Review: Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro
Like it or not, believe it or not, Selfie focussed smartphones are doing really well. Oppo and Vivo might be leading the charge, but they aren’t the only ones here. Meet the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, the latest selfie focussed smartphone by Asus. But does this phone have more to offer? Or is it a one trick pony? Read on to find out.
You can also have a look at our video review, to get a better idea:
As soon as you unbox the AZ4SP, the strong solid built becomes evident. The device in hand feels premium. It’s very light in weight; weighing 147 grams. It is a metal unibody, powered by NMT. The device is also very thin; width measured at 6.85mm. There’s no USB-C port though. Sad. Instead, on the bottom, it has a standard micro-USB port at the center, with a single bottom-firing speaker to the right and the 3.5 mm headphone jack to the left, whose presence is much appreciated. On the left side is the SIM and microSD card combination slot. On the right side are the volume-rockers and power/lock button. The buttons are tactile and satisfying to press. The fingerprint scanner is located below the display at the center and capacitive buttons on either side of it. And, to protect that beautiful metal build, you get a silicon cover for the phone in the box.
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1080*1920) AMOLED display with 1.7mm slim bezel and over 100% NTSC high color gamut. Colors are nice and bright thanks to the high-contrast nature of AMOLED technology and the screen does a good job at getting very bright when faced with direct sunlight or other light sources. The edges are slightly curved with a 2.5D Gorilla glass to better ergonomics This display has features like 500nits brightness, Smudge-resistant oleophobic coating, and it even supports glove touch along with 10 points multi-touch. There’s get a blue-light filter in the notification shade to pamper your eyes while reading at night. Since this is an AMOLED panel, we get an Always-On Panel out-of-the-box, which allows users to check the date, time and some notifications even when their phone is on standby. This may increase the power consumption, but it will be disabled automatically when the battery is low. Overall, the display is decent.
At the heart, there lays a 64-bit, 2.0GHz, Octa-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and Adreno™ 506 GPU. This is the mid-range series of processors, that have a nice balance between performance and efficiency. The company claims that the fingerprint scanner unlocks the phone in 0.2 seconds, which is somewhat true. In the beginning, the scanner works flawlessly but after some days of moderate usage, there’s a slight delay in unlocking the phone using the fingerprint scanner. Though, it works perfectly, most of the times.
The phone has a feature called Power & Boost (lies under the notification shade), which on tapping releases memory and makes the device run faster. Out-of-the-box, we get an eMCP 64GB of storage, which is further expandable up to an additional 2TB via microSD card. Additionally, the user gets 100GB free space on Google Drive for the first year.
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is powered by Android™ 7.1.1 and painted with ZenUI 4.0. Earlier we have hated the software on previous Asus devices, and it seems like our prayers have been heard! Sort of. This ZenUI skin on this phone is a lot cleaner and faster than the Zenfone 3 series. It’s still a little away from Stock Android, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.
Let’s break down the ZenUI:
- Launcher: It is decent and fast enough. No lag experienced. The default icons may look ugly to some audience. For that, the ZenUI comes with Themes.
- Themes: There is a number of themes available. In short, Themes changes the overall look, right from the wallpaper to the icons. Most of the good themes are paid ones. So, I would rather suggest installing another launcher right from the Play Store.
- ZenUI Safeguard: This feature is for emergency situations. By enabling this, users can press the power button 3 times to send an SOS call to the desired emergency number and can also send the desired text message indicating user’s current location. Users can even report their location to emergency contacts by sharing their location track through SMS or IM app.
- Fingerprint Sensor: One can also use their fingerprint to answer incoming calls.
- ZenMotion: This includes touch gestures, motion gestures, and One Hand mode.
- Gallery: The built-in photo viewer app is almost like a Windows Start screen showing a slideshow of images under Album section.
- SelfieMaster: It lets you capture selfie photo/video, make collages, slideshows, and go live on apps like Facebook. This feature can be ignored coz most of the time I used camera app only for clicking selfies.
