Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro Review

About Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro

You know taking selfies is beyond an obsession when you have a manufacturer have a model after it. With the social media and portable devices making it easier for people to become micro-celebrities with a large following (either with organic, paid or bot followers), the prioritisation of front-facing cameras become more important.

While the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro doesn’t really overshadow the usefulness of a rear-facing camera, it does provide some function for the front facing as the first option. The front has a 12 MP camera accompanied with a 5 MP camera for taking 120-degree wide angle shots. Since a single camera sensor couldn’t keep up with larger sensor-based cameras like DSLRs and mirrorless (contrary to claims made by numerous manufacturers) it helps to create some Bokeh effect.

All this sounds intriguing. In the real world, people want to know the real world performance and image.video quality. Of course, putting a large sensor is not possible on a phone. And if it was, social media websites and apps have a way of compressing and degrading image, video and audio quality. It is only fair enough as they house a lot of content made by a lot of people.

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Packaging and Contents

Most of the handsets sold by various brands have a very conservative packaging. While the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro maintains that packaging, it does provide a clear case and an IEM. Some reading materials are also provided.

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Specification

Display

  • 76.7% screen-to-body ratio
  • 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 by 1080) AMOLED display
  • 500nits brightness
  • 2.5D Corning® Gorilla® Glass for best screen protection
  • 1.7mm slim bezel
  • Over 100% NTSC high colour gamut display
  • Bluelight filter for eye care
  • Capacitive touch panel with 10 points multi-touch (supports glove touch)
  • Smudge-resistant oleophobic coating

Processor

  • CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 Mobile Platform with 14nm, 64-bit
    Octa-core ProcessorFinFET LPP (Low Power Plus) power saving technology
  • GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 506

Memory

4GB

Storage

  • Internal storage
    eMCP 64GB
  • MicroSD card
    Supports up to 2TB

Main Front Camera

  • 2x light sensitivity low light photos (compared with a typical
    camera with 16 megapixels, F2.0 & 1µm pixel size)
  • ASUS SuperPixel™ Engine – exclusive image processor
  • 24 MP* DuoPixel™ camera technology
  • Sony flagship IMX362 12 megapixels dual-pixel image sensor –
    1/2.55″ large sensor size, 1.4µm large pixel size
  • F1.8 aperture
  • 25mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera
  • 6p lens
  • 83° field of view
  • 4K UHD (3840 by 2160) selfie video
  • Softlight LED flash
  • Instant cameras switching
  • ASUS SelfieMaster technology for smart beautification in selfies, videos, and live streams
    * 24MP (12MP x 2) DuoPixel™ Unit
    – Sony IMX362 12MP dual pixel sensor.
PixelMaster camera modes:
  • Auto (with low light and HDR features)
  • Beauty
  • Portrait
  • Selfie Panorama
  • GIF Animation
  • 9 various filters

Second Front Camera

  • 120° wide-angle camera
  • 200% wider view for more friends and scenery in the frame
  • 12mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera
PixelMaster camera modes:
  • Auto (with low light and HDR features)
  • Beauty
  • Portrait
  • GIF Animation
  • Super Resolution (64 megapixels)
  • 9 various filters

Rear Camera

  • 16 megapixels
  • Sony image sensor
  • ASUS SuperPixel™ Engine – exclusive image processor
  • 26mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera
  • 80° field of view
  • LED real tone flash
  • 0.03 seconds phase detection auto-focus
  • 4K UHD (3840 by 2160) video

PixelMaster camera modes:

  • Auto (with low light and HDR features)
  • Beauty
  • Portrait
  • Pro (RAW file support / up to 32 seconds long exposure)
  • Super Resolution (64 megapixels)
  • GIF Animation
  • Panorama
  • Slow Motion
  • Time Lapse (with power saving)
  • 9 various filters

Video Recording

  • 4K UHD (3840 by 2160) video at 30 fps for main front and rear cameras
  • 1080p FHD video recording at 30 / 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • 3-axis electronic image stabilization for front and rear cameras
  • Take still photo while recording video
  • Slow Motion video (720p at 120 fps)

Speaker

5-magnet speaker with NXP Smart Amp

Audio Output

  • Hi-Res audio 192kHz/24-bit standard that is 4 times better than CD quality
  • DTS (Digital Theater System) Headphone:X™ 7.1 virtual surround sound for headphone support
  • Audio CODEC integrated into PMIC

Microphone

Dual internal microphones with ASUS Noise Reduction Technology

FM Receiver

FM radio

Wireless Technology

  • WLAN 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Wi-Fi direct

Navigation

GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BDS

SIM Cards

  • Dual SIM dual standby
    •  Slot 1: 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card
    • Slot 2: 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card, or the MicroSD card
    • (supports up to 2TB) at a time
  • Both SIM card slots support 3G WCDMA / 4G LTE network band. But only one SIM card can connect to 3G WCDMA / 4G LTE service at a time.

