ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie Review
Selfie-centric smartphones are definitely abundant right now, as we have here one of ASUS’ latest offerings, the Zenfone 4 Selfie. The successor to the original Zenfone Selfie from two years ago now sports a 20MP + 8MP dual front cameras with mid-range features at a mid-range price point. Let’s proceed with our review.
Design and Construction
Up front, the Zenfone 4 Selfie sports a 5.5-inch IPS display, running at HD resolution. Like I said in our first impressions article of the device, 720p displays are dated, but consider the battery life savings afforded by a lower resolution display.
Above the screen sits the dual 20MP+8MP front cameras with a dedicated LED flash and the call speaker. Down below, navigation is handled by non-LED lit capacitive touch buttons. The home button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
Moving to the rear, we see the 16MP rear camera together with the LED flash, a couple of silver antenna bands, and the silver ASUS logo smack in the middle.
The right side houses the volume and power buttons, while the left side has the triple card tray that can fit two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card.
There are the headphone jack and call microphone at the top of the device. Down at the bottom, we have two audio grills; one speaker and one microphone. Data and charging are handled by a micro USB port.
Overall, the device doesn’t really have anything special going for it in the aesthetics department. The design is simply about function over form and is generally uninteresting to look at. All surfaces are extreme fingerprint and dust magnets, but ASUS sort of remedies 60% of this by including a clear silicone soft case.
The device is quite hefty in hand and feels quite thick. Its curved edges make it reasonably nice to hold and save for the top and bottom bezels, the screen-to-body ratio is pretty good.
Display and Multimedia
The Zenfone 4 Selfie’s 5.5-inch display has a resolution of 1280 x 720, which equates to 267ppi. It has definitely taken a hit on sharpness and detail if you’re used to a 1080p display but is sufficient for most tasks.
It’s still good for casual browsing, playing games, viewing photos, and watching videos. Colors are slightly unsaturated, but seem to be better than the Zenfone 4 Max. Viewing angles are okay indoors, but suffer in bright sunlight. Speaking of bright sunlight, the display gets bright enough to be completely usable outdoors.
The speakers are audible enough for casual listening, but the quality isn’t so good. Song lyrics end up sounding muffled, and there’s no punch in the bass.
OS, UI, & Apps
The phone runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat with ZenUI. The UI looks somewhat cartoonish and two-dimensional but is essentially the same as past versions.
There aren’t a lot of pre-installed proprietary apps, which is good; unfortunately, useful ones like ASUS Splendid and AudioWizard aren’t present.
The standard load-out of Google apps are present, as well as some essential social media apps. The Zenfone 4 Selfie comes with 64GB of storage. Subtracting system reserved storage, you’re left with 51.3GB, which isn’t bad. If that’s still not enough, you have expansion options in the form of microSD or USB OTG.
As its main feature, the front of the device packs 20MP + 8MP dual cameras. The 20MP main front camera has an aperture of f/2.0 and a focal length of 31mm, equivalent to a field of view of about 72-degrees. The 8MP secondary front camera has a focal length of 12mm, for a field of view of 120-degrees, which is great for group shots. Between the lenses, the front cameras come with their own dedicated LED flash.
The rear camera has a resolution of 16MP, a focal length of 26mm, an LED real tone flash, and support for phase detection auto-focus. It has a Pro mode with fairly limited range. Shutter speed is only 1/1000 of a second to 32 seconds, and ISO ranges from 100 to only 3200. White balance adjustment is great as it allows you to adjust Kelvin values.
Both the rear camera and the 20MP main front camera are powered by PixelMaster 4.0 for a variety of camera modes, such as auto, beauty, portrait, selfie panorama, GIF animation, and 9 filters.
The beauty mode removes blemishes and spots on your face for clearer looking selfies, while the portrait mode artificially blurs the background for a pseudo bokeh effect.
Additionally, we have a Selfie Master app that has dedicated beauty modes for video, photos, and even live-streaming. You can also make collages and slideshow videos using this app.
