Nowadays, smartphone cameras are trending as the main source of photography as it is something that can be carried easily with the user without any additional weight and gadget involved. Smartphone manufacturers decided to not take their cameras lightly and starting to even beat some compact  cameras in terms of picture quality. Having said that, people have started to take pictures of themselves more than anything else which you can find to be flooding in any photo sharing apps such as Instagram. With this trend taking its place, new word “selfie” emerges from the users and even into the Oxford English dictionary.

It’s been two weeks since we have the ASUS Zenfone Selfie and to be honest it is one of the best smartphone we have owned. We define best as in overall scenarios being a daily driver. There’s plenty of nice phones that we owned but to be honest, the definition of perfect is within this smartphone as we had great and balance experience in terms of performance, usability, features, battery and outlook.

Display

ASUS really cares of their users preference. Why do we say so? Because they do not lack on their display quality. The ASUS Zenfone Selfie comes with a Full HD display (1980 x 1080) which is sized at 5.5-inches. It is an IPS display protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, latest of its class to provide the best protection every available for any display at the moment. The viewing angle is very good, thanks to its IPS display. Watching videos or playing games are really comfortable with the Zenfone Selfie as it comes with ASUS TruVivid Technology which gives full screen lamination. To sooth your eyes, ASUS has its Splendid feature which allows users to customize the best settings based on personal preference which includes Bluelight Filter.

Design Language

Looking similar to the Zenfone 2 series, the Zenfone Selfie has some notable differences. First of all the most obvious one, the front facing selfie camera ( looks alike the rear camera ) with its huge camera rather than common smartphones with smaller and not so noticeable camera on the front. There’s a dual LED flash on the front as well with the ear piece looking vertical rather than horizontal. On the back of course you will note the extra Laser auto focus which is not available on the Zenfone 2. Overall it is bigger than the Zenfone 2 as the Zenfone Selfie’s front camera makes the phone bigger.

We are already a fan of the Zenfone 2’s design language with its volume rockers placed at the back of the phone making it look different and luxurious. On the front, there’s still no on-screen buttons and physical button remains with no capacitive backlight enabled. However, it isn’t a big issues as the moment you get used to ASUS smartphones, you be able to capture the positioning  of each buttons ( back, home and recent apps ).

Under the hood?

Out of the box you will get Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS which is extremely optimized and smooth. We’ve tried plenty of ASUS smartphones with lollipop recently, however the user experience on the Zenfone Selfie is enormous! Why do we say so? It is incredibly smooth, thanks to the ASUS UI which is well optimized with not even a single note-able lag. The Zenfone Selfie comes with a Octa core Snapdragon 615 processor. When it comes to the RAM capacity, the ASUS Zenfone Selfie comes with 3GB of RAM and it is able to optimize the user experience. Without 4GB of RAM, we thought the Zenfone Selfie might lag at least a bit compared to the Zenfone 2 ( 4GB variant ). Hard to believe, the Zenfone Selfie was the better performer overall based on simultaneous usage of both smartphones. So, 3GB of RAM is a Yay and recommended for Snapdragon 615 processor but do ensure it has a well optmized UI. We’ve tried others with similar specs and the user experience was a little unpleasant.

When you get to the ROM ( Internal Storage ) section, you will get a generous amount of 32GB. These days, the amount of storage space needed for an individual is increasing rapidly despite the evolving speed of technology. Mobile games are increasing in size, movies are becoming bigger in size with the introduction of new resolutions ( 4k ) and lots of other criteria involved as well. Some smartphone manufacturers are killing the micro SD slot feature in order to make the phone slimmer and exchange it with any other upcoming features. This of course affects the users who are dependent solely on micro SD cards. ASUS listens to their users and decided to remain with the option of micro SD card slot being present in their new devices. On the Zenfone Seflie, you can expand the storage up to 64GB.

For gaming purpose, we tried Riptide GP 2 and Dead Trigger 2. These games ran smoothly and finally we noticed that the smartphone start to heat-up and battery started to drain quite fast. However these games are known for its high graphics and battery consumption, so don’t worry too much as some phones can’t even handle and tend to force close or even lag badly despite having same CPU. Thanks to it’s 3GB of RAM which ensures these games are not “biggie” to be handled by the Zenfone Selfie.

Mouth – Watering Camera!

When it comes to the camera, the ASUS Zenfone Selfie is currently one of the best of its class. Well, you get a 13 Megapixel main camera with f2.0 aperture paired with the newly trending Laser Autofocus and Dual LED  ( dual tone ) flash. The Laser Autofocus allows you to remain focused upon moving and focusing to another object almost instantly. The front camera is the main selling point of this smartphone. The 13 Megapixel front camera with f2.2 aperture and 88-degree wide angle view allows you to take selfies with great quality. Not to forget the Dual LED ( dual tone ) flash which is almost available on the front camera. Both these cameras have Toshiba sensors, blue glass filters and 5P Largan lenses.

