Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom doubles down on photography

The ZenFone AR isn't the only feature-packed handset that Asus is showing off at the CES in Las Vegas. The Taiwanese mega-manufacturer also unveiled its ZenFone 3 Zoom, a phone that uses a pair of lenses to provide optical zoom capabilities without the moving parts and added physical depth that this functionality usually requires.

The Zoom looks out into the world via a pair of 12MP cameras. The first has a fairly standard f/1.7 aperture and 25-mm wide-angle lens, while the second camera has a 56-mm lens. Operators can switch on-the-fly between the 25-mm primary camera and the larger unit for an effective 2.3X optical zoom, which should come in handy for close-up portraits or catching distant subjects.

The cameras make their focus adjustments using dual pixel phase-detection autofocus, a subject-tracking autofocus, and a second-generation laser autofocus. The phone selects the best focus method based on environmental conditions. Asus says the camera can accurately focus in as little as 0.03 seconds, even when taking pictures of moving objects.

Asus has also baked in what it calls SuperPixel camera technology that allows for fast focusing and quick picture-taking in low-light environments. The company says its hardware-and-software combo lets the ZenFone Zoom 3 have 2.5 times greater light sensitivity than Apple's iPhone 7 Plus, and ten times that of the average smartphone camera.

Taking pictures requires energy, and the 5000mAh battery inside the Zen Fone 3 Zoom should help users get more selfies per charge. The heart of the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC paired with 4GB of system memory. Asus says the phone can last as long as 42 days on standby on a 3G network, or capture 6.4 hours of continuous 4K video. The big battery also allows the Zen Fone 3 to act as a power bank for devices not as well-endowed in the lithium-ion department.

Asus didn't what version of Android the ZenFone 3 Zoom ships with, but the statement that "RAW support will be available with Android 7.0" seems to imply that the device will ship with Marshmallow and will receive an update to Nougat later on.

Comments closed
    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    It’s hardly got any Zen in it at all!

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    I mentioned this before, but I’d rather have 1 lens for luma (for better light sensitivity and sharpness without the color filter over it), and another lens for color, instead of 2 cameras with different focal lengths.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      So you want a leica m monochrom but in a camera? As cool as that would be, it’s a very niche application.

      Giving users the choice of a wide angle or normal lens instead is going to have much broader use cases, finally getting rid of the wide angle distortion endemic to smartphone portraits and selfies.

      EDIT: Also, the Monochrom is super sharp because it has no Bayer filter and thus no demosaicing artefacts, but smartphone sensors are much smaller and the inherent noise and dynamic range limits of their pixels might not make removing the Bayer filter as impactful as on a full frame sensor.

    • adisor19
    • 3 years ago

    No Bokeh, no fun.


    • DancinJack
    • 3 years ago

    Bah, the Snapdragon 625 and Marshmallow really kill the promising nature of this device for me.

      • juzz86
      • 3 years ago

      Marshmallow, yeah mate, for sure. The 625 is a more than capable SoC though, and will allow you to take better advantage of that 5Ah cell than an 8 series would.

      Couple that with the 1080p display and this thing should be a longevity monster – with a half-decent camera to boot.

        • DancinJack
        • 3 years ago

        Ehhh, that’s dependent on usage but personally I’d rather it have an 820/1 or 835.

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