Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe review

This is the Zenfone 3 you want – now with Android Oreo

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The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe is the grown up version of the cheap-feeling Zenfone 2 phone we reviewed and actually broke during testing more than a year ago. No one mourned its loss.

Asus is ready to play with the adults at the best Android phones table, which is occupied by the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and newcomers like ZTE. It fits right in, with some reservations.

Why should I buy the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe?

It's a complete turnaround on the design, with an antenna-less full metal unibody, better feeling buttons and good bezel to screen ratio. The 5.7-inch AMOLED display is spacious and bright.

You’re going to like the phone’s outside looks and, as long as you can wrap your head around complex menus, its customizable options that let you tinker with the Android settings. The fact that it has 6GB of RAM means you can have over 30 apps open without slowdown.

Best of all, this phone lasts a long time. There’s solid battery life to the Zenfone 3 Deluxe thanks to its lower-resolution Full HD display and a bunch of aggressive battery saving techniques. It’s all about looks and longevity at a decent price.

Why shouldn’t I buy the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe?

This isn’t the big phone for everyone’s big hands, even at its lower price point. It’s software can be downright intimidating with so many options in the UI, it doesn’t have the best camera and its call quality isn’t always perfect, either. So much for those invisible antenna lines, right?

It also doesn’t have the faster Snapdragon 821 chipset, as much as Asus’s product page talks it up, unless of course you opt for that “special edition” that costs almost twice as much money. Make sure you read the fine print before buying your Zenfone 3 Deluxe.

The fact that rival Android phones like the ZTE Axon 7 snap better photos and includes dual stereo speakers at a cheaper price means you have other options you should consider.


ZTE Axon 7

The ZTE Axon 7 is a better phone for a cheaper price thanks to its superior camera, stereo dual front-facing speakers, bigger fingerprint sensor pad and VR-ready Quad HD display with Google Daydream View support. It now runs Android 7.0 Nougat, too, and accepts nano SIM cards with good call quality to boot. What it doesn’t have it better battery life or a 5.7-inch display.

Huawei Mate 9

Huawei has you covered if you’re keen on a bigger display thanks to a 5.9-inch Full HD screen, and it’s has one of the most powerful smartphones right now. It does cost more money than the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe because of those extra tenths of an inch of screen space and its faster chipset. No matter how much you spend, you’re not getting an app drawer from this Chinese phone, which is a deal breaker for some Android users.

Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom

The camera-focused Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom isn’t out yet, but it’s the company’s next variant in this always-evolving smartphone series. It’s supposed to deliver the superior photos you can’t get from the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, while dialing back the processing power and screen size to a 5.5-inch display. It scales back to 4GB of RAM, too, but uses all of the extra space for a 5,000mAh battery. That’s massive and may be worth the wait if you hate charging your phone.

Matt Swider