At a time when the dual-camera set-up at the rear is the buzz in the smartphone industry, how can Taiwan-based ASUS be left behind?
The newly-launched "Zenfone Zoom S" from ASUS comes with 12MP dual-camera system.
The primary camera is powered by Sony IMX 362 optics and has an f/1.7 aperture. The other camera comes with 12x "total" zoom and 2.3x "true" optical zoom -- a feature which is not found even in Apple iPhone 7 Plus that features only a 2x optical zoom.
The smartphone also boasts of features such as Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), Dual Pixel Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) and 4K video recording.
Is the new offering from ASUS all about the cameras or is there more to it? Let us find out.
What drew our attention was the phone's slim form factor -- at 7.9mm and 170g -- despite housing a hefty 5,000mAh battery inside. Its nearest competitor Honor 8 Pro is tad slimmer at 7mm but weighs 184g.
Both the volume rockers and power key are placed on the right side and come with ASUS' trademark concentric circles. The left side houses a hybrid SIM card slot.
Zenfone Zoom S has a standard 3.5-mm headphone socket, a USB Type-C port and a single speaker grille at the bottom.
Talking about its main highlight -- the dual camera set-up sits almost flush in the back. There is a slight bump, though. Below the camera module is a dual-tone, dual LED flash and the laser autofocus system.
The 12MP + 12MP dual camera sensors have the same resolution, but they work differently.
The "SuperPixel" main camera has an aperture of f/1.7 and 25-mm focal length while the other sensor has an f/2.6 aperture and focal length of 59 mm.
The latter comes with 2.3x optical zoom and that is why the secondary sensor is used to optically zoom into the subject.
Both the sensors work to produce beautiful images with great detail. Zenfone Soom S managed to capture decent images in low-light conditions as well, courtesy the OIS feature.
The camera interface is fairly simple with modes like depth of field, all smiles, professional manual controls and beautification, among others.
This is also the world's slimmest dual-camera smartphone with a massive 5,000mAh battery.
The build of Zenfone Zoom S is top notch with a metal unibody design and antenna bands running at the top and bottom on the rear side, similar to what we saw on the iPhone 7 Plus.
The 5.5-inch full-HD AMOLED display is capable of producing vivid colours. It made blacks look deep and colours pretty rich. Sunlight legibility was great, thanks to the brightness level of 500 nits.
The display is topped up with a protective layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and has 2.5D curve that renders a smooth finish to it.
The fingerprint sensor is placed on the rear of the phone and is very accurate and fast.
We managed to get almost two days of battery life on a single charge, thanks to the hefty battery.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage (expandable up to 2TB via MicroSD card) enables the device handle daily tasks with ease.
The front side accommodates a 13MP selfie camera sensor with f/2.0 aperture that captures good shots.
What does not work?
ASUS is still using non-backlit keys which is an annoyance; it is time that the Taiwanese giant ditches these old-fashioned keys.
The company's custom interface -- called ZenUI 3.0 and based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat -- is heavy. It is the same that was found in previous ASUS phones and has lost much of its sheen.
Lack of fast-charging support is also a bit disappointing.
Conclusion: Zenfone Zoom S is a great choice when it comes to camera performance and build quality. It is worth mentioning that the phone is not only about its cameras; its battery life makes it stand out in the crowd.
(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at email@example.com)