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ASUS Zenfone 3 Deluxe Hands-on, First Impressions: Meet The Beast

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We go hands-on with the Zenfone 3 Deluxe!

ASUS raised the stakes when it released the Zenfone 2 last year. At the time it was the first phone to ever have 4GB of RAM on board, which gave the company a lot of marketing street cred that helped them bolster their smartphone chops. While they were a little late to the party this year to claim the title of the first Android smartphone to have 6GB of RAM, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe is still an impressive smartphone, especially considering its projected retail price that’s far below its other competitors.

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ASUS Zenfone 3 Deluxe specs

  • Qualcom, Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch full HD AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB storage, expandable via microSD card
  • 23-megapixe rear camera, Sony IMX318 sensor, 6-element lens, laser AF, PDAF
  • 8-megapixel front facing camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB Type-C, Fingerprint scanner
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow, ZenUI 3.0
  • 3000mAh battery

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Initial impressions: beastly internals, beautiful externals

ASUS has managed to impress us with the build quality of both the Zenfone 3 and the Zenfone 3 Ultra. It only made sense that the Zenfone 3 Deluxe would be the best looking of the bunch. The phone sports a unibody, all metal design that has zero trace of unsightly antenna lines anywhere. It’s a fantastic change from the previous generation, one that’s truly befitting of a flagship smartphone.

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The phone uses a 5.7-inch AMOLED display, though fans of QHD will have to settle with full HD. The panel was crisp and nice to look at, and had deep blacks and really nice colors.

There’s still traces of the ASUS Zenfone pedigree though. The back of the phone has a gentle curve to it that’s reminiscent of the one on the Zenfone 2. The chin of the device still has that spun, metallic Zen-inspired desing that has become the hallmark of the series. ASUS has completely eliminated the rear key setup on the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, opting for a traditional key layout. That space has been filled by a fingerprint scanner.

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The rear of the phone holds the fingerprint scanner, as well as the 23-megapixel Sony IMX318 sensor that’s decked out with a 6 element lens, 4K capability and sapphire glass protection. There’s also PDAF and Laser AF (now in its second generation) as well to keep everything nice and focused.

Inside the phone are specs that would make any flagship green with envy – a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, massive 6GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage (which is further expandable to 128GB) and Android Marshmallow. A 3000mAh battery keeps everything running, and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 can take the phone from 0 to 100 in to time at all.

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It’s safe to say that ASUS has a potential winner with the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. There’s really a definite difference in hardware and design to differentiate it from the Zenfone 3, something that the original Deluxe lacked when it launched last year. At $499 for the base model, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe may be the next hit that ASUS has been looking for.

Check out our quick hands-on with the device while we were visiting the ASUS booth at COMPUTEX 2016:

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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