My history with ASUS goes way back with their Laptops and tablet series, which I’m an avid fan of. One reason why I like ASUS is because of the fact that they make pretty solid device that has good build quality and impressive specification under the hood. A while back, they announced their new Zenfone 4 Lineup and I got the chance to review their Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, which is one of the devices that became available to the Malaysian Market right after it was announced. I’ve been using it for a month and it’s time for me to give you folks my opinion on the Zenfone 4 Seflie Pro.
Design & Build
On the front, the device is covered with a Corning Gorilla Glass which is Scratch Resistant. And at the back, we have a metal body which looks and feels pretty good in the hands. And the phone itself is incredibly thin. If you take a close look at the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, it does not have the signature Zen spiral design on the back. And as this phone packs a 5.5″ display up on the front, it’s good if you were to use it with one hand because the bezels on the sides are around 0.1mm thick.
On the back of the device, we see the two thick antenna band that goes above the camera and below the ASUS engraving. Also, the rear facing camera has a bump on the back. Basically, what I mean is the phone will not lie flat on a surface. But personally, I wasn’t really bothered by the bump.
Some people might think that the phone shares the same design with some of the few competitors in the market, which I agree because we’ve been seeing the same design for quite some time. But this is where the finer details come into play like the Signature Spiral Design on the rear facing camera, chamfered edges both on the front and the back which is not obvious but it’s there. And not to forget the tactile buttons on the sides that also has the spiral brushed finish, which is amazing.
Overall in terms of design and Build Quality, it scores a B+ in my opinion.
Specifications & Benchmark
In terms of Specification, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, a 14nm processor with FinFET LPP technology, which lets you consume very minimal power under minimal load. The Pro variant comes with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. In terms of storage, it comes with 64GB eMCP and the memory can be expanded upto 2TB with the help of a Micro SD card, which is pretty decent.
For the benchmark score, you can take a look at it below. Do take note that benchmark scores does not apply to a real day usage. The performance could vary.
On the front, we have a 5.5″ Full HD AMOLED display with 500nits brightness that’s covered with a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass up top. This is probably the best display I’ve ever come across on a mid-range device and it’s beautiful. As it’s an AMOLED display, you get real blacks and colors that pops. The display is pretty visible under the bright sunlight and I was able to use it with no problem. And one important thing to me about a display, is toggling down the display to the dimmest and not have any problems viewing it at night. And this phone shines well in that area.
In terms of color production, the moment you take a look at the display itself, you will go wow. I did too. Watching my favorite series and TV Shows on Full HD from Netflix and iflix was amazing. The deeper blacks not only gives a pleasing view to the eye, it also helps a lot in saving the battery.
Performance, Charging & Battery Life
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, benchmark scores does not add up to real day usage. So, I will be sharing the performance based on my personal usage. I’ve been using the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro as my daily driver, which means I can strongly say that I’ve been using the phone extensively. My daily usage includes responding to messages, checking out social network, listening to music and watching movies and series. And it handles pretty well. One thing about the new SoC is that the 14nm FinFET architecture, it does help a lot in saving up the energy, it gets warm and not hot.
Playing game titles like Need for Speed No Limits and Asphalt was okay and this is where exactly where the battery drains a lot. Initially, the games slowed down a bit but as time went by, I would say that I had a pleasing experience with the device itself. There was some sound delay but it was fixed by force closing and reopening the application. There are times when one or two application tends to crash very often due to the app.
And with a performance like that, the phone was still able to perform well, thanks to the LPP system in the processor. Under daily usage, I was able to use the phone with 5 hours of SoT and end my day at 6pm with about 15% left. Standby mode, the battery barely gets consumed. Under light usage, it can last the whole day, sometimes a day and a half. Charging the phone from 0-100% using the cable and the adapter that came with the phone took around 1 hour 26 mins (when it’s turned off) and close to 2 hours (when it’s on standby mode), which is pretty long by today’s standard.
Rear Facing Camera
On the rear, we have a 16MP Sony sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 packed with a mono tone LED flash as well. The camera also comes with a support for Phase Detection Autofocus, which is good especially if you were to shoot a moving subject and get the focus instantaneously. The camera is definitely a huge step up comparing with it’s predecessor and with the new interface, it was much more cleaner and easier to navigate around, set up the way I want and snap a shot of an object.
The colors produced by the rear camera is flat and neutral. The details was pretty clear under a steady shot. The camera does not have an OIS, which means taking a picture of something while you’re on the move is going to be pretty challenging. And it was. Other than the lack of OIS, the camera was able to satisfy my basic requirement for a good shot. And below you can find some of the pictures that I took using the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro.
