The phablet segment has seen a great growth in the last one year, and the end users are flocking this segment. The USP being the screen size being somewhere between the size of a phone and that of a tablet. Sometimes unwieldy in the hand but most people love them for the clarity of display and the computing power that they pack. Today, we shall see the ASUS Zenfone 6 that falls into this category.
All three models in the newly-launched Asus ZenFone series share the same design philosophy – mostly plastic bodies with a some metal added to make them sturdy. The Asus ZenFone 6 review unit that we had was the Pearl White variant. The phone is also available in Charcoal Black, Cherry Red and Champagne Gold. When you hold it in the hand, you do feel its weight a little.
The ZenFone 6 is 9.9mm thick. It is well built and withstands stress very well. The Matte finish on the back means that you can grip it better. But you really need to use both hands to peacefully work with it. The front of the ZenFone 6 is the large 6-inch screen and large bezels on all sides. Below the screen are the capacitive buttons for navigation. A metal strip lies below these capacitive buttons. The earpiece and the front camera are above the screen. On the right edge of the phablet are the volume rocker and the power button, both made of metal. The left edge is bare. The Micro-USB port for charging and data transfer is on the bottom along with the microphone, the 3.5mm headset jack is on the top. On the rear are the camera and the flash. The rear cover is removable and the battery is non-removable.
Features and Specifications
Asus has made the ZenFone 6 with an Intel Atom Z2580 dual-core SoC clocked at 2GHz with Hyper-Threading technology which allows up to four threads to run at once. This processor is more powerful than the Z2560 inside the ZenFone 5. A PowerVR 544MP2 clocked at 533MHz provides the juice for graphics. The phablet also has 2GB of RAM. It also has 16GB of internal storage, of which only 12.2GB is available to use. This can be extended to up to 64GB using microSD cards.
The phablet comes equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera with flash, and can shoot 1080p videos. The 2-megapixel front camera can capture 720p videos, and can be used for video calls. It is the dual-SIM version of the ZenFone 6 available here in India. It accepts Micro-SIM cards. And in connectivity, the ZenFone 6 has the latest Bluetooth 4 and Wi-Fi 802.1 b/g/n standards.
The 6-inch screen has a resolution of 720×1280, which translates to a pixel density of 245ppi. It has very good saturation in the colours that are displayed but is dim even at its highest brightness setting. As a result of this, sunlight legibility takes a hit. On the other hand, viewing angles are decent.
The best thing about ZenUI is that that it is clean and clutter-free. The icons look good and are sufficiently large. Pulling down the notification shade from the top right of the screen reveals a ton of quick settings toggles like what we’ve seen in LG and Samsung phones. To take advantage of the large screen, Asus provides a One Hand Operation setting which is further customizable to recreate the experience of a 4.3, 4.5 or 4.7 inch screen.
A Reading Mode is also available, which basically adjusts the screen’s colour tone to provide a better reading experience. The Glove Mode works as advertised and in our testing we found that it responded really well.
Asus’ camera app has been built very innovatively. It has lots of manual options that pro users can work with. There are also a few filters that can be added before taking a photograph. Multiple shooting modes are also available. Asus has innovated with its Selfie mode, in which the rear camera can focus on as many as four faces and capture an image automatically. It worked perfectly every time. Captured 1080p video suffers from exposure issues as the video is unusually dim. The 2-megapixel front camera is rendered useless considering the wonderful Selfie mode that we discussed earlier, but it does a decent job.
The ZenFone 6 works smoothly during daily use. Apps open and close rather quickly. Most games worked fine except for high-end ones such as GT Racing 2 and Shadowgun, these games stuttered in some areas.
Web browsing is a really brilliantly fast experience on any connection, which is confirmed by the SunSpider score of 775.1ms. In CPU performance tests like AnTuTu and Quadrant, the ZenFone 6 scored 22,403 and 10,157 respectively. Even 3DMark Ice Storm and GFXbench had scores of 7,981 and 15.8fps respectively. All the numbers are really good compared to other phablets in the same price range.
The high capacity 3300mAh battery inside this phablet lasted for 9 hours and 25 minutes. This is in tune with our regular usage experience, where the phablet lasted us at least a day and a half, which involved around a good mix of gaming, web browsing, calls, texting and listening to music. WiFi was “ON” all the time too!
This is a total value for money phablet and if you are looking to buy one, go for it. But it is not for the HTC fans or the hardcore photographers out there! We say, it’s a brilliant punch for the price which is under INR 20,000/-
I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.