The audience for selfie-centric smartphones is growing, and it is clearly evident looking at the sales of Oppo and Vivo smartphones that tout selfie-centric features. Other smartphone brands are also trying to equip their smartphones with high-resolution front cameras. Asus has fired its latest shots in the selfie-smartphone fight with its new Zenfone 4 Selfie and Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro smartphones.
The Asus Zenfone line-up has always had a selfie-centric smartphone, but one of the key highlights of the new smartphones is the dual-camera setup at the front for portrait and wide-angle selfies. We have with us today the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro smartphone for review, and it is priced at Rs 23,999. The smartphone will compete with other front dual-camera smartphones such as the Vivo V7+ Plus, the Oppo F3 and the Oppo F3 Plus. But does the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro have enough to make for a good enough option for selfie lovers? I review to find out.
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro: Cameras
Let’s first talk about the dual-camera setup at the front first. The setup includes a 24-megapixel DuoPixel lens of aperture f/1.8 and a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens of aperture f/2.2. With the 24-megapixel (DuoPixel) resolution turned on, the camera allows you to take standard and wide-angle photos for your selfies and groupfies. ALSO READ: Asus Zenfone AR review: A sneak peek into an exciting future!
By default, the front camera resolution is set to 12-megapixel, and enables the portrait mode, allowing you to add DSLR-like blur background effects to your selfies. You can head over to the settings and turn on 24-megapixel DuoPixel mode, but after switching to this mode, you won’t get the portrait mode option. The front cameras are also supplemented with a soft light LED flash to help you capture better photos in low-light.
Now, with all that being said, what really matters is the photo quality. Well, the Zenfone Selfie 4 Pro usually doesn’t disappoint. In bright outdoor lighting, the front cameras are able to capture good photos with enough details. The ones shot in 24-megapixel resolution look detailed, but the skin tones turn out to be slightly darker. The ones shot in 12-megapixel resolution turn out to be a bit more natural, but you can quickly notice the slight loss in quality. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 Plus Review
Turning on the portrait mode lets you add DSLR-like background blur effects to your selfies, and it works in both, standard and wide-angle modes. It is able to accurately detect the subject and blur the background in standard mode, but again, in wide-angle mode, the photos look slightly washed out. But that is primarily due to the drop in resolution to 5-megapixel, so nothing much to complain about. The loss of quality is clearly evident when you compare the standard and wide-angle photos. Check out sample shots below.
In low-light conditions, the camera is able to take decent photos, but they look a little grainy too. The portrait mode also works decently to keep the subject in focus and the rest of the background blurred. Below are some sample shots. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 Plus dual-selfie camera review
At the back, the smartphone comes with a 16-megapixel camera which is capable of taking good photos, be it in bright outdoor conditions or indoors. I won’t say the quality is the best, but there is nothing to complain about. Find below some sample shots clicked on the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro.
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro: Design, software, performance and battery life
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro comes with a full metal unibody design, all packed in a slim form factor. The smartphone is slick and lightweight too. The front is dominated with a 5.5-inch full HD display, above which you have the dual camera modules, earpiece, proximity sensor and an LED flash.
Just below the display, you have the non-clickable home button flanked by the capacitive Android navigation buttons for back and app switcher. The home button is integrated with a fingerprint sensor, which is quick in unlocking the smartphone. The back of the smartphone is clean and just houses the camera module and an LED flash in the upper half. The antenna bands are visible across the top and bottom half. ALSO READ: Oppo F3 Review: The one for your selfies and groupfies
The dual SIM card tray (hybrid slot) is on the left, whereas the volume rocker and power / sleep buttons are on the right. Along the bottom, you have the 3.5mm audio jack and a microUSB port.
In terms of software, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Asus ZenUI running on top. One good thing this time around is that Asus has gotten rid of excessive bloatware apps and it comes pre-installed with minimum Asus apps. The once that you get are Mobile Manager to clear background apps, clean cache and adjust power saver mode settings. There are Go2Pay and WebStorage apps that you can uninstall, and the rest are Google apps, such as Search, Chrome, Calendar, Sheets, Slides and Docs.
At the heart of the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC, which is built on 14nm process. The chipset is optimized to offer the right balance between power and efficiency. It is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB expandable storage. During my week-long usage, I did not come across any major issues with the smartphone’s performance. Even with me constantly switching between Slack, WhatsApp and Google Chrome, with a few applications running in the background, there was no lag at all.
Gaming performance was good with casual games such as Temple Run, Subway Surfers, and Angry Birds. Graphics intense games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne runs smoothly too. However, after continuously playing it for 15 minutes or more, slightly framing is noticeable and the device tends to get a little warm too. ALSO READ: Oppo F3 Plus Review: The rise of the ‘selfie’ flagship
In the battery department, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is equipped with a 3,000mAh battery with support for fast charging. It is a 5V (2A) charger which tops up the battery to full in about an hour and 30 minutes. And with moderate usage, the phone easily sails through the day, with a little over 30 percent battery to spare. On a more heavier usage, I had to put it on charge by the evening at around 5PM, just to ensure I have enough battery left while reaching home.
The Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro comes with a sleek and slim design, along with good hardware. The dual cameras, which is the highlight of the smartphone does a fairly good job in letting you click standard, portrait shots, and decent wide-angle selfies. The photo quality is good, but all depends on the kind of lighting conditions you get. The overall performance of the smartphone is good too, and the battery life is also pretty decent.
However, at Rs 23,999, I feel the smartphone is a bit overpriced, especially considering it is an online exclusive. Otherwise, the Oppo F3 or Vivo V5 Plus are other options that are not bad either. The Oppo F3 comes with a dual front camera setup – standard and wide-angle lens, and it is priced at Rs 18,990. The Vivo V5 Plus, on the other hand, comes with a 20-megapixel sensor supplemented with a depth sensor to add DSLR-like blur effects to your selfies. It is priced at Rs 21,990.