A few weeks after having offered us the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, Asus is launching a second version which incorporates a major innovation: a Snapdragon 821 clocked at 2.4 GHz, which replaces the Snapdragon 820 clocked at 2.15 Ghz. The storage capacity (expandable in microSD) goes from its side to 256 GB. For the rest, nothing changes. We find the same metal design and the huge 5.7 inch screen. The price rises accordingly, reaching 799 euros.
A screen to match
Despite its very large format, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe remains comfortable to take in hand. It barely exceeds 160 grams, for a thickness of 7.5 mm and a total surface area smaller than that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5 inches), thanks to its screen borders of reasonable size. At the back is the angular design by Asus, with a square photo sensor that overlooks a rectangular fingerprint sensor. At the front, the screen occupies 72% of the front. A ratio equivalent to that of a OnePlus 3T or a Huawei P10 Plus. No physical button is present. To navigate, you will have to do with three capacitive buttons drawn on the hull. There will therefore be no question of changing its layout. We find the usual USB Type-C ports and jack on the lower and upper edges of the smartphone.
As OnePlus did with its OnePlus 3T, Asus limits the screen definition to Full HD. On a 5.7 inch screen, this gives a resolution of 386 ppi. A sufficient number every day, but located in the low range of what we can accept from such an expensive device. The display quality is also excellent, in part thanks to Amoled technology. The contrast ratio is infinite and the brightness rises to 522 cd / m². Although it sometimes tends to capture reflections, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe is therefore very pleasant to look at both indoors and outdoors and its readability is satisfactory.
Two speed power
If you like sobriety and Material Design, you still won’t be convinced by the ZenUI 2.0 overlay, based… on Android Marshmallow. A negative point for a premium device. If it offers some appreciable tools allowing – among others – to better manage the performance of the smartphone, it suffers from a big overload of preinstalled applications. From the first ignition, the user is faced with many apps (signed Asus or by its partners) that he will quickly delete. A big cleaning and an aesthetic overhaul would not be too much.
You must also look in one of the in-house applications (called “Mobile Manager”) to activate the “Super Acceleration” mode. This option will be essential to get the most out of the Snapdragon 821. For example, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe climbs to more than 155,000 points under AnTuTu 6 in this mode, against less than 138,000 points by default – which is lower than the score of the version equipped with the Snapdragon 820. We have verified that none of the processor cores was disabled by the manufacturer in normal mode. It would therefore seem that the performances are slightly restrained, surely to preserve autonomy.
Basically, this is not a problem. By default, the Zenfone 3 Deluxe behaves very well in everyday use as in the game. We were able to play – pushing the graphic details to the maximum – titles like Riptide GP: Renegade or Asphalt Xtreme in d ‘excellent conditions. The “Super Acceleration” mode will especially benefit the most frequent players. In one configuration as in the other, the device did not suffer from any heating.
Always convincing in photos
To rate the smartphone, we have retained its AnTuTu score in default mode (the lowest therefore), as it will be used by the majority of users. If performance is slightly behind – but enough to give it the maximum score, it leads to increased endurance compared to the Deluxe version equipped with the Snapdragon 820. The 3,000 mAh battery allowed the Zenfone 3 Deluxe to last 8:02 according to our versatile autonomy routine, against 7h23 for the declination reviewed a few weeks ago. A discrepancy that could make a difference at the end of the evening, but insufficient to avoid the recharging box when you return home.
Reviewed at the end of 2016, the first version of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe had delivered an excellent photo service, going so far as to rank second in our ranking of the best photo smartphones. We find the same qualities, with excellent shots in good light conditions. The image sharpness is excellent and the 23 megapixel sensor is well managed. The result is satisfactory in low light. As a bonus, the photo app is complete and easy to use. Video stabilization is excellent, although there are some jerks.
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