- Game Genie: Similar to Power & Boost, there’s a feature for gaming, called Game Genie, which allows a user to boost the performance, live-stream/record the game, automate input sequences, and much more. One can enable Lock Mode, which will lock the capacitive buttons, so that while gaming there’s no accidental exits. The gameplay can be live-streamed to platforms like YouTube and Twitch. One can also enable front camera while live-streaming/recording.
- Mobile Manager: It scans and improves the performance. It has several options like Power Master, which has ultimate power saving techniques; junk cleanup; and data saving.
- Page Marker: It lets a user bookmark a webpage and make it offline.
I feel, most of the features are useless. The built-in keyboard on this device is way ugly. I had to install GBoard.
Now, here comes the interesting part. Firstly, let us talk about the front camera(s). The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has a dual-camera setup on the front.
The primary front camera comes with a 1/2.55-inch 12 MP Sony IMX362 sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a pixel size of 1.4 microns. The secondary front camera comes with 5MP OmniVision sensor and can capture super wide 120° selfies.
Asus claims that the front 12MP camera uses the DuoPixel technology to extrapolate the 12MP images to 24MP size to give you more details. I didn’t really see much value in keeping the DuoPixel mode on always, as it takes some time to process and doesn’t add that much of an improvement to the image which would otherwise be a 12 MP shot. The Sony sensor is a dual pixel sensor which allows Asus to get a 24MP image. The image processing task is divided between the Asus SuperPixel chip and the Snapdragon 625 chipset.
The Beauty mode is another gimmick, making the user look more beautiful. It works fine in well-lit conditions but in low-light, it may look fake sometimes.
Talking about the video, the front camera(s) can record in 4K 30fps and FHD 60fps, which is impressive. And yeah, there’s also a small front-flash to shoot selfies in dark, possible.
Features like Selfie Panorama, GIF animation, and 9 various filters are also worth mentioning.
Coming onto the rear side, we get a 16MP basic camera with a single-LED flash. This one also has Asus’s SuperPixel image processor. There’s also some Super Resolution feature which lets you capture 64MP images. Yes, you read it correctly. It’s 64 megapixels! Don’t get too much excited. Honestly, I have never seen any quality difference between a normal click and a Super Resolution click. It just increases the number of pixels but the quality remains the same.
Worth mentioning features are Beauty (the same one which you’ll find on the front camera), Pro (RAW file support / up to 32 seconds long exposure), GIF animation, Panorama, Slo motion (720p at 120fps), Time Lapse (it also comes with a power saving option), and 9 various filters.
The rear camera can also record video in 4K 30fps and FHD 60fps.
There is EIS and portrait mode for both the front and the rear camera. The portrait mode blurs out the background quite well in the case of front cameras (thanks to the dual-camera setup) whereas, in the case of the rear camera, it uses software to blur out the background. Though, you will notice a certain amount of lag when using portrait mode.
The audio output from this device is quite impressive. The speaker is made up of a 5-magnet speaker with NXP Smart Amp.
The phone features Hi-Res audio (192kHz/24-bit standard that is 4 times better than CD quality); DTS Headphone:X™ 7.1 virtual surround sound for headphone support; Audio CODEC integrated into PMIC; Dual internal microphones with ASUS Noise Reduction Technology; FM Radio.
The phone comes with ZenEar headphones, which are decent. There’s also an Outdoor Mode to make the audio output louder. Additionally, many tweaks can be done on AudioWizard. While using headphones, I would prefer to configure the Listening Profile under AudioWizard, for a better experience.
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro can deliver a day of power at ease. Though it houses a 3,000mAh battery, you can still get more power using various power-saving options which are provided by ZenUI. It has a micro-USB port to charge the phone. And, it also supports, fast charging. The battery life is not a powerhouse, obviously, but it’s decent. I hope you get the point.
At the end, this phone is made for selfie lovers but it can be used by a normal person too. The price tag of ₹23,999 seems a bit expensive. You’ll love this device if you’re a selfie lover. It’s difficult for me to recommend this phone to normal people, considering the price.
This segment has a few other interesting entrants, which are going to give the AZ4SP a run for its money.