ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro Review – Worth The Purpose ?
The original ASUS Zenfone Selfie came out in 2015 & at that time it was the first phone ever to support Autofocus in the Front Facing Camera. Now, two years later ASUS has finally brought an update in their Zenfone Selfie line up with Three new devices. All of these devices belong to the 4th Generation of Zenfones & called the Zenfone 4 Selfie, Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual Cam & Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro. So, we have been testing the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro model for a while now & we finally think that it’s the time to give you guys our full review for the device. It costs ₹23999 in India so, let’s get started right away…
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is not made for that Flagship Category but, it rather tries to find the perfect sweet spot between those mid range Selfie focused devices combining the Power of a 14nm Snapdragon 625 SOC & a high-end Sony IMX362 sensor for the Front Facing Camera. Now, I know many of you guys are thinking, “Hey ! but there are two Cameras on the Front right ?”. Well, yes & we’ll get into that later in this review. So, let’s go part by part on every major segment of this device.
DESIGN & BUILD QUALITY
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro looks pretty similar to it’s younger lower-end siblings but, there are some significant differences. Most importantly, this device is made out of Aluminium Alloy where it’s younger siblings are using plastic as their chassis build material. So, if you were thinking that all the Zenfone 4 Selfie variants are using Metal or Vice Versa, that’s simply not the case.
Coming to the design elements, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro spots a 5.5 inch Screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass on the top. Now, ASUS hasn’t mentioned the exact version of the Gorilla Glass so, we don’t know that. However, from the top left we have the Front Facing Flash, Proximity Sensor, Calling Speaker Grill, the 12MP Main Front Camera & the 5MP Wide-angle Camera. On the downside of the Display, we have the Navigation keys along with the Home Button / Fingerprint Scanner.
At the Back we have the 16MP Rear Facing Camera, the Single-tone LED Flash & the ASUS logo on the top of that Aluminium Alloy Chassis available in either Gold or Black or Red color options to choose from.
At the bottom we have the 3.5 Headphone Jack, Primary Microphone, Micro USB Port & the Speaker Grill. However on the top we have the Noice Cancellation Microphone & that’s literally it.
Talking about the Build Quality, the quality of the Aluminium Alloy seemed to be ok & that’s literally pretty standard at that price point. But, the phone was also comparatively thin & light so, I know many of you will praise that fact but, to me that’s not something quite desired. I like phones to have a little more weight to them. So, this phone is one of the devices I would like to do a bend test on but, I don’t want to damage the review unit in case anything happens. Anyway, overall it’s a pretty standard build quality at that price point.
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro houses a 5.5 inch Full HD 60Hz Display & rather than using a standard IPS panel, ASUS have used an AMOLED panel in this case. But, it’s not an 18:9 Aspect Ratio so, a regular 1920 x 1080 (16:9) resolution instead. 2017 has been a year of 18:9 Displays but, ASUS has gone with the traditional 16:9 so, that might be a complain for some people but, as it’s an AMOLED Panel, the colors actually look very good.
Now, this is not the same kind of AMOLED panels that are found on the flagship devices so, it’s not as good as a Galaxy S8 or even the OnePlus 5T but, still it’s way better than the 1080P IPS panel on similarly priced devices. The Brightness is around 500 nits & it is fairly visible outdoors but, combined with a super shiny Corning Gorilla Glass on top, it sometimes lacked proper visibility while using the Camera in bright sunny outdoor conditions. Otherwise the visibility is good for everything else.
So, overall it’s a good Display with rich colors & pitch Blacks. The only thing I wish though is that, ASUS have at least kept the brightness at 600 nits so, it would have been easier to take photos at a bright sunny days. 18:9 Aspect Ratio could have been a thing but, that’s a personal preference & in this case it’s not a deal breaker for me just because it’s an AMOLED panel.
HARDWARE, SOFTWARE & BATTERY LIFE
HARDWARE & BATTERY
The Zenfone 4 Selfie is powered by the Snapdragon 625 SOC that carries the Adreno 506 GPU alongside. Now, the Snapdragon 625 is based on the 14nm Process Technology & it’s an Octa-core CPU where all the cores are clocked at 2.0 GHz. Now, these are Cortex A53 cores so, coupled with that 14nm Process Technology these do not belong to the High Performance (Big) cores category. Instead these cores are targeted towards efficiency. That means the Snapdragon 625 is build to deliver Mid-end Performance with comparatively less Battery Consumption. There is also 4 Gigabytes of RAM & 64 Gigabytes of Internal Storage.
