. Co-founder at Dotline Inc & a Gamer. Follow me on Twitter @amolwagh, @amol.wagh