Front Facing Camera: The Main Highlight of Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro
The star of the show is definitely the front facing cameras. Yes, it comes with 2 cameras. We have a 24MP Sony IMX362 sensor which has an aperture of f/1.8, a 1/2.55″ sensor and 1.4 um pixel size. Whereas the second camera, is a 5MP Omnivision Sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and has a 1.12um pixel size. The primary camera has a 83 degree field of view whereas the secondary camera has a wider angle of 120 degrees.
As it’s a 24MP Camera, you can also shoot front facing 4K Selfie video which is definitely one of a kind. This would also be helpful for those who would want to VLOG and get a decent quality of video. Also the 24MP camera does take pretty good indoor selfies, which you can check it out below.
The 5MP Secondary Camera take a good wide angle shot. And you can fit in your whole group of people in a single shot, just like that. As much as I like the Wide Angle camera, the fact that it’s 5MP is kind of disappointing because under low light the quality drops drastically. The picture gets grainier. It’s a good camera to be used in the day light but not so much once the sun goes down. Sometimes the exposure tends to get blown out of proportion and it’s uneven. It looks like it’s a software issue and I hope it’ll be fixed in an upcoming update.
Overall, the camera department is a pretty subjective area. And if you know how to play with the lights and take the picture that you want, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is definitely a pro indeed.
In terms of connectivity, the phone has two SIM Slot and both supports 4G. The call quality was pretty clear and crisp. My parents and my friends were able to hear me loud and clear, thanks to the dual Microphone setup, where one of the microphone is a noise cancelling microphone. It also comes with Bluetooth v4.2 and goodness gracious, the phone has support for Qualcomm Aptx, which is amazing.
For wifi, it has a 802.11 b/g/n and it’s pretty fast. But I can’t say the same for Hotspot. When the Wi-Fi hotspot is turned on, every device that connects to the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro’s hotspot gets disconnected very often. Initially I thought, it was my laptop that gave the problem. But later I found out it wasn’t my laptop but the phone. I hope this get’s fixed in the upcoming update as well.
UI & OS
One thing that I personally was hoping for ASUS to improve is their UI. And this time, I would say that the Zen UI 4.0 is totally on another level and it’s exactly what I want. They’ve revamped the whole interface and made it look minimalist. The settings toggle looks pretty amazing and they’ve kept the customisable part of the UI intact. You can enable the Always-on Panel to show time even when the display is turned off and so on.
They’ve also included some security related options deep down in the settings called ZenUI Safeguard, which includes SOS and Report Location. Now these two options will trigger a location beacon and sends a live location to all your favorite contact.
Under ASUS customized settings, you have services like Twin Apps (to have two of the same app and have different account logged in), Page Marker (bookmark a part of the page while you browse) and Game Genie (Record your game play and your reaction). I hope sometime in the future, ASUS adds a dark mode where it turns the white to a black colored interface. This would play a huge impact on both the battery because it’ll save tons of power.
Apparently, the ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has support for Hi-Fidelity audio. And it comes with a 192kHz/24-bit support. Basically what it means is that your music quality is 4 times better than CD Quality. It also comes with DTS HeadPhone X, which gives you 7.1 Virtual Surround sound. The sound EQ was a bit off, and sometimes sounds tends to sound more high pitched rather maintaining a neutral sound.
Not only that, when I paired my Mi Sports Bluetooth earphones, the phone enabled Qualcomm APTx, which I didn’t expect at all. Qualcomm APTx, is an audio codec which enables you to stream audio to your bluetooth headphones with no compression or loss in quality. Basically, it will sound as if you listen to it via a wired 3.5mm headphone connected to the jack. And that got me amazed and excited.
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is a phone which has potential in all areas. And personally, there’s definitely a step up compared to it’s predecessor. Like the ZenUI, which looks a lot cleaner and secure, the new application interface and also a performance that’s pretty on point. Coming to the main star of the show, the camera is a huge deal breaker and most of it’s glitches could be solved with an update. Honestly, with the work that they’ve done so far to fine tune their smartphone, this shows that they’re indeed working for a persistent perfected device.
Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is going for RM 1,799 and you can pick up your very own right now. While there’s so many selfie-centric devices out in the market from various manufacturers, like Vivo V5+ which is retailing for RM 1,499 and Oppo offering their R9s for about RM 1,798, who’s battling for the Selfie King title. It’s safe to say, Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is a pretty good option for the price tag as well.