Now, I know many of you guys actually want some Benchmarks but, a few single Benchmarking Scores don’t tell anything so, let’s do this in a comparison way. So, rolling benchmark comparisons one by one below…
Now, in real life the performance is just what you’d expect from a Snapdragon 625. Not super fast but snappy & I haven’t experienced any kind of lag or stuff like that. The animation times are a little bit slow but, we’ll talk about that later when discussing the software part.
Now, those into gaming need to know a few things about this device or I better say, about the Adreno 506 GPU inside this device. Now, games are mostly dependent on the GPU if you aren’t aware & the Adreno 506 is a pretty mediocre GPU so, you cannot play every single Game at their Max Graphics settings. Vulkan supported Hi-end games like NFS: Most Wanted & Galaxy On Fire 3 – Manticore play slightly better on these modern GPUs but, for the games that only support OpenGL like Godfire or Asphalt Extreme for example, will show significant frame drops. For those type of games you’ll need to downgrade the quality.
If you’re curious about the Internal Storage though, it’s rocking eMMC 5.1 Storage so, no UFS at least not at this price point. But, the Speeds aren’t bad. So here’s a chart to give you an idea about the speeds…
Now, if you’re curious about other hardware & by other Hardware I mean the Fingerprint Scanner, the Cellular Hardware & the Bottom-firing Speaker inside it so, let’s touch on those.
The Fingerprint Scanner is a solid piece of glass that doesn’t move. Means it’s not a button if that matters to you. I’m just fine with it & it’s an active Fingerprint Scanner so, all I needed to unlock that thing was to tap on it. And it worked most of the time but, not everytime. Maybe the success rate was about 85% give or take a little bit but, it was really fast so, I can’t really complain.
Talking about the Cellular capabilities, it does support 2G/3G/4G Networks out of the box & if you use stuff like VoLTE, it’s also there. The device also comes with 802.11 b/g/n WLAN & Bluetooth 4.2 .
The Speakers on this thing is a Single-firing Mono Speaker but, it gets pretty loud. I feel this is one of the best single firing speaker that ASUS has ever made. It has nice clarity with Balanced Lows & Highs. The Mids are comparatively less awesome but, they are not bad at all & there is also a nice presence of Bass so, overall a Good Speaker.
But, what about the Battery Life then ? Well, it’s a 3000 mAh Battery based on Lithium Polymer technology & like every other mainstream 2017 device, the Battery is non-removable. It’s a Snapdragon 625 so, Battery Life is Pretty Good in regular day to day usage. The screen on time is close to 5 hours (a little less than 5 hours) on a single charge.
If you’re using the Camera or playing Games though, the battery will decrease a lot faster. And in case you’re curious, this device doesn’t support Fast Charging & oh, it also has a regular Micro USB port instead of a USB Type-C port so, come-on ASUS, it’s not a super cheap device & at this price you could have easily given USB Type-C.
I seriously don’t have way too much to talk about the Software. It’s running on ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat with Android Oreo expected in early 2018. And, if you’ve seen or used ZenUI 3.0 before then it’s a pretty familiar experience but, ASUS have done some improvements that need a mention so, I guess we’ll just touch on those here.
So, the first & most important change has been in terms of Bloatware Removal. The number of pre-installed & almost kinda useless applications have been significantly decreased. Previously there was 35 ASUS Apps & 10 Third Party Apps present on the ZenUI 3 which has been decreased to 13 ASUS Apps & 3 Third Party Apps in ZenUI 4. That’s really a welcome step from ASUS.
Other enhancements include things like Twin Apps that creates a clone of some of the Social Media apps that you might need to run multiple Accounts on. There is also a new Selfie Master application that serves a few purposes for Selfies, Live Beautification etc.
I also liked the features like Lock Screen Wallpaper Slideshow, Animated Themes & Always-on-display. I think they look pretty cool.
If I have to complain about something though, it has to be the speed of the UI or I may better say, the comparatively long animation times of the UI. Though, ZenUI is a little bit more optimized now but, I still feel that the Animation times could have been shorter. It actually at least to be half of what it is now. So, ASUS better work on that.
So, not a stock like experience but, some extra features are actually useful so, I guess it comes to personal preference at the end. If you like customization then maybe you’ll like the ZenUI but, if you’re more a Stock Android person then maybe not. But whatever, it’s upto you.
THE REAR FACING CAMERA:
The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has a 16MP IMX351 shooter on the Back. The lens on top has an aperture of f-2.2 . Last year ASUS did include OIS in rear camera of the Zenfone 3 that was kinda closely priced to the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro but, for some weired reason the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro does not ship with OIS.
