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Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual Cam Review (ZD553KL) : Tapping into the Selfie Obsession
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Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual Cam Review (ZD553KL) : Tapping into the Selfie Obsession

Overall Score3.5
  • Design
  • Build Quality
  • Performance
  • Value For Money
  • With a dual selfie camera and a 20-megapixel to grab eyeballs, the Zenfone 4 Selfie dual taps into the selfie obsession prevalent these days

Asus didn’t had much success with last year’s Zenfone 3 lineups except for the Max lineup which did see some traction with the mammoth battery backpack but can the new Zenfone 4 series infuse fresh energy into the Taiwanese brand? While we need to wait for that answer but meanwhile let’s check the Zenfone 4 Selfie with dual camera in this review. World loves taking selfies and Indians are no different. Last couple of quarters we have seen companies tapping on the selfie mania with selfie-centric phones with good measure of success. So Asus too has joined the fray with the Zenfone 4 Selfie series in India. They recently launched three Selfie phones in India from their Zenfone 4 lineup – the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro and two variants of Zenfone 4 Selfie with one sporting a single camera for selfie and another a dual camera. What we got here is the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual Cam review.

First let’s take a look at what you get out of the box.

  • Zenfone 4 Selfie mobile
  • User guide
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Power adapter 5.2V/1.35A
  • Pin to eject SIM tray

Design and Build Quality

  • Poly-carbonate body
  • 155.7 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm
  • 144 grams

When you hold the Zenfone 4 Selfie for the first time, what springs to your mind immediately is it’s lightweight. At 144 grams its quiet lighter and it also has to do with its polycarbonate body. While we are accustomed to metal body phones these days that ups the stakes for the premium quotient, poly carbonate or in common parlance plastic body, is not something we fancy upon but nevertheless it has its own advantages like keeping the weight less and also not prone to dents on occasional falls. It does gets a metallic finish to give it a faux-metal look.

The back has the rear camera on top in the middle with a dual LED flash to its side. There are  antenna lines on top and bottom of the phone and Asus branding towards the middle. The rear camera has a frame flaunting the signature Asus concentric pattern.

The right side has the power button and volume buttons, both offering good tactile feedback.

The left houses the SIM tray. Opening it reveals a triple tray that accommodates two SIMs and one dedicated microSD card which is refreshing, considering most phones comes with only a hybrid SIM tray these days.

The top has a 3.5mm audio jack and a microphone.

The bottom has a speaker grille and a micro USB port. It’s strange Asus has not considered an upgrade to USB Type C.

The front has a capacitive button as home button flanked by back and menu buttons. The home button also doubles up as fingerprint sensor. The buttons are not backlit.

At the top there is the dual selfie camera, ear piece grille and sensors. There is also a LED flash light for selfies during low light scenarios.

While a metal body could have scored more brownie points for premium factor, ergonomically the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie is comfortable to hold and handle and also has a decent looks to it.

Display

  • 5.5 inches
  • IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • 720 x 1280 pixels
  • 267 pixels per inch
  • 70.6% screen-to-body ratio

It’s disappointing to note that Asus has opted for a 720p resolution instead of a fullHD panel. It’s a 2.5D curved glass, there is no mention of any protective layer to it though. The panel is very responsive and smooth. While the color reproduction is good, the color doesn’t pop out nor lively especially if you like your display panel to be a bit more saturated. The viewing angles are good and the reading is also good under direct sunlight.

Software and ZEN UI

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • ZenUI 4.0

ZenUI has also been long accused of being a bloatware, that has changed a bit with the ZenUI 4.0. The new UI comes with minimal set of apps. The UI feels light and snappy. The app drawer is left untouched. There is no FM app pre-installed. There is also two special modes in the UI – easy mode for elders and a kids mode for children. Asus customized settings offer dual apps feature that can duplicate apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram etc for two accounts to run parallelly in the same phone.  Game genie mode allows to record the screen like when playing games.  Long press the menu button can activate split screen feature. The UI also offers gesture feature and you can draw certain gestures on the lock screen to launch certain apps and tasks. Double tapping the home button minimizes the screen for one- hand mode.

