Multimedia Powerhouse: A supersize phablet worthy of its name
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Multimedia Powerhouse: A supersize phablet worthy of its name




Ladies and gents, the powerhouse device we are referring to is . . .


The Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra


Alright, we might be late in the game already, sorry about that, but you might want still to take a look at our findings with this supersize phablet from the Taiwanese phone maker. The Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra (Zf3 Ultra) was one of the three flagship devices launched at the 2016 Computex in Taipei.

Build and Design

Holding the massive 6.8-inch phablet won’t disappoint you, in fact, you might be overwhelmed and you end up just holding the device the entire time because it is huge.

It has a solid unibody design with one physical button in front which doubles as the fingerprint scanner. It is flanked by a backlighted capacitive buttons. The power button is on the right while the volume rocker is awkwardly positioned at the back.

Asus made the best effort in concealing the antenna lines in this device. What you’ll see is only the plain solid back with the 23MP shooter, laser AF and dual-LED flash in the upper left area at the back.

Not as big as the iPad mini, but not as small as the Zenfone 3 either.

Before we proceed further and if you are planning to buy the Zf3 Ultra, here’s how the packaging looks like. By the way, even the packaging looks top notch premium, it is like you are buying a high-end watch.

Unboxing

Inside that premium box is equally premium accessories like the microUSB cable, wall charger, and the ZenEar. It is not your ordinary accessories found in the usual smartphone box. It is properly wrapped and the material used are a high-grade type of materials.

Zenfone 3 Ultra specs

6.8-inch Full HD IPS display, 324ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core CPU
Adreno 510 GPU
4GB + 64GB
Hybrid microSD support up to 200GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
23MP rear camera w/ Laser & PDAF AF, 4-axis OIS, dual-LED flash
8MP front camera
4G LTE Cat. 6
Dual-SIM (Nano + Micro)
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
FM Radio
USB Type-C
Fingerprint scanner
Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ ZenUI 3.0
4,600mAh battery w/ Quick Charge, Power Bank Mode
186.4 x 93.9 x 6.8 mm
233 g
Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray, Metallic Pink

Display and UI

The word massive will be abused in this review. The display is 6.8-inches and if you stretch your thumb and middle finger to measure it, you still have few millimeters left. That’s how big the device is. And with its full HD display at 324ppi, what you get is super clear bright display. You will surely enjoy watching your favorite series in Netflix neither you will stop watching DIY videos on YouTube.

UI is the same experience as the Zenfone 3. It has ZenUI with Android 6.0 at the background. It has the same loads of pre-installed apps. You can disable some that can’t be uninstalled, hide it if you want.

So that you have an idea about the display, here’s a comparison photo of the Zenfone 3 and the Ultra.

Again, the Zf3 Ultra is not as big as the iPad mini, but not as small as the Zenfone 3 either.

Battery

So that you have peace of mind, the Zf3 Ultra has 4,600mAh battery equipped with Quick Charge using its owner-supplied wall charger and can act as  Power Bank Mode if your beshie turns low battery in your hike to the mountains.

That’s how we describe the battery performance of the Zf3 Ultra.

Camera

The Zf3 Ultra’s main camera has 23MP with laser AF and dual-LED flash attached to it. The front-facing camera has 8MP too.

I think this is where ASUS tamed the Zf3 Ultra or fall short. While the main camera takes good photos, just like the Zenfone 3, we did not see excellent shots in our series of photos taken with it.

To address the technical side of it, a photo taken by the 23MP shooter has an average file size of 3MB and 5332 × 3000 pixels.

Here are the samples.

The 8MP front camera’s file is 1.9MB and the resolution is 3264 × 2448 pixels.

Verdict

You have probably seen a lot of reviews of the Zenfone 3 Ultra, then again, let us share our thoughts about this device.

This is a massive phablet at 6.8-inches and is uncomfortable to use it in your usual one-hand operation. The other hand has to assist.

Let’s take you the layout and button placements first. While the fingerprint scanner delivered 9/10 accuracy, and the capacitive buttons are backlighted, what we found weird is the placement of the volume rocker at the back.  If the whole point is for the index finger to easily reach it, then it would have been perfect to relocate the fingerprint scanner there too.

Audio playback is loud! Yes, you can even use this for a group presentation, the whole participants will hear the audio clearly and the people on the next table can still listen. And if you are watching Youtube tutorials in the evening before you sleep, we suggest that you use a Bluetooth headphone because you might get a slap from your wife. She will be disturbed of the loud audio.

Solid build is solid, and it will be a head turner if you take it out of your purse and answer a call from your boss.

Is it worth it as the SRP of P32,995?

Now let’s talk about your budget. This phablet’s SRP can already score you a really good laptop, so to speak. Or add few more bucks and buy two Zenfone 3 for yourself and your wife.

All things said the Zenfone 3 Ultra is one hell of a multimedia device. You get a great camera, beautiful, bright and crisp display, loud speaker, solid build and long battery life!




  • Design & Build5.0
  • Display5.0
  • Camera4.8
  • Performance4.8
  • Price3.5
  • Battery4.0
4.5Overall Score
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