Asus Zenfone Zoom review; good camera performance

Asus Zenfone Zoom detail specifications
Alternate names ZX550
Release date January 2016
Form factor Touchscreen
Dimensions (mm) 158.90 x 78.84 x 11.95
Weight (g) 185.00
Battery capacity (mAh) 3000
Removable battery No
Colours Meteorite black, Glacier white
SAR value 0.375
Screen size (inches) 5.50
Touchscreen Yes
Resolution 1080×1920 pixels
Pixels per inch (PPI) 403
Processor 2.5 GHz Quad-core
Processor make Intel Atom Z3580
Internal storage 128GB
Expandable storage Yes
Expandable storage type microSD
Expandable storage up to (GB) 128
Rear camera 13-megapixel
Flash Yes
Front camera 5-megapixel
Operating System Android 5.0
Skin ZenUI 2.0
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi standards supported 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Yes, v 4.00
Infrared No
Headphones 3.5mm
FM Yes
Number of SIMs 1
SIM Type Micro-SIM
3G Yes
4G/ LTE Yes
Supports 4G in India (Band 40) Yes
Compass/ Magnetometer Yes
Proximity sensor Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes
Gyroscope Yes
Barometer No
Temperature sensor No

After my favorite mobile phone company Nokia there is another company in the market from which we can expect some uniqueness, which is Asus. In this sence Asus had launched phone Zenfone Zoom. The ZenFone Zoom is what you can call a true high-end offering from the company in question. And it is a phone firmly focused on camera performance. This is its attempt at a smartphone with optical zoom and thankfully, it hasn’t compromised (too much) on it being a smartphone. Available phones in market are on the same track i.e. the performance in less price segment but this time Asus comes with an innovative idea with Zenfone Zoom. Let’s see how innovative the phone is.

Look and Design
By seeing it first time it is very clear that it does not look like other Zenfone series. The unibody aluminium frame looks good and also gives the phone a good grip to hold phone comfortably. The Zoom has a shell made of leather and bits of metal. There’s a massive disc in the middle where the camera assembly is – this is where Asus has managed to fit in the zoom lens in a sideways fashion. This means there’s no protruding lens. Coming to make of the phone it has rounded sides make it very comfortable to hold too and as we already told that it has a good grip which make it more comfortable to hold. There are chamfered edges and chrome accents thoughtfully distributed around the edges and the camera section on the back, all lending to the phone’s good looks. The back panel is made of leather and is removable with the microSIM card slot and non-removable battery buried inside. The ZenFone Zoom comes with dedicated camera shutter and video recording buttons on the right side. The volume rocker and power button are placed above them. Meanwhile, the left side is completely vacant. Everything right from button placement to their tactile feedback is spot-on. The build quality and finish of the phone are very good and we have to hand it to Asus for managing to squeeze an optical zoom lens into a body that’s just 11.9mm at its thickest point.

The ZenFone Zoom packs a 5.5-inch FullHD IPS display with a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and 401ppi pixel density, much like the ZenFone 2. It is protected by strong Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. The screen of the Zoom looks very bright and it look very bulky than the screen of the ZenFone 2 . Viewing angles are also good. Problem is cut-throat competition in and around this price point.
Even though IPS panels are known for better colour accuracy, the screen of the ZenFone Zoom tends to show slightly warmer colours by default. Turning the display settings to vivid — and/or manually altering hue and saturation — however gives you better results.

Many other smartphone in the market packs Mediatech or Qualcomm processor but Asus is probably the only major smartphone maker that’s so consistent with using Intel SoCs. The ZenFone Zoom is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 and comes with good 4GB of RAM and 128GB of high onboard storage. We like the good amount of storage, and if you want more , you can expand it by another 128GB with a microSD card. Other main specs include Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB OTG, FM radio, GPS and GLONASS.

The Zoom runs Android 5.0 Lollipop-based ZenUI, we are really very disappointed with 5.0 lollipop . As we already said in our earlier post that it 6.0 can be better. Marshmallow is making headway in at least two phones in this price range: Nexus 6P and Moto X Style.
Asus contain pack of software for various uses. The company’s own apps can only be disabled and all third party are uninstallable. Some wonderful useful app are AudioWizard, which lets you fine tune sound profiles for movie, music, gaming, or voice calls; Splendid, for adjusting the colour temperature and act as blue light filter. Mobile Manager, to get rid of junk files and free up system resources. As functional as the interface is, ZenUI is starting to show its age as it now feels a bit cluttered. It still functions very smoothly but with after using lighter skins from other manufacturers, ZenUI can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner.
One very interesting thing is that they had improved the Google app also. Taking an example of Gallery , the Gallery app can show you photos and videos from cloud services as well. PhotoCollage and MiniMovie are Asus apps integrated into the gallery which let you customise and package your photos and videos for sharing.