However, the output from this Camera is actually quite good. So, here are some shots that we took with the 16MP Rear Shooter of the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro…
Low Light Shots:
There are also Manual controls packed in the Camera App & ASUS calls it the Pro Mode. There they give a ton options to tune the Camera settings like Exposure, Shutter Speed, ISO & even there is a Manual Focus option in there. So, I would consider the ASUS Camera App one of the most feature rich ones among it’s competitors.
Talking about the qualities, capabilities & the bad stuff I would say, the Camera does take some good photos in Daylight. The Quality is there, the Details are there, the Dynamic Range is ok but, I felt that it could have been a lot better. In low light, I would consider the Camera to be among the pretty average ones. It’s not bad for say but, as there is no OIS, if your hand is shaken even a little while taking a photo in low light, there is a good chance that your photo will come blurry by that shake. So, if you get this device be sure to avoid shaky hands in low light photography scenarios.
I thought that the Rear Camera will be pretty terrible as it’s a Selfie Focused device but, this Camera is not bad at all. In fact it’s quite good at this price point. Two things I wish would be the Aperture was slightly wider than f-2.2 & there was OIS in the Camera. These two features could have made the low-light performance a lot better but, whatever.
THE FRONT FACING CAMERA(s):
On the front we have Two Cameras where there is a regular 12MP Primary Camera & another 5MP 120 Degrees Wide Angle Shooter. The 12MP main shooter is backed by a Sony IMX362 sensor & this is the exact same sensor you’ll find on the back of the Zenfone Zoom S. So, it’s a pretty Capable Sensor & by capable I mean that this sensor just does not shoot good photos but, it can also shoot 4K video at 30 frames per per second. So, if you want to make 4K Vlogs with this device, you can.
Anyway, check out these Sample Shots taken from the Front Facing Cameras on this device…
Primary Shooter (12MP, f-1.8):
Wide Angle Shooter (5MP, f-2.2):
ASUS has managed to use that 12MP Main sensor to take 24MP shots using the software. Basically they are combining Two 12MP shots & combining the data into a Single shot. They call it their Duo Pixel technology & it works pretty well but, I’d rather stick to the standard 12MP shots as there is not a huge difference in Quality & 24MP Duo Pixel shots take a couple of seconds to process. There is also a Front Facing Flash that you can use for Low-light selfies.
Talking about the quality, I think the Main 12MP sensor performs good in both Daylight & Low-light Scenarios. Specially that wide f-1.8 Aperture helps a lot in low light. However, I think the Dynamic Range is not that good on this Camera. Specially if you’re showing the Sun your back, the Highlights behind you will get blown out. But, overall I liked the main Camera a lot for the Preseved Details, Natural Looking Skintones, the good Low-light capabilities.
The 5MP 120 Degrees Wide-angle secondary Camera can be used to take Group selfies in Daylight but, the quality is not good at all & in low-light it’s almost unusable. Even the Camera app shows an alert to switch to the Main 12MP Sensor in low-light scenarios. So, it’s no secret that I don’t love this secondary shooter.
So if you’re into selfies, this phone is a very good option for that. I don’t use the Beautification Mode but, in case you need it, it’s there. I think I think the IMX362 is a pretty good sensor to have on the Front & it also has Autofocus built in so, that’s great. However, be sure you’re not buying this phone for that Wide Angle Secondary Camera cause, that’s where I was disappointed & I feel that you might be disappointed as well. Otherwise, it’s a good option at this price.
OUR FINAL VERDICT FOR THE ASUS ZENFONE 4 SELFIE PRO
If you’re someone into Selfies but, also want nice Hardware with Good Battery life or want to shoot 4K Videos from the Front Facing Camera and all of this on a lower-mid-end budget then you can definitely have a look at the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro for ASUS. We think it’s a nice & well balanced device overall and this is the only device that shoots 4K from the Front Facing Camera at this price point.
If you’re looking for a device for high-end gaming or lightning Fast Single-core Stuff or a Flagship Grade Camera then no this is not that device. For that kind of stuff you need to pay a bit more money & in that case we’ll recommend you to look at the Honor 8 Pro or the OnePlus 5T instead which will give you almost everything at a high-end level for some more money.
But, otherwise the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro packs a Nice Display, Good Cameras, Balanced Hardware & Great Audio. So, if these complete your checklist, you can definitely have a look at this selfie focused device from ASUS. Oh and as I mentioned previously, this Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro costs around ₹23999 in India & it is avilable to purchase via. Flipkart.
Ok, so that wraps our review for the ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro. Be sure to let us know your thoughts & feedback on the comments section right below this article.