Asus Zenfone 3 Hands-on: light and stylish smartphone
Asus Zenfone 3 Hands-on: Light and stylish smartphoneRohit KVN/ IBTimes India

The smartphone competition in India has reached new levels, wherein, companies are launching new devices to stay on top of their game. Earlier this week, Asus made its presence felt in several smartphone categories, ranging from a budget premium one to the high-end flagship category with its Zenfone 3 series.

The entry-level model, Zenfone 3 (ZE520KL), which is priced at Rs. 21,999, is of particular interest as it makes the premium smartphone available at a mid-range price. However, the competition in India is rife, and rivals, mainly from China, have an edge with their low-priced handsets that offer top-of-the-line specs.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, for instance, is a premium-looking device at an affordable price of Rs. 11,999.We are comparing the Redmi Note 3 and Zenfone 3 to see if spending twice as much makes sense or not.


Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is quite popular in India and it has a 5.5-inch Full HD display, encased within a metal unibody. Asus Zenfone 3 also has a Full HD resolution display, but measures 5.2 inches and has a Super IPS+ capacitive touchscreen.

The compact size of the Zenfone 3 will ensure sharper images and it uses a new touch technology that justifies the expensive price tag to an extent. But the Redmi Note 3 can still suffice if buyers are looking to save some cash.


The cameras are one of the strongest points for Asus and the Zenfone 3 reflects that. The handset features a 16MP primary camera with f/2.0 aperture, laser phase detection, AF, OIS and dual LED flash. On the front, there is an 8-megapixel snapper with f/2.0 aperture for selfies. Larger the aperture, better the low-light photos, and the Zenfone 3 excels in that area.

As for the Redmi Note 3, the budget smartphone surprisingly matches the Zenfone 3 to an extent. It also features a 16MP primary camera with PDAF, dual LED flash, dual ISP and HDR. On the front, there is a 5MP snapper with 36 smart beauty profiles.

Performance and storage

Asus Zenfone 3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, which is paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB expandable storage up to 2TB. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is not too far behind as it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 CPU, 3GB RAM and offers the same 32GB internal storage.

Buyers of both phones will not feel much difference in performance. The Zenfone 3 runs the latest Android Marshmallow-based ZenUI 3.0 out-of-the-box, whereas the Redmi Note 3 is still powered by Android 5.1 Lollipop-based MIUI 7.


Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has almost twice as big battery than the Zenfone 3, which equips a 2,650mAh unit. The Redmi Note 3 has a large 4,050mAh battery, which the company claims to deliver 14 hours with GPS navigation. The battery optimization in the Zenfone 3 will be different than that of the Redmi Note 3, which will help it achieve reasonable hours of operations.


Both smartphones are equipped with fingerprint scanners on their respective back panels, which offer great security to the device. The Zenfone 3 boasts immersive audio experience with its five-magnet speaker construction and a USB Type-C port ensures quick transfer speeds.


Both phones are great in their own standards. The Zenfone 3 dons a beautiful look, combined with great specs that certainly justify the price tag. However, the Redmi Note 3's offering at almost half the Zenfone 3's price makes you think twice. The Redmi Note 3 is also a great budget phone with all the specs you need in a phone. In our view, the Redmi Note 3 is a great choice for budget-conscious buyers and Asus Zenfone 3 gives a premium and a refreshing experience for those who can spend that extra cash.