Asus Zenfone Zoom S Smartphone Review: huge autonomy without too much compromise

PROS:

  • Finishes.
  • General fluidity.
  • Quality of wide angle and zoom shots in broad daylight.
  • Multimedia performance.
  • Extremely comfortable.
  • True Amoled screen.

CONS:

  • Pictures in low light disappointing.
  • Fingerprint reader too high.

BOTTOM LINE :

The Asus Zenfone Zoom S stands out as one of the most interesting terminals of the manufacturer. He makes quite a few mistakes and even allows himself to come heckle the iPhone 7 Plus in his garden. To top it off, this smartphone has an excellent autonomy that places it far enough in front of the competition on this point.


Asus returns to the charge with a new Zenfone Zoom S, but this time the Taiwanese manufacturer drops the mechanical zoom for a dual module system, similar to that of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. The photo is therefore placed at the center of Asus’s speech, but not only. The Zoom S is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery for maximum autonomy. All this gives us a very interesting smartphone for less than 500 $.

Updated 
08/06/2017 with 17:59
Asus has not hung out to deploy Android Nougat on its Zenfone Zoom S, since only a few days after the start of its commercialization in France, the update has been made available to all users. The icing on the cake is version 7.1.1 that Asus proposes, the very latest that is found today only on pixels , Nexus and a few other mobiles. The “Interface and navigation” note was thus increased to 4.

The Asus Zenfone Zoom S is a smartphone that rests on a 5.5-inch screen in Amoled Full HD (1920 x 1080 px). It is powered by a Qualcomm SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 8-core ARM Cortex-A53, an Adreno 506 iGPU and 4 GB of RAM. The model sold in France has 128 GB of internal memory, a memory that can be extended with a microSD card. Asus has chosen to integrate a big battery of 5000 mAh in its Zoom S, but is content with the version 6.0 Marshmallow of Android and it is Android 7.1.1 that turns the beast. As for connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS or the 4G LTE.

The Zenfone Zoom S offers a photo experience similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus. It incorporates two back modules each with a 12 Mpx sensor. While the former has a wide-angle optics (equivalent 25 mm) stabilized at aperture f / 1.7, the second is surmounted by a 59 mm non-stabilized and opening at f / 2.6. Two cameras that give the equivalent of a 2.3x zoom to this smartphone. At the front, it’s a more classic 8 Mpx sensor that takes care of capturing self-portraits.

ERGONOMICS AND DESIGN

Back, hard not to admit some resemblance to the iPhone 7 Plus. The duo of photo modules located at the top left of the rear panel actually recalls the back arrangement of Apple’s smartphone. A similarity that is not really a defect, especially since the overall finish is blameless.

The back of the device is dressed in a brushed metal elegant and pleasant in hand, but slippery; the clumsy are forewarned. Also on the back of the smartphone is a fingerprint reader. If its operation does not show any weakness and unlock Zoom S quickly, its positioning is more problematic. For a standard-sized hand, reaching this fingerprint reader at the end of the index requires some gymnastics. He would have deserved to be a centimeter below.

On the right side, the volume and locking buttons fall much more easily under the thumb of a right hand. As on the majority of its smartphones, Asus has positioned the navigation keys in the bar that highlights the screen. A choice that allows us to exploit this fairly wide space. A 5.5-inch terminal is rarely fully usable with one hand. The Zenfone Zoom S does not escape the rule, especially since the occupancy of the front panel by the screen is not exceptional (70.5%).

SCREEN

Asus continues to build on its Zenfone 3 Deluxe and the Zoom S has a Super Amoled screen. It displays a diagonal of 5.5 inches and a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 px), for a resolution of 401 dpi which will suffice for the majority of the uses. The major advantage of Amoled technology is its ability to offer almost infinite contrast, which gives it a clear advantage over IPS panel competition. We also measured a maximum brightness of 475 cd / m² and a reflection rate of 12%. These two values ​​ensure that the Zenfone Zoom S remains correctly readable in direct sunlight. Under the opposite circumstances, that is to say in the dark, the minimum brightness of 6.4 cd / m² is correct so as not to be too dazzled.

As often, you have to enter the settings of the smartphone and choose the display mode “Standard”. With this one, one obtains a delta E to 3.1, for colors almost perfect with the naked eye. The best cameras are capable of passing under a delta E of 2. For the color temperature, it is also necessary to go through the setting of the display to obtain a good value at 6674 K.

Concerning the reactivity, the screen of the Zenfone Zoom S is in the correct average. We detected a tactile delay of 79 ms, below the average of our comparison (87 ms). The remanence is excellent since it is zero.

INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION

Updated 
08/06/2017
A few days after publication of the test, Asus deployed the update to Nougat on its device. The package that weighs just over one gigabyte should arrive on all copies of Zoom Z very quickly. The score of this section was therefore increased from 3 to 4 stars.