Network Standard

FDD-LTE, TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE

  • Data rate
    • LTE Cat4: UL 50 / DL 150 Mbps
    • DC-HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 42 Mbps
  • India version
    • FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20)
    • TD-LTE (Band 40)
    • WCDMA (Bands 1, 5, 8)
    • GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

ASUS phone 4G/LTE band compatibility varies by region, please check
compatibility with local carriers.

Sensor

Front fingerprint sensor (0.2 seconds unlock, supports 5 fingerprints, supports Haptic feedback), Accelerator, E-Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Front RGB sensor

Battery

3000mAh capacity with fast charging

Power Adapter

Output: 5V 2A 10W

In the Box

  • ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro with Android™ N and new ASUS ZenUI 4.0
  • ASUS ZenEar with microphone
  • Micro-USB cable
  • Ejector pin (SIM tray needle)
  • USB power adapter
  • Documentation (user guide, warranty card)
  • Clear soft bumper (optional)

Finish / Color

  • Deepsea Black, Sunlight Gold & Rouge Red
  • Metal Body with NMT technology

Apart from the ability to take selfie video/images, its important for content creators to be comfortable with the device. The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro supports glove touch and also has a smudge-resistant coating. The phone uses a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery with fast charging support.

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Handset Overview

Handset Design

The variant which I have is the Deep-sea Black. Though in some ambient lighting the phone looks more towards a darker shade of navy blue. The front is all black. It took me a completely different camera and exposure settings to reflect this colour.  The metal shell is a unibody design, with matte finish paint job. You’ll notice Asus provided antenna lines on top and bottom of the rear shell to blend with the phone’s aesthetics.

The phone has a 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display with 2.5D Gorilla glass and a slim metal bezel design. The Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has a built-in 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery. It supports B/G/N/ WiFi with BT 4.1 LE with A-GPS, GLONASS and FM Radio support.

Internally, the phone uses the Snapdragon 625 mobile CPU and Adreno 506 GPU. It has a 4GB RAM and 64 GB onboard storage with additional microSD card support up to 2 TB. Storage wise, this phone gives a good ability to store mass data.

Camera Overview

Naturally, you’ll notice two cameras towards the front along with the in-body flash. From the front, there are two cameras- one is a 12-megapixel camera using Sony IMX362 dual-pixel sensor with f/1.8 aperture and the other is a 5MP camera to provide a 120-degree field-of-view. As per one of its features, Asus claims it makes 12 MP to 24 MP, thus calling is duo-pixel. We’ll see the effectiveness of the feature when we see the front-facing video and photos.

The rear-facing camera is a 16MP Sony lens with phase-detect autofocus with electronic image stabilization for 4K recording. The rear camera also allows you to shoot in RAW format and also has some added modes such as slow motion in 720p and time-lapse.

Input/Output/Speakers

The top side has no functions, while the base is where the 3.5mm jack, micro USB port and inbuilt speakers are placed.

Z-Axis Bezel Designs

The right side has the volume buttons and the power buttons while the left is where the SIM/memory card cage is inserted.

Edge designs

Looking at the handset from its z-axis, you’ll notice the front is all-glass and slightly protrudes from the rest of the metal shell. It is a very subtle design but tastefully done well. The form factor is also very comfortable to use. Since its a slim handset design, for most activities, you can operate this phone with a single hand. The edges and the corners are rounded to provide that better comfort.

But the phone is very lightweight. Though Asus didn’t mention the weight of this Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, it is lighter than the Moto X Play which weighs 169 gms. Personally, I would like my handset to have some weight, giving me a confidence while holding it. This Zenfone is pitched towards camera users- for stills or videos.

SIM Cage/Other Options

The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro allows you to use two nano-SIMs or single nano-SIM and a Micro SD card support of up to 2TB. The front has the fingerprint scanner which also acts as an interface where you can swipe moving around.

Overall, the phone is really well-built. Usually, I am not a fan of metallic bodies as average Joes might end up scratching the paint job and many available covers not very aesthetically pleasing. But to Asus’ credit, they have given a transparent cover. For a phone which is meant to be a daily driver for Instagrammers, YouTubers and simply photographers, the phone as a built quality, but could use something other than metal. The tradeoff in plastic backed phones is letting go of that premium feel metal-backed phones give. It comes down to preference.

