With Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe positioned at the flagship category, it’s no doubt that it faces fiercer competition likes of the Galaxy S, iPhone, and Xperia. So how do the new Deluxe fares against other flagship phones? We put it on a comparison and camera review versus the iPhone 7 Plus to find out.
Design and build
It’s the first time that Asus has stepped into an all metal build with their Zenfone lineups. The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe does not only features the sleek and tapered aluminum unibody, it also boasts the “invisible antenna lines” that’s first of its kind. Meanwhile, the iPhone 7 Plus is a small change from the iPhone 6s Plus as the company retains the chunky form sans headphone jack.
Up front is a flat panel with a familiar look for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. The chin houses the three capacitive backlit keys on a spun metal finish. The overall handling of the Deluxe is slender and comfortable, thanks to the tapered back and rounded sides.On the back is again a familiar affair with the square camera hump positioned on top of the fingerprint scanner.
On the back is again a familiar affair with the square camera hump positioned on top of the fingerprint scanner. It’s like a mixed of the back of Zenfone 3 and the Galaxy S6. Nonetheless, the phone remains premium with the best build we’ve encountered so far.
For the iPhone 7 Plus, the addition of the IP67 water resistant means that the company has caught up with Galaxy and Xperia which both featured the waterproofing for many years now.
There’s really no exciting or notable aesthetic changes on the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s pretty much the same as last year including the size and weight aside from the exclusion of the 3.5mm audio jack and the addition of the another speaker on the earpiece side.
So choosing between the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe and iPhone 7 Plus for a better-looking phone only comes down to user preference. For extra ports and flexibility, go for the Deluxe while go for the iPhone 7 Plus if you’re looking for water resistant phone that packs genuine dual speakers.
Packing a 5.7-inch Full HD 1080p Super AMOLED, the quality on the Deluxe’s display is top class despite the slightly above Retina level. But technically, the iPhone 7 Plus’ 5.5-inch IPS LCD with the same 1080p resolution offers extra pixels due to a smaller panel. It’s only that the sharpness difference is hardly noticeable.
Overall, we have two different class of displays here. Both are exceptional with iPhone 7 Plus leaning on the wider gamut and more accurate rendition while the Zenfone 3 Deluxe for more vivid colors and deeper black levels. And yes, both are scratch resistant with the former having the proprietary Ion-strengthened glass and the latter on Gorilla Glass 4.
Both camera setups here are fairly new. The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe sports a new 23MP f2.0 Sony IMX sensor paired with an OIS. Meanwhile, the iPhone 7 Plus has a dual lens, dual 12MP cameras on the back. The other sensor is the main one with f1.8 lens and the next is f2.8 one that’s specifically designed for the zoom-in mode when shooting.
In terms of quality, the iPhone 7 Plus takes the cake in daylight shooting because of the extra crispness and wider dynamic range handling. The colors on the iPhone 7 Plus is slightly paler over the saturated photos from the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. There’s also a slight difference in detail preservation but it’s more of user preference between a crispy and smooth output.
On night shooting, we noticed how the Zenfone camera edges out the iPhone. The colors are preferably more natural and the noise level is less apparent over the bright but noisy shots of the latter.
We noticed that the Deluxe’s image processing is not standard in all its shots even in well-lit scenarios. On which only means Asus will have to gradually improve the algorithms on its shooter over software updates. But so far, the new 23MP on the Deluxe is a solid performer and camera.
The selfie 8MP selfie camera on the Deluxe produces wider portrait photos whereas the natural color on the iPhone 7’s 7MP selfie camera makes up for the narrow shooting angle and lack of beautification options.
Both shoot up to 4K video and support OIS. Just expect the same quality from their stills and perhaps a better night shooting on the Zenfone due to the extra night mode.
Performance and benchmark
We’re comparing two different platforms here. The A10 Fusion chip and 3GB RAM beat the Snapdragon 820 and 6GB in papers by some 20k margin in Antutu benchmark. However, actual performance is fast and snappy for either hardware and despite some bloatware and hefty skinned UI on the Zenfone flagship device.
Battery and charging
The iPhone 7 Plus lasts longer in our battery test with its 2900mAh battery than on the 3000mAh on Zenfone 3 Deluxe. The difference is just a few hours in endurance rating and an hour in screen on time. But considerably, battery life ratings on both are above average with iPhone 7 Plus at the solid position.
Apple again disappoints in charging features on its new iPhone 7 series as neither model features fast charging. The bigger iPhone takes about 3 hours to fill using its 1A adapter whereas the Deluxe 3 could be fully charged at sub 1 hour and 20 minutes, thanks to Quick Charge 3.0.
The new iPhones sport dual speakers that are separately positioned at the bottom and another on top. This results to stronger bass and crisp vocals with the volume output higher than on mono speaker of Zenfone 3 Deluxe. However, speaker on the latter is still noticeably clear. It also gets a high-res 24bit upscaling inside which can be taken advantage using audio accessories.
Pricing and verdict
It’s no doubt that Asus produced a genuine premium and flagship Android phone this time, and that’s none other than the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. Although it lacks waterproofing, the Deluxe easily delivers our expectations and even matches some of the offerings from the more expensive iPhone 7 Plus.
So if we were to pick a winner here, that would be the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. That’s because of its more affordable price at P34,995 ($730) over most of its rivals including the new iPhone 7 Plus at roughly P49,900 ($1030) price for the 128GB model as of this writing. But if you’re not restricted with money, the latest iPhone does not disappoint and it’s worth an upgrade.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe
|Display||5.5-inch 1080p FHD IPS LCD, 401ppi||5.7-inch 1080p FHD Super AMOLED, 386 ppi|
|Design||Unibody metal, 2.5D Scratch-resistant glass||Unibody metal, Gorilla Glass 4|
|Chipset||A10 Fusion quad-core (high-end chip for late 2016)||Snapdragon 820 quad-core (high-end chip for early 2016)|
|CPU||Quad core at 2.23GHz speed||Kryo core at 2GHz|
|Chipset||Hexacore graphics||Adreno 530 graphics|
|Memory||3GB RAM, 32/128/256GB internal||6GB RAM, 64/128GB internal storage, 256GB microSD (hybrid)|
|Camera||12MP f1.8 dual cameras, quad LED flash, 4K video, OIS||23MP f2.0, dual tone LED flash, 4K video, OIS, laser focus|
|Selfie||7MP f2.2||8MP f2.0|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC (Apple Pay)||Dual SIM, 4G LTE, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC|
|Security||Fingerprint scanner||Fingerprint scanner|
|OS||iOS 10||Android 6.0 Marshmallow, ZEN UI|
|Battery||2900mAh battery capacity||3000mAh battery capacity, Quick Charge 3.0|
|Ports and charging||Lightning port||USB Type-C, USB OTG|
|Audio||Dual speakers, standard audio||Mono speaker, high-res 24bit|
|Release Date||September 2016 availability in the Philippines||October 2016 availability in the Philippines|
|Official price||Price starts at $769 for unlocked model (32GB model) before taxes or about P43,990 in the Philippines | P49,990 (128GB) | P54,990 (256GB model)||P34,995 6+64GB model (US$730) in Asus PH / online stores|