Overall, the 20MP main front camera outshines the other two cameras and produces great selfies even in indoor and low-light situations. The secondary 8MP front camera has a good field of view for groufies, but sharpness isn’t up to par and shots get somewhat grainy. The same goes for the 16MP rear camera. Its field of view is way too narrow for most situations, and colors look terrible. Check out some sample shots we took.
You can record videos up to 1080p 30fps across all three cameras. We tested all three, and you can check out our sample videos down below.
Even in video recording, it’s yet another case of the two front cameras outshining the rear camera, which we don’t mind. After all, this is the Zenfone 4 Selfie.
Overall, we were very impressed with the front camera performance of the device. The phone definitely lives up to its name.
Performance & Benchmarks
At the heart of the Zenfone 4 Selfie is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 8-core processor running at a clock speed of 1.4GHz, an Adreno 505 GPU, and a 4GB of RAM. This is the same setup as the Zenfone 4 Max, save for the extra 1GB of RAM. The phone is very responsive and handled multi-tasking pretty well. Playing graphically demanding games such as Injustice 2 was not 100% smooth, but still very playable.
Check out the scores we got in our synthetic benchmarks:
- AnTuTu – 43,322
- GeekBench – 662 (Single-Core), 2,250 (Multi-Core)
- PC Mark – 4,970 (Work 1.0)
- 3D Mark – 297 (Sling Shot Extreme)
- Vellamo – 2,402 (Chrome), 1,225 (Metal), 1,522 (Multi-Core)
- Quadrant Standard – 14,516
- AndroBench – 278.19 MB/s (Read), 199.79 MB/s (Write)
Connectivity and Call Quality
All your standard connectivity needs are covered by the Zenfone 4 Selfie. 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and GPS are present. Voice calls were clear, and we had no problems while using mobile data. GPS is very fast and accurate, and it worked perfectly with Waze and Google Maps.
Additionally, the phone has a fairly fast fingerprint scanner that can store up to 4 unique fingerprints.
The Zenfone 4 Selfie is packed with a 3,000mAh battery. Charging is a crawl, as the phone doesn’t support fast charging, as it takes about two hours to get from empty to full. In our standard video loop test, the phone lasted 12 hours and 30 minutes at 50% brightness and 50% volume (using headphones).
This is pretty good and is a solid indicator of slightly above average battery life. Average real world usage (playing games, watching videos, using the camera, etc.) translates to actually more than a day of on-and-off usage. At most, you’ll only have to plug it in to charge once or twice during the day.
Additionally, the phone comes with PowerMaster, a feature that can boost performance, optimize the device’s battery for longer life, check the battery’s health, and more.
Note: The PC Mark Battery Test was unavailable as it kept crashing upon startup.
If you can get past its lackluster design and dated display, you will find a device that performs decently and packs a punch with its selfie capabilities. With similar internals as the Zenfone 4 Max, we’d even go so far as to say that it’s a Zenfone 4 Max with less battery capacity and an improved front camera system. With an SRP of Php13,995, it doesn’t break the bank, but the only way for you to justify purchasing it is if you want an ASUS device that can take great selfies – and in that regard, the Zenfone 4 Selfie is awesome.
ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie (ZD553KL) specs:
5.5-inch HD IPS display @ 720×1280 pixels, 267ppi
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 1.4GHz octa-core processor
Adreno 505 GPU
64GB internal storage
expandable via microSD slot up to 128GB (dedicated)
16MP rear camera with LED Flash
20MP + 8MP dual front camera
4G LTE Cat4
Dual SIM (Nano, dedicated)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Android 7.0 Nougat with ASUS ZenUI
3,000mAh Li-Ion battery
155.66 x 75.9 x 7.65 mm (dimensions)
145 grams (weight)
What we liked:
- Great dual front cameras
- Variety of camera modes
- Triple card slot
- Good price point
- Capable internals
What we didn’t:
- 720p display
- Lackluster design
- No fast charging
- Dust and fingerprint magnet