Unsung midprice hero
It's been nearly nine months since I bought my latest cell phone, an ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom. I am happy to report that if I needed to get a new one, I would get the same one. It's that good.
It's also unsung. I am amazed at the tech media fawning over small vendors like OnePlus, Essential, or even Mezui -- never mind the obsession over Samsung and Apple.
ASUS is a significant manufacturer of computers, and so I am surprised at how its phones are ignored, largely. Even to the point of misinformation, when one tech reviewer claimed that the software on the phones is never upgraded. My phone has been upgraded regularly with new Android OSes (from 6 to 7 to 7.1), Google security patches, and updates to ASUS' own apps. ASUS has stated that this phone will get Android 8 sometime this year.
Complaining about the biased tech media aside, here is what I like best about this phone, features that I don't think you are going to see on yours:
The battery is rated 5000mAHr, about 1/3 better than most other phones. In theory, it could run for three days, although I have not tested it for that long; I've gone 2 days. In practice, it means I never need to worry about running out of a charge, even on long days that involve flights overseas.
Many phones today have two lenses on the back, but most use them for foolish marketing purposes like the bruha brokeh effect. A few, like this ASUS, use it as an optical zoom -- 2.3x zoom, in this case. In practice, it is wonderful.
ASUS works on making its phone cameras take good pictures. How good? Good enough that this is now my primary camera for when I travel.
As a technical writer who writes about software running on Android and iOS devices, it needs to be easy for me to take screen grabs. Holding down two buttons (the default on Android and iOS devices) is unpleasant. Some vendors have a special button for screen grabs; on ASUS devices, I just need to hold down the AppSwitch button for two seconds.
This feature is so significant to me that when I bought a new tablet earlier this year, it was an ASUS so that I could easily take those screen grabs.
There is one drawback: when I take the phone out of my holster, I frequently and accidentally take a screen grab. Oh well.
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Over all, it is a 5.5" phone with 32GB storage RAM (expandable with a microSD card), 4GB operating RAM, and nearly as thin as an iPhone. For travel, I love that it has room for two SIM cards. Being older, it is now priced at under $300. The sole negative is that the three buttons -- Back, Home, and AppSwitch -- are not lit up, and so a pain to find in the dark.