Coming to main focus of the phone, its camera. This is one of slimmest phone 3x optical zoom. We can say its 13 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom with a 10-element lens made by Hoya is nervous system of this phone. Add to this laser autofocus and Optical Image Stabilisation and you have a solid recipe for some good pictures. As such, its aperture ranges anywhere from f/2.7 to f/4.8 depending on the zoom. In daylight all the effect for example landscape, macros gives a great detail. Our review team is very happy with its very fast auto focus. But when we click a picture from it we get slightly disappointed with its shutter speed. No matter where the picture is taken , there is lagging in picture.
In low light the pictures are very impressive as many other smartphone we reviewed earlier does not show good performance in low light. There’s a delay when zooming in as the picture in the viewfinder takes a second to catch up to the zoom level.
Coming to 5 megapixels front camera. The front with f/2.0 aperture and wide-angle 88-degree lens. We are also impressed with its front camera in both low and high light.
The camera app itself is pretty stacked in terms of user controls and modes. A fully dedicated manual mode — along with a plethora of shooting modes — means pros will have a good time with the Zoom. It’s the other half — which would be substantial — that we dare say could be disappointed.
Video recording maxes out at 1080p and the quality is pretty good with a steady framerate. There’s an option for slow-motion video as well. Sadly, 4K video recording is not available. The dual-LED flash is also decently powerful but only for short distances. A xenon flash would have complemented the phone nicely.

In performance segment the Asus Zenfone Zoom does not compromise at all , its performance is as good as high price segment. The ZenFone Zoom powered by a 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 processor coupled with PowerVR G6430 GPU and 4GB of RAM. It comes with 128GB (112GB available) of internal memory which is further expandable by up to another 128GB via microSD card.
The Zoom is a classic case to prove how more cores does not necessarily mean better performance and vice versa. While basic tasks are handled well by the device, 4 gigs of RAM give it abundant multitasking potential. At a time, we had more than 20 apps running in the background (including graphical games) and the phone still showed no signs of slowing down.
The PowerVR GPU on-board makes the Zoom a fairly decent gaming device, with occasional hiccups while playing demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Implosion at high settings. Still, those instances were rare and the phone fared well while gaming majorly.
The Zoom fares decently in benchmarks too, although it’s still far behind other phones with today’s top-tier hardware. We got scores of 63,352 in AnTuTu and 21,170 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. Despite the heavy skin and pre-loaded apps, you still have about 2.2GB free RAM on average.

The 3000mAh battery lasted for 7 hour in our video loop test, which is below average dissatisfied. Upon regular use with mixed usage of 4G and lots of shooting, we found that the ZenFone Zoom lasted us about 18-20 hours before needing a recharge. Thankfully, the phone supports fast charging and will get you up to 40 percent capacity in half an hour.

The Asus ZenFone Zoom comes at a premium for the sole reason that it’s the only smartphone in the market at the moment with optical zoom. At Rs. 37,999, it competes with Samsung’s Galaxy S6 range and the new Nexus 6P, both of which have excellent cameras these are not even ‘camera-centric’ phones for crying out loud.
This look very expensive looking about its performance. The phone might be a weak contender at its high launch price but it won’t seem so bad when it drops to more reasonable levels. Asus has done a commendable job with the design and build of this phone. Optical zoom on smartphones requires many compromises and that’s one of the reasons that it never really caught on.

What is custom ROM?
ROM is short for Read-Only Memory. It has many versions just like Windows OS does; no matter it is stock ROMs from companies, or custom ROM from third party. This new custom ROM can bring you the latest version of Android before your manufacturer. Anyhow, flashing a new ROM means installing a new operating system to your Android.

The new Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow comes with many new features :

  • Mobile payments (Android Pay) feature.
  • Better RAM Management.
  • Fingerprint support.- A battery saver feature which extends device use by up to 90 mins.
  • It has a faster, smoother and more powerful computing experience.
  • Support for 64-bit SoCs using ARM, x86, and MIPS-based cores.
  • OpenGL ES 3.1 and Android extension pack brings Android to the forefront of mobile graphics putting it on par with desktop and console class performance.
  • Responsive, natural motion, realistic lighting and shadows, and familiar visual elements make it easier to navigate your device.
  • More intelligent ranking of notifications based on who they’re from and the type of communication.
  • See all your notifications in one place by tapping the top of the screen.
  • New devices come with encryption automatically turned on to help protect data on lost or stolen devices.
  • SELinux enforcing for all applications means even better protection against vulnerabilities and malware.
  • State of the art video technology with support for HEVC main profile to allow for UHD 4K 10-bit video playback, tunneled hardware video decoding to save power and improved HLS support for streaming.
  • and other cool features.
If you want to install using your PC, you need the ADB tools installed on your computer. Download the ADB tools via Google’s developers website and download the Android SDK. Downloading the SDK and making sure ADB is correctly set up.

Note: If there is more than one download option, that likely means that you need to download and install the Bug Fix Update for your smartphone or tablet device before you can actually update to 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Step 1:

Before you go trying to update your device, you should check which version of Android you are running. You might already be on the latest version. It's easy to check so follow this guide up to step four. This screen will have a section called 'Android version'. If it doesn't, click 'Software information' to find out.


Step 2:

Scroll down the Settings menu and click on 'About Phone' or 'About Tablet'. If you have a tabbed settings menu then this will appear in the 'general' section.



Refer to Android developer page to choose which version of Android your phone or tablet is running. I.e, 4.0.4 corresponds to Ice Cream Sandwich, an old version of Android that was released in 2013.

Step 3:

Note: Your phone or tablet may require a Wi-Fi connection to search for an update. We suggest you to download the software Droid Over Wi-Fi because the file size can be large.


Choose and click the "Software Update" option. Next it will search available update for your phone or tablet. If update is available, you will be asked if you want to install it. Select "yes" and it will install the new operating system in your device. If you want to install it later, you can download the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow file first. Download Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.zip




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