ASUS Zenfone 4 (Snapdragon 660) Review – Is It Worth $550?

ASUS Zenfone 4 (Snapdragon 660) Review – Is It Worth $550?

1
SHARE

After being officially unveiled almost a month ago at Taiwan then the Philippines two days after, the Zenfone 4 is finally up for retail. It wasn’t the beast that we expected, but putting it through the paces says a lot about how ASUS went with their fourth series of Zenfones.

What’s In The Box?

Out of the box, ASUS’s generosity is flowing.

ASUS Zenfone 4’s included accessories:

  • 3.5mm in-ear headset
  • Eartip replacements
  • 10-18W variable USB power adapter
  • 1m USB Type-C cable
  • Soft Jelly Case
  • SIM ejector pin

Design

Being the first vanilla version at a rather higher asking price than the usual, ASUS definitely gave their all in the design phase. Without ditching ASUS aesthetics, the fourth Zenfone strides gracefully.

As nondescript as the front may be, it is accentuated with the subtle, reflective chamfered edges that are also present on the back. The sides are a hit-or-miss due to its convex contour. Somehow, it makes the grip better, but only on that part as the back is also covered with Gorilla Glass 4. The flat back is a nice addition even with its dual lens setup.

The sim tray is a hybrid single-tray with an option for expandable storage or a second SIM. The Type-C port is sandwiched between the speaker grille and 3.5mm audio port.

 

Display

Despite having an AMOLED panel, color accuracy is all over the place. Brightness too is a bit on the lower side compared to the likes of OnePlus 5’s display. Looking at it from a vertical angle will show the naturally warm tint of the display, making whites inaccurate.

Calibration can be done to a certain extent and the warmness can be minimized with the temperature fully on cold.

For multimedia consumption and gaming, it is good in itself.

ROM/UX

As ZenUI 4.0 was released alongside the Zenfone 4 series, I feel like ASUS had split its attention between their new Zenfone series and ZenUI. Even though most of the bloatware has been removed, interfacing with the ZenUI 4.0 is still tedious. I wish they applied the intuitive home screen interface introduced for Nougat.

What ASUS lacked in user experience made up for their Camera’s UI. Honestly, I’m impressed by how much it has changed by having three main one-swipe windows. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but actually, it’s the opposite. Everything most users may need in the camera app is one to two taps away, and I couldn’t ask for more. Some may find this to be a bit clunky or cluttered, but it’s worth a look.

Cameras

Phone Rear Camera Front Camera
ASUS Zenfone 4 Dual 12 MP (Sony IMX362), f/1.8 + 8 MP (OmniVision 8856), f/2.2, 25mm, 120-degree VA, Dual Pixel autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash

Video recording: 2160p@30fps, 720p@120fps

8 MP (OmniVision 8856), f/2.0, 84-degree VA

Video recording: up to 1080p@30fps

Sony’s flagship IMX 362 is the 12MP f/1.8 non-wide angle lens which does considerably well in general use. Yes, it does produce well-lit images in low-lighting scenarios but details are then lost in the process. The 8MP wide-angle lens works but then again is a downer in details. Colors, however, are a redeeming factor. The 4-axis stabilization for image captures is really commendable, along with .03s dual-pixel phase detection autofocus time – the world’s fastest.

Videos taken on both rear and front cameras are virtually shake-free, thanks to the 3-axis EIS.

For the best-looking you, Selfie Master is available for use and also allows live streaming to YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram directly from the app.

Performance

SPECS ASUS Zenfone 4
Display [1920×1080]
5.5″, AMOLED, ~401ppi
Size 155.4 x 75.2 x 7.7 mm, 165g
Design Metal frame, Gorilla Glass 4 front and back
Colors Black, Warm Silver, Moonlit Blue, Venus Pink
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
Processor Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex A53)
Graphics Adreno 508
Memory 4GB RAM, 64GB internal, <256GB microSD
Connectivity GSM/HSPA/LTE
WiFi ac, Bt 4.2, A2DP, LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC
OS Android 7.1
Software ZenUI 4.0
Battery Non-removable 3300mAh Li-Ion battery
Official Price PhP 27,500
Availability date September 2017
Where to buy ASUS Stores and authorized retailers

Now here’s the interesting part, ASUS competitively priced the vanilla Zenfone 4 at $550. The SD 630 and Adreno 508 duo is well enough, at least on paper, for breaking the entry point of high-end smartphones.

BENCHMARKS

Benchmark ASUS Zenfone 4
AnTuTu 5815
(~4.09pts/PhP)
Geekbench
(Single Core)
1611
Geekbench
(Multicore)
5815
PCMark Work 2.0 6277
Androbench RR: 55.2MB/s
RW: 15.63MB/s
ManilaShaker Battery Rating 44h 48m
Charging Time (0-100%) 2h 54m

The specifications live up to their worth, so to say. Gaming is a treat on the Zenfone 4, and the response is incredible. The fingerprint scanner works in a flash, which might make you think that it runs on magic.

Battery life is also surprising, but for some reason, charging time was too much. The 10W limit they imposed crippled the Zenfone 4’s charging time, as is the case with its siblings.

Audio

Speakers on a Zenfone were never given that much focus on, and the Zenfone 4 is no exception. Mids still float a lot, especially when Outdoor Mode is turned on. AudioWizard does its magic to some extent, which is then amplified when a headphone or IEM is plugged into the phone. Intuitiveness and ease of access are prioritized with the design and note that AudioWizard is integrated with the phone’s Audio settings.

To mention, the same level of fine-tuning can be found in advanced music player apps, like Poweramp.

Verdict – Zenfone 5 or V Just Got Announced, So..

No, I’m not telling you to wait for Zenfone V, that’d be ridiculous. But wait, there’s more! Personally, I find that ASUS gave the Zenfone 4 a love-it-or-hate-it relationship with their obvious focus on their mid-range contenders, the Zenfone 4 Selfie and Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro. The features it has not necessarily outweigh one another, but it would have been really great if ASUS retails this for below $500.

Summing it all up,

Pros:

  • Design
  • Camera features
  • Included Accessories
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great performance

Cons:

  • Long charging time
  • Warm-colored display
  • Substandard speakers
  • pickaboo

    I hate how asus calls sd 600 series equipped phones as their flagship phones.