Taiwanese PC and phone maker Asus’s newest smartphone in the ZenFone series is called the ZenFone 3 Laser, and this is the successor to last year’s ZenFone 2 Laser. Incidentally, the ZenFone 2 Laser was available in two variants— the Rs.9,999 option offered a 5.5-inch 720p display and the Rs.14,999 variant had a 6-inch Full HD display.
This year, things are a bit more simplified, and the Laser 3 has single variant as of now which will be available on Flipkart.com for Rs.18,999.
A touch of metal
The new smartphone has a unibody metallic exterior, which gives it a more premium look and feel than its predecessor, which is entirely made of plastic and has removable cover too. The new phone also has a flat back design. The curved back design was one of the highlights of the Laser 2. Also, the keys are now placed along the side panel, unlike the Laser 2 in which the power and volume keys are placed on the back panel.
The new phone has been equipped with some of the elements expected of a modern day smartphone. With the finger-print sensor, a feature Laser 2 didn’t have, one can unlock the lock screen almost instantly. While Laser 3 has retained the traditional microUSB connector and supports 4G, the availability of VoLTE calling makes it a tad better.
The new phone runs on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor, which is technically more powerful than the Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor used in the low cost variant of ZenFone 2 Laser but is not in the same league as the Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor that powers the higher priced variant of ZenFone 2 Laser.
Big screen rules
The new smartphone comes with a 5.5-inch display with 1,920x1,080p resolution. This gives it an edge only over the 5.5-icnh 1280x720p display based ZenFone 2 Laser. The bigger variant of the predecessor offers bigger 6-inch display with an equivalent 1,920x1,080p resolution. The other advantage the predecessor enjoys is the version of Gorilla Glass used in them. Both of the ZenFone 2 Laser phones have the more rugged Gorilla Glass 4 while the successor comes with Gorilla Glass 3 only.
Minor changes in camera
The key selling point of the Laser smartphone is the camera. The new phone’s camera is still a 13-megapixel affair, uses the same Sony IMX214 sensor and the laser auto-focus technology which allows camera to lock focus on an object in less than 0.03 seconds.
What makes it a better bet is some new camera modes and options in the camera such as 3s axis electronic image stabilisation (it minimises shake during video recording), (low-light mode, super resolution mode ( it take shots in 4 times the original resolution of the camera).
New Android with the improved UI
The ZenFone 3 Laser runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) which is fairly new OS compared to the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) version running in both its predecessor. There are improvements to Asus’ proprietary custom ZenUI running over Android as well, with lesser preloaded apps, better grouping of features and general snappiness in response. However, visually, the differences are initially hard to spot.