The concept of front camera in phones dates back to the time when mobile phone makers were toying with the idea of internet-enabled devices with video call features. But the front camera’s journey has come a long way since: What used to be a video camera with pixelated output is now much more advanced and packed with robust features to meet millennials’ growing demand for tools that help them stay updated on social media platforms.
Taiwanese electronics giant Asus
is among the smartphone makers that have taken the front camera game very seriously and are innovating to make it even better. With the announcement of the Zenfone 4 Selfie series, the company has brought to the table two smartphones with dual selfie cameras – the Asus
Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro and Asus
Zenfone 4 Selfie (dual camera). Also announced recently was an entry-level smartphone with software-based enhancements for the front camera.
reviewed the dual-front-camera variant of the Zenfone 4 Selfie to test its camera capabilities, besides the overall smartphone performance. Here are our observations:
The Zenfone 4 Selfie sports a dual-front-camera set-up with a high-resolution 20-megapixel lens and a wide-angle 8MP lens. Unlike other dual-camera smartphones, the Zenfone 4 Selfie does not use both the sensors at the same time in most cases. Rather, it allows you to choose either the 20-megapixel shooter for detailed photo output with limited point of field, or a wide-angle shooter to capture more objects in the frame. In the portrait mode, both the sensors work in tandem to create the bokeh effect, which focuses on the subject and blurs the background.
The images captured using the 20-megapixel front shooter comes out sharp and have a lot of details. The soft flashlight assists in getting clear low-light shots but limits the use only to selfies. The 8MP sensor sports a 120-degree wide angle lens that manages to cover a group of up to five people in one frame. The overall picture quality does take a hit but it still renders good-enough quality for social media consumption.
The 16MP rear camera takes better photographs, thanks to its phase detection autofocus, which allows the camera to fix the focus quickly and accurately. The electronic image stabilisation (EIS) comes handy while recording videos, though it is not as effective as optical image stabilisation. The rear camera also sports a portrait mode and the phone captures brilliant shots with a balanced bokeh effect that gives images a natural look.
This selfie-centric smartphone is no powerhouse. It is powered by Qualcomm’s entry-level Snapdragon 430 SoC. In daily tasks like checking emails, browsing the web, calling and messaging, the phone, however, feels zippier, with no signs of a lag. The performance takes a toll during processor-intensive tasks like broadcasting live video on social media channels for extended hours, playing games while keeping screen recorder active in the background, etc.
The Zenfone 4 boasts a 64GB internal storage, expandable via dedicated microSD card, coupled with a 4GB RAM. The dual-SIM smartphone offers VoLTE capabilities in both the SIMs, with good network reception and a satisfactory call quality.
The smartphone runs Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box, covered under Asus
proprietary ZenUI 4.0 skin.
The smartphone wears a metallic finish that looks premium. The front is covered with a 5.5-inch HD IPS screen, which is bright but marred by limited pixels per inch making it look pixelated at times. The screen is covered with a 2.5D contoured glass that blends perfectly in the metallic chassis.
There is a fingerprint sensor placed under the capacitive home key that recognises 360-degree fingerprints and is super quick in nature. It takes almost no time to unlock the screen, irrespective of how you are holding the phone in your hand.
On the back, the subtle accented antenna lines accentuate the design and are perfectly flush with the chassis. Overall, the phone looks premium from all sides.
The Zenfone 4 houses a 3,000 mAh battery, assisted with the Asus
power suite that runs in the background and keeps a check on the phone’s activities. However, the smartphones bloatware, coupled with the ZenUI 4.0 skin, is not battery-friendly and the phone stretches to last a day.
Priced at Rs 14,999, the Asus
Zenfone 4 Selfie (dual-front-camera) variant meets the demand of selfie lovers, with loads of feature that include artistic selfie filters, selfie master app, portrait mode, beauty mode and BeautyLive mode. The phone, however, falls short in terms of performance and battery life.