Over the past couple of years, every smartphone vendor has been trying to out a phone which offers the best of every aspect at a price that wouldn't burn a hole in one's pocket. And, with more Chinese phone makers foraying into the price-conscious Indian market, the battle of budget smartphones has just gotten a little wild.
Now, with this kind of competition, offering the best of every aspect isn't just enough. There has to be a standout feature without compromising on other aspects.
Keeping this in mind, Asus, the Taiwanese tech giant, had launched the Asus ZenFone 3 series of smartphones which cater to different needs of people. Of course, at various price points.
And, one such smartphone is the Asus ZenFone 3 Laser. Currently priced at Rs. 16,999, the phone was launched at Rs. 20,000 in India and aims to be the best mid-priced handset, especially in terms of camera.
But, does the ZenFone 3 Laser has what it takes to be the best camera-centric mid-price smartphone? Well, keep reading to find out.
Camera app UI
Before getting into the performance details of the camera, let's take a closer look at the user interface of the camera app on the ZenFone 3 Laser.
To begin with, the camera interface is fairly simple. One wouldn't take much time getting used to it. The Settings option along with a few others like the HDR mode and flash are located on top and bottom of the screen.
At the bottom left corner of the screen, there is a tile-like icon which takes you to the different photo modes that accompany with the phone. Speaking of modes, there are plenty of options to choose from: Auto, ZenFlash, Manual, HDR Pro, Children, Low Light, Night, Depth of Field, GIF Animation, Miniature, and Time Rewind are a few to name.
There's also a dedicated on-screen button for the Manual mode next to the shutter button with which you can get access to advanced settings like ISO, White Balance, and Shutter speed among others.
Overall, the camera interface is quite easy-to-use, and we had no issues with the app in our time with the device.
The Asus ZenFone 3 Laser has a 13MP Sony IMX214 sensor (f/2.0 aperture) at the back with a dual-tone LED flash and a Laser AF module on either side. It also includes Asus's proprietary Pixelmaster 3.0 imaging technology.
At the front is an 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture for selfies. Regarding video recording, the smartphone offers support for recording 1080p videos at 30fps along with slow motion and time lapse.
Now that the technical speciations of the camera are out of the way, let's talk about the real life performance. The camera on the Asus ZenFone 3 Laser is claimed to lock focus under 0.03 seconds. In reality, though, it didn't happen especially when there were multiple faces (or objects) in the frame.
The images captured by the primary camera had a good depth to them and for the most of the part reproduced colors well. However, the details took a hit. Most of the images, even the ones shot in good lighting conditions weren't sharp enough to impress us. You may not notice it while viewing the images on the smartphone's screen.
But, on viewing them in their original resolution on a Laptop's screen would certainly give you the same feeling.
The same continues when it comes to the images captured indoors as well. Color reproduction and depth are fairly good, but the end results are not sharp enough. On the other hand, images captured in low-lighting conditions mostly turned out to be mushy.
As mentioned earlier, the camera is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps. In our testing, we found that the recorded videos were decent at their best. Also, despite having support for Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) we could spot a few shakes in the recorded videos.
The front-facing camera is pretty decent. By default, the beautification mode is turned on. Images captured with the front camera can be shared on social media platforms without any edits.
For a smartphone that is aimed to be one of the best camera-centric mid-ranger, the Asus ZenFone 3 Laser is a bit of a disappointment. While the camera is capable of capturing decent images under bright lighting conditions, on the whole, it is not something we would recommend you to invest on.
If you're in search of a mid-range phone with good imaging capabilities, Moto G4 Plus is what you should be looking at. Also, now that the Lenovo Z2 Plus had received a price cut, it's a good alternative if you are looking for an all-round performer.