Viewing Angles and Display Impressions

While many phone manufacturers brag about display quality, the legibility under sunlight matters a lot. The glass top manages smudges on the phone really well. Texts, icon displays, images and background images look good and sharp. At a certain angle, viewing the screen under sunlight is difficult though white coloured elements stand out. But if you view the display directly most of the reflection can be managed properly. This is observed by keeping the brightness level at the same levels at all times.[divider]

Camera Features and Impressions

Front Facing Camera Options

Obviously, the phone emphasizes on the front-facing camera. The main talked about feature is the 24 MP DuoPixel mode which basically uses the camera to blend together a 24 MP sized selfie videos and photos.

Rear Facing Camera Options

Unlike the front, the rear-facing camera has many features to work with. Apart from the obvious difference in quality, the auto stabilization works well even in low light situations.

Camera Performance

Front Facing Camera Image and Video Quality

The front-facing camera is mediocre at best. The Asus Duopixel feature doesn’t really do anything in terms of quality during daylight. During lowlight, however, the duopixel adds noise and occasionally overexposing the shot.

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The main issue with the front-facing camera is when you have a bright sunlight behind the subject. The area becomes overexposed, even affects the areas surrounding the subject in focus. If the camera focuses on the background, the front-facing camera(s) adjusts itself and reduces overexposure. You also get to see some details like the window pane and the window grille behind it, followed by the trees and other elements. Asus did roll out an update which said it would improve camera performance but I noticed the update on the time phone was collected. The phone can control over exposure. It just doesn’t know how to do it in broad daylight with a subject in focus.

The low-light performance of the front-facing camera is hardly usable for selfie videos, even with flash. Many veteran users will not find this surprising.

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Rear Facing Camera Image and Video

The rear-facing camera has many onboard settings to help you take good images or do finer settings. However, it is far-fetched to claim any of these settings will replace mirrorless/DSLR quality. Taking handheld shots from the rear-facing camera is more stable. But higher ISO settings, you’ll need to have steadier hands. Having a table-top tripod is recommended since it gives a better grip than a phone.

Outdoor Images
Indoor Images

The rear-facing camera takes good photos in daylight outdoor conditions. In indoor conditions, the flash makes up for it up to a certain distance.

With steady hands/tripod and maybe a good source of light, videos via a rear-facing camera in low light can work. The autofocus during recording takes a while but once it figures it out, the focus is in place.[divider]

Audio Quality Impressions

Onboard mic performance
Hands-free mic performance

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Battery Life

With a 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery and fast charging, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro lets you do all your regular workload throughout the day. If you’re taking videos/photos all day, naturally it would have a much lesser battery life. The battery life is pretty decent for a daily driver like you’ll expect in many phones of such class.

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Pre-Bundled Software

Asus does have some of its native apps. One of them is the AudioWizard. It doesn’t function in Outdoor mode.

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Interface Impressions

Asus uses ZenUI interface over the Android interface. The Menu options do not overcrowd the screen and bloatware are less. Staying true to the name, the UI has the main social media apps pre-installed.

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Performance Benchmark

PCMark 8 Benchmark for Android
3DMark- Slingshot Extreme ES 3.1

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3DMark Slingshot ES 3.0

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MobileXPRT

WebXPRT

Conclusion

At the time of writing, The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has the white and black variant available for a price of Rs. 23,999/-. You are paying a premium- and premium is an overcrowded segment. If it cannot make a first impression, its lost in the crowd and the cycle is vicious irrespective of the brand’s presence in front of a consumer. On paper, it ticks the right boxes for vloggers, Instagrammers and such people. But the performance of the rear-facing camera is pretty good. even in normal daylight conditions. The front-facing does a good job with decent daylight situations, but I don’t see the usefulness of the duo-pixel. It would be nice if Asus bundled a mini-shotgun mic with a shock mount for phones aimed towards social media content makers. Also, it’s best if Asus’ onboard audio recording saved the file in .wav or .MP3 format. Podcasting has a very big crowd so a versatile tool helps them as well.

The main issue is the issue of the front-facing camera having the inability to control over-exposure of excess light from the background when the subject is towards the front. Also, the second SIM slot couldn’t be occupied if a micro SD card is installed.

What I did like about the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is the built quality and the ability to keep smudges well under control. I also appreciate Asus keeping the 3.5mm jacking knowing that some models from many manufacturers remove it just to provide an annoying additional adapter to carry around. ZenUI is a clean interface and provides that shiny overlay over Android’s stock 7.1.1 Nougat OS. It is also nice to see handset manufacturers kept bloatwares to a minimum.

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India

US

UK

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