Unfortunately, Asus did not bother to release its Zenfone Zoom S with Android 7.0 Nougat. Here you have to be satisfied with the version 6.0 Marshmallow of the OS of Google. A very critical choice as Nougat is available for almost a year now and that does not make it very serious for a smartphone with such qualities otherwise.

We therefore find the usual interface of Asus, ZenUI, still colorful and whose icons round are no longer so much in the air of time. In addition, Asus continues to install a myriad of applications not necessarily useful, but rather intrusive. One is constantly harassed by the notifications of the optimization of this or that application. We still find the suite of Google apps (Gmail, YouTube or Maps). Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are also part of the game and can only be disabled at best. All of this results in occupying 18 GB by default on the 128 GB internal memory.

The shortcuts – which are beginning to be well known at Asus – are also present. They allow for example to lock the screen of a double tap, to launch an application quickly by tracing a letter of the finger on the screen or to switch to the mode of use with one hand, which passes the display on a small portion of the screen.

Overall, the behavior of the SoC Snapdragon 625 and the 4 GB of RAM that accompany it is very good. Slowdowns are counted on the fingers of one hand after a week of use and the Zoom S allows you to run the vast majority of Play Store applications without any hassle.

MULTIMEDIA

For video playback, the Zenfone Zoom S is based on the Google app. It can play most of the common formats, except the AVI. The Full HD display surface is well suited for viewing series or short videos and will be able to trouble-shoot for a movie from time to time.

On the audio side, make sure to disable the Audio Wizard from Asus. This one has an unfortunate tendency to bring its lot of distortion, to tighten the stereo and to clamp the output power. Once cleared of this anti-music lover, one obtains a distortion very low and a correct power, but always limited for greedy helmets. The dynamic range measured here is in the average of our comparison, while the reproduction of the stereo image is rather satisfactory for a smartphone. The loudspeaker positioned on the bottom edge is not a precision model and will be enough for calls, even videos without music.

VIDEO GAME

For video games, the graphics chip Adreno 506 has good dispositions. She runs all the games in the Play Store without any false notes. Only the few very greedy games will occasionally ask for some concessions on the level of graphics.

PHOTO

Asus did not try to improve the optical zoom formula of its first Zoom. The manufacturer preferred to copy his photo system to that of Apple and its iPhone 7 Plus. It is now a double module that sits at the back of the Zoom S. The first sensor of 12 Mpx is surmounted by a wide-angle optics of 25 mm opening at f / 1.7. The second (identical definition) proposes an optics of 59 mm opening at f / 2,6, this second module corresponds to a zoom 2,3x compared to the first. The behavior of the Zenfone Zoom S in picture is generally good.In full light, whether at wide-angle or zoom, the result is satisfactory, with a lot of detail. The Asus smartphone does better here than an iPhone 7 Plus, but is necessarily a notch below what the HTC U11 and LG G6 , the references of the year. The Zoom S’s responsiveness is in a good average, but shows a slight delay on the current top-of-the-range, especially focusing speed. The latter is, to say the least, accurate, as is the white balance measurement.

Capture in low light is less brilliant. On our test stage, the iPhone 7 Plus provides better results, but this one captures at a speed half as much. Anyway, the result is correct, but still far from what the U11 and G6 propose.

The front sensor of 13 Mpx ranks among the good students of our comparison. The photographs are of good quality and sufficiently detailed. It is nevertheless necessary to make sure to completely disable all so-called “beauty” tools that tend to smooth out the face. The backlight management is flawless and the white balance measurement also.

AUTONOMY

The Zenfone Zoom S has made a very clear choice by using a Snapdragon 625 and a 5000 mAh battery: that of endurance. It can be said that Asus succeeded his bet since his smartphone actually excels in the field. On our SmartViser test protocol, the Zoom S was held at 22:04. It is simply the 3rd best time of our comparison behind the K10000 of Oukitel and his cousin the Zenfone Max . The excellent Moto Z Play is 20 minutes shorter, while a reference like the Mate 9 of Huawei is only at 5:54 pm. On the reading test on Netflix, the Zenfone Zoom S died after 19h of video.In practice, it is difficult for the Zoom S to die before two and a half days with standard use. Greater use will benefit from a big day and a half, or even two days.

Asus Zenfone Zoom S telephony side

The Zenfone Zoom S can accommodate two SIM cards, but this requires the microSD port. These two SIMs operate in dual-standby, ie only one of them can receive the mobile data at a time. The second should be limited to voice and SMS. During our tests, we did not suffer any untimely stalling or any particular coverage problem. In communication, the caller as well as the caller do not worry and it is not necessary to push the volume of the loudspeaker too high.

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