Fingerprint Sensor

The fingerprint sensor is at the front with the home button doubling as the sensor. Unlocking is fairly faster and is accurate too. Apps can be secured with the fingerprint sensor and it can also be configured to answer calls by touching the sensor area.

Performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
  • Octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53
  • Adreno 505
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB ROM, expandable

Its baffling that Asus has settled for Snapdragon 430 which they have used in the Zenfone 3 Max too. Since the Max days there has been new chipsets dished out by Qualcomm and Asus could very well opted for something from the new lineups. Neverthless, the Snapdragon 430 is a time tested chipset and it fares fairly smooth for normal tasks. Considering the low-end specs, the skimmed down new UI helps in making the operations smoother. If you are a gamer, let’s be realistic here, the Adreno 505 is tad weaker, while most games play well, you can spot slightly weaker graphics and stuttering during heavy games.  Call quality is good. The loud speaker output is satisfactory too.

The Zenfone 4 Selfie dual packs in a 3000mAh battery. With a 720p panel and a 430 chipset, the battery can sail through a day. The absence of fast charging is a dampener though. The 1.3A of the charger doesn’t help either and it takes a painful 3 hours for a full charge from scratch.

Asus believes the target audience for the Zenfone 4 Selfie would not be bothered much about the specs story and they could compensate it with the camera, but does the camera live up to the expectation?

Camera

  • Front camera: 20-megapixel, F/2.0 aperture + 8MP, F2.4 aperture with 120 degree FOV
  • Rear camera: 16-megapixel, F/2.0 aperture
  • upto FullHD videos
  • EIS
  • PDAF
  • LED flash on front and back

Talking point of the Zenfone 4 Selfie dual is the dual camera setup in the front. While, higher megapixels doesn’t promises a better picture quality, it makes for a good marketing data. The secondary camera in the front offers a 120 degree field of view to accommodate more people and surroundings in your selfies. The camera app also has a group selfie mode to fit in more people into your selfies.

The camera app also offers few modes for selfies in addition to auto mode. As expected there is a beauty mode and apart from that there is a GIF, portrait and a selfie panorama mode. The beauty mode has adjustments for skin softening, skin brightening, eye enhancement and cheek thinning, in case you want to pamper yourself with an image makeover.

A few months earlier, Asus launched the Zenfone Live as the world’s first Smartphone to offer beauty mode while streaming live videos. These feature has now find its way into the Zenfone 4 Selfie series. There is a selfie master app for this purpose. You can apply beauty filter while going live on Instagram and Whatsapp.

The rear 16-megapixel camera is equipped with Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) , EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) . There are presets for timelapse, manual mode, super resolution in addition to beauty, GIF, Panorama and portrait modes.

Both the front and rear camera offers portrait mode and the background blue is much better than some of the other phones we have seen in recent times in this range, the effect is smooth.

Verdict:

The Zenfone  4 Selfie Dual is priced at Rs 14,999 and during the big billion debut sale offered a 1000 Rs discount. The segment sees a tight competition online with the likes of the crazily popular Redmi Note 4, Honor 6X and the recent launches like K8 Note, Moto G5s Plus etc. Compared specs to specs, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual might look a bit watered down but everything is not about the specs for the average consumer. Asus as a brand still has a bankable reputation, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual offers a decent mix of everything including the 20-megapixel dual camera to grab the attention of the selfie nation. While I might not outright suggest the Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual, you might not be disappointed either if you are looking for a phone that does the normal daily tasks and along with being a  selfie phone.

0 24 September, 2017 Mobiles September 24, 2017

About the author

The man behind GingerChai Networks from Bangalore, India. His unconventional, non-geeky approach to gadgets and technology lead him to start TechRaman. When not dabbling with gadgets, he also reviews books and movies and drowns himself in cups of tea.

View all articles by Lakshmi Rajan

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