Smartphones are now most people's primary cameras, and with good reason. The quality of smartphone photography has
improved to the point where a lot of people don't see the need to own compact cameras anymore. What's more, now that
photography is predominantly digital and storage is cheap, it's possible
to take hundreds of pictures every time you step out your house. All
of these conditions have been ripe for the creation of a peculiar new
(Also see: Seven Simple Tips to Take Better Pictures
With Your Smartphone)
selfie is such a huge deal that the Oxford Dictionary crowned it the
2013 word of the year.
Smartphone manufacturers have realised the importance of the front camera and
have since launched a number of products aimed at winning over obsessed buyers, with the Micromax Canvas Selfie (Review |
InFocus M530 (Review |
Today's selfie-centric smartphone comes from Asus, in the form of the Rs. 17,999 ZenFone Selfie. Featuring the same laser
autofocus system we saw in action in the Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (Review |
the Selfie goes a bit further with an improved front camera and
specifications sheet. Does it offer enough to entice the self-obsessed shooter?
We find out.
Look and feel
The Asus ZenFone Selfie is based
on the Asus ZenFone 2, and has the same general look and feel. The distinct shape, the concentric circle
pattern on the chin, the volume rocker on the rear, and the overall styling
are all maintained, making this phone unmistakably part of the series.
It's most similar to the ZenFone 2 Laser in that it features the laser
autofocus system on the rear as well.
The only real
differences are that the Selfie comes in its own unique colours, and the
front camera lens is naturally and noticeably larger. It's positioned
front and centre, with the flash and earpiece on either side. This phone also uses
a hybrid-SIM slot, which means that one SIM slot doubles up as the slot for expandable
storage forcing you to choose one or the other. As always, we find this arrangement to be unnecessarily
The screen of the Asus ZenFone Selfie is a 5.5-inch
1080x1920 pixel affair, and is sharp, bright and suitably detailed.
Viewing angles, sunlight legibility and colour reproduction are all
excellent as well. Like the ZenFone 2 Laser, the Asus ZenFone Selfie is a
large phone, and can arguably be classified as a phablet due to its
hefty dimensions and screen.
Specifications and Software
Asus ZenFone Selfie uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC, which is common in sub-Rs. 15,000 devices. The review unit sent to us came
with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There is also a Rs. 15,999
variant of the ZenFone Selfie which comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal
storage. This sounds expensive when you consider that
similarly-specified devices such as the Yu Yureka Plus are available for much
less, but Asus is charging a premium for its camera technology here.
specifications include 4G compatibility on both SIMs, Corning Gorilla
Glass 4 protection, support for up to 64GB microSD
cards, and a 3000mAh battery. While the device is far from top-spec, it's
certainly more than capable of handling most day-to-day smartphone
tasks with comfort.
The ZenFone Selfie sticks to Asus' tried and
tested software formula, with the ZenUI custom overlay on top of Android
Lollipop. It remains much the same as before, with enough
customisability and functional operability to keep most people satisfied.
is also the usual case with Asus devices, the ZenFone Selfie comes loaded
with bloatware and Asus tools. The third-party apps can be removed, but
Asus apps and services can only be disabled. While a lot of these apps might be useful, they do make for far too much clutter and this only looks
messy on an interface that is already unattractive in our opinion. All
of these apps also need constant updates, which might take a toll
on your data plan. However, this doesn't really
affect performance in any way.
The signature feature
of the Asus ZenFone Selfie is its 13-megapixel front camera, which
boasts of an f/2.2 aperture and 88-degree wide-angle field of view. The rear
camera has a similar 13-megapixel sensor, with an f/2.0 aperture and the
laser autofocus system that we saw in action on the Asus ZenFone 2
Laser. Both cameras have 5P Largan lenses, Toshiba sensors, blue glass
filters, and dual-tone LED flashes.
The rear camera of the Asus
ZenFone Selfie is exactly the same as the one used on the Asus ZenFone 2
Laser, and performs identically. The camera shoots well in indoor
settings, while producing average outdoor shots that have appear washed out in daylight. The laser autofocus and macro focus
capabilities ensure excellent indoor shots and close-ups. The laser
autofocus system is quick and accurate, ensuring good, properly focused
shots most of the time.
(Indoor and outdoor shots taken with the Asus ZenFone Selfie. Click to see full-size images.)
You're unlikely to use the front camera
for anything other than selfies, so we limited our testing to just that.
Pictures are sharp, detailed and vibrant, with accurate colour
reproduction and good low-light performance. Essentially, the front
camera has the same flaws as the rear camera, with wash-out and white
saturation issues. However, for a camera that is likely to be pointed only at people standing very close to it, it's absolutely brilliant. The front
flash is a huge benefit as well.
The camera app is the same as the
one on the ZenFone 2 Laser, and is generally well-designed.
Notable features are the standard automatic mode, a detailed manual
mode, HDR, panorama, smart remove, slow motion, GIF animation and time
lapse. The front camera can also use all these modes, and there's a useful
selfie panorama option as well. The app has a nifty sliding
self-timer, which is an extremely intuitive way to take self-timed
(Selfie and close-up shots taken with the Asus ZenFone Selfie. Click to see full-size image)
The Asus ZenFone
Selfie is a capable performer in terms of day-to-day functions thanks to the
capable Snapdragon 615 SoC under the hood. The 3GB of RAM also helps a fair
bit, and keeps the device running smoothly. The interface runs
flawlessly, and apps and games load and run without any trouble. Dead Trigger 2 was a pleasure to
play, although it did cause slight heating on the back, as well
as heavy battery drain. Our test videos, including the most heavily encoded
ones, ran properly as well.
We put the device through our usual suite of benchmarks,
and results were a bit higher than what we're used to seeing on Snapdragon
615-powered devices. GFXBench and 3DMark
returned scores of 13fps and 5256 points respectively, while the AnTuTu and Quadrant scores were
38,485 and 23,993 respectively. While you are paying a bit of a premium
for the camera technology, the performance is still good enough to
justify the higher pricing.
Battery life is good as well. The Asus ZenFone Selfie ran for 11 hours, 28
minutes in our video loop test. Although this is a fair bit lower than
the figure we got from the Asus ZenFone 2 Laser, it's justified when you
consider that this device is slightly more powerful and has a higher
resolution screen. You can still get a day's use out of it. The Selfie also performed well in terms of call quality, signal
strength and sound performance from the speaker.
Asus ZenFone Selfie is a (relatively) inexpensive, reliable smartphone with
respectable performance and decent software. It doesn't
quite deliver a premium experience, but it comes close enough
without putting too much of a burden on your bank account. It also looks and
feels good, and Asus has enough brand recognition now to make it a force in the market.
This phone has camera features that we're more used to seeing on premium
category smartphones. The laser autofocus system, the large
front camera sensor and the front dual-tone flash all represent great value for a phone that costs less than Rs. 20,000. Not that the cameras are
without flaws, but on the whole you can expect excellent photos
from the Asus ZenFone Selfie.
If you use your smartphone's camera a
lot (especially to take pictures of yourself), the ZenFone Selfie is a good choice for you. It's a capable device with a great set of
cameras, and you aren't likely to be disappointed by it. The ZenFone
Selfie goes on sale exclusively through Flipkart later this month.
Asus ZenFone Selfie in pictures