The camera quality of the main camera is very good in indoors. Great photos can be captured with it being set at Auto mode itself. Some outdoor shots turned out to be washed out and a little over-exposured, however to fix this issues  you have to enable the HDR mode to enhance the output of the final image. The macro shot ( close up ) on the Zenfone Selfie is amazing! Thanks to the Laser auto focus which managed to even focus on incredibly close up shots as near as 6 cm!

As usual, the camera software on the Zenfone Selfie is similar to the one in Zenfone 2. The usual modes such as, auto, manual, GIF, Slow-mo, HDR, panorama, smart remove and time lapse are all widely available for both front and back cameras.

There’s an option where you can slide the shutter button on the screen to the top which starts 5 seconds timer before capturing a shot. This is rather useful for group photos via front camera or even the back camera as well.

Below are some photos taken using the Zenfone Selfie. All of them are on Auto mode, with one of the selfies with flash and another without.

ASUS Zenfone Selfie Camera Samples

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ASUS UI, Network and Audio

As you already know, ASUS is known for their own tools which is present within their Zenfones. Some might call is as “bloatwares” where some of the apps can be uninstalled while some can be disabled. It might help and enhance the performance of the previous Zenfones, however on the Zenfone Selfie you will not realize any issues with performance at all. We only uninstalled those which we felt unnecessary such as Clean Master, Trip Advisor, etc. ASUS related apps which some we don’t really use can be remained without disabling. Only extra work for you will be updating these apps when there’s an update which can consume quite a decent number of cellular data. So please ensure that updates are set to Wi-Fi only unless you have great amount of cellular data.

The Zenfone Selfie comes with Dual SIM, Dual 4G and Dual Standby. This means you don’t have to bother on which slim slot you have to insert the 4G LTE SIM as both supports it. By the way, both SIMs are micro SIMs. The Zenfone Selfie is a great performer in terms of call quality and signal strength even during outdoors we could hear the caller clearly even though the ear-piece seems to look smaller compared to any other smartphones.

Audio quality coming out the Selfie speaker is very loud.  It is placed on the bottom back of the smartphone with sound blasting out of the micro-dotted speaker grill.

Battery and Other Features

In terms of battery capacity, you get a removable 3000mAh battery. Well although 3000mAh is pretty decent already for the Zenfone Selfie, some might still complain why isn’t it more. To compensate with this situation, ASUS have made the battery removable which allows users to hot-swap the battery with another one ( which you have to purchase separately ) to instantly provide an extra 3000mAh.

Battery life on the Zenfone Selfie is pretty good compared to the Zenfone 2 series. We think it has to do with the SoC, Snapdragon vs Intel. This smartphone can last you the entire day without dying on you based on a almost heavy usage. Most people prefer their smartphone to last for the entire day or at least until they reach back home after work. The Selfie definitely lasts you until you reach back home. If you think you still need another instant solution just in case you are an extremely heavy users, head over to ASUS Malaysia’s online store to purchase the 9600mAh ZenPower ( RM59 ) which charges the Zenfone Selfie pretty fast. There’s no super fast charging such as ASUS BoostMaster 2.0, but there’s BoostMaster 1.0 which charges your Zenfone Selfie from 0% to 60% within an hour. This is possible because of the 10W ( 2A ) charger which comes together with the Zenfone Selfie.

Other notable features such as double tap screen to wake and double tap screen to sleep is present on the Zenfone Selfie. Screen-off gestures are still available with the change of drawing an ” S ” actually opens up the front camera rather than being a shortcut to compose new SMS. We managed to get around 3 hours and 20 minutes of SOT ( Screen on time ) with 7% of battery percentage left.

Final Verdict

The ASUS Zenfone Selfie is an affordable and reliable smartphone which comes out of the box as a great performer. If you have a budget for a flagship smartphone which gives you similar experience to those which costs you above RM 2000, this is definitely a great smartphone for you as it looks attractive and at the same time ASUS is soon to be the number one brand here in Malaysia.

For a smartphone with Laser autofocus, 13MP front camera with dual flash and priced at only RM1049, you will usually see these features on phones that cost almost double the price. We are not claiming that the Selfie has the best camera, but we are saying that it’s camera has great potential and definitely one of the best out there.  If you are a “photoholic” and love to take loads of photos via your smartphone, the ASUS Zenfone Selfie is the one for you. In short, fantastic camera experience, smooth, fluid and best user experience on a Snapdragon 615 SoC packed smartphone.

Interested on the ASUS Zenfone Selfie? Get one for yourself by clicking here to redirect to ASUS Malaysia’s online store. There’s three color choices, Blue, White and Pink. If you would like to check our unboxing of the ASUS Zenfone Selfie and would like to view more photos, please click here.

ASUS Zenfone Selfie - At a Glance
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Penny Worth?

Rating

Pros:-
- Great front camera
- Fantastic Laser autofocus
- high quality display
- Best performer for the price range

Cons:-
- Not compatible with ASUS ZenFlash.
- No NFC ( Near Field Communication )

4.1