Thanks to mobile phones, people are taking a lot of pictures these days. From a fight in a metro, to people visiting a zoo, park or a museum —snap-happy onlookers are clicking almost anything and everything. But taking great photos isn’t just about having a nice camera; I am a firm believer that good photography comes from smart photographers who think creatively and know how to make the most of what they have got—whether they are working with a fancy DSLR or a high-end phone. A new phone from Taiwan-based Asus can take smartphone photography to a whole new level. This is the Asus ZenFone Zoom which literally puts DSLR-like photography in your pocket.
If my memory serves me right, smartphone cameras with optical zoom have been around ever since Nokia launched the N90 in 2005. However, in its three-week stay with me I can confidently say that ZenFone Zoom will raise consumer expectations of smartphone photography manifold. The phone was launched in January this year and it comes with a 5.50-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels.Interestingly, it is a single SIM (GSM) phone that accepts a micro-SIM card.
ZenFone Zoom’s design takes its cue from the look and feel of professional DSLR cameras, with dedicated buttons for shooting, recording and telephoto operations. Its strong unibody frame is precision-crafted to a metallic finish that is cool and smooth to the touch. ZenFone Zoom even has an integrated a safety loop and many stylish strap options, for confident shooting from any angle.
Probing the innards, ZenFone Zoom is powered by a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor and it comes with 4 GB of RAM. It runs Android 5.0 and is powered by a 3000mAh non removable battery. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, FM and 4G.
On to the camera front. ZenFone Zoom is said to be the world’s thinnest smartphone optical-zoom device. It packs a 13-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel front shooter for selfies. It uses a 3X Hoya lens in an innovative 10-element lens arrangement that delivers pretty good clarity.
With built-in optical image stabilisation (OIS) to eliminate shakes and blurred shots, ZenFone Zoom packs DSLR-style shooting experiences into a metal unibody that tapers to a mere
5 mm, so it slides comfortably into a pocket. In fact, this built-in optical image stabilisation (OIS) ensures sharper, steadier shots every time, even at maximum 3X optical magnification. The phone’s OIS also gives smartphone photographers the confidence to shoot with slower shutter speeds for longer exposures, equivalent to up to four stops—and that means clearer, brighter photos.
Snap-happy people will agree with me that many of the most photographable moments of our lives happen when there is not enough light. We are either indoors or the sun has set. However, ZenFone Zoom will not disappoint on this front; its rear camera benefits from dual-LED Real Tone flash to create a natural illumination for indoor portraits, generating a decent combination of yellow and white to capture lifelike colours and skin tones.
ZenFone Zoom excels at macro photography, enabling extreme close-ups as near as 5 cm to reveal new and unseen worlds of detail, and is ready to turn pro with one tap—with Manual mode allowing instant adjustment of shutter speed, exposure value, white balance, ISO and a host of other professional-grade settings.
During the evaluation period, ZenFone Zoom came across as a nifty device. It allows fast processing speed and a quick response time. Its expansive 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display offers wide 178-degree viewing angles, and a fantastic 403ppi pixel density to render every image in eye-popping detail. Voices are clear (on both ends) with no unexpected crackling or additional ambient noise. Snapping away with its camera produced some very good photos and video with good resolution and clarity.
Photography has become extremely important for today’s smartphone users. In my opinion, ZenFone Zoom will put professional photography within the reach of everyone. A great proposition for mobile photography enthusiasts!
* Dimensions: 158.9 x 78.84 x 11.95 mm (L x W x H)
* Display: 5.50-inch FHD IPS LCD display
* Processor: 2.5 GHz quad-core (Intel Atom Z3580 processor)
* Operating system: Android 5.0 with Asus Zen UI
* Memory & storage: 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage
* Battery: 3000mAh
* Estimated street price: Rs 37,999