ASUS Zenfone 4 Snap Verdict
The ASUS Zenfone 4 has all the makings of a great smartphone: a large screen, apps, plenty of memory and, of course, a killer camera.
When it comes to image capture the Zenfone has an impressive trick: it features not just one, but two sensors. One of these is designed for regular shots and the other for wide-angle shots.
The ergonomic design and large screen make it ideal for capturing both photos and videos, but it’s the built-in camera app, PixelMaster, that really hands you the creative camera control.
In standard daylight conditions and when using the standard camera, the phone produces superb vibrant images rich in detail and the colour.
Switch over to wide-angle, and again you can capture good quality images with an increased field of view – but these shots are at a lower resolution, and that does show in the quality.
No matter, at a £200-ish price tag, the ASUS Zenfone 4 is an absolute bargain for any photographer wanting a smartphone with a decent camera with plenty features.
For ASUS Zenfone 4
- Dual Sensors
- Vibrant High Detail
- Fantastic App
Against ASUS Zenfone 4
- Slightly boxy design
- Wide angled images not as good as the standard camera
ASUS is by no means new to the SmartPhone market and has been producing the Zenfone range since 2014, although finding a handset in the UK has been a little tricky.
Now the latest iteration packs in the imaging features and offers smartphone users all the usual Android apps they could want alongside the obvious call-making features.
But we’re not that interested in the phone bit; it makes calls nicely, plays music without the need for a £20 adapter and plugs into computers easily enough.
The bit we’re interested in is how well it takes photos and video.
Who knew smartphones could arrive ready to go and with apps that enable you to properly make use of the camera without having to spend more money! That’s one of the most instant realisations any iPhone user has when they pick-up an Android phone.
The ZenFone 4 is an impressive bit of kit, and OK it may not have the latest sleek lines of the Galaxy S or Huawei P20 Pro, but as phones go, it’s not unattractive.
I’m not a white phone person, but this phone does have a nice finish to it. I tested an ASUS laptop last year, and the speed and quality of that was incredible, and it’s instantly apparent that the Zenfone is from the same mould.
At 7.52 x 15.54 x 0.75cm W x H x D and weighing in at 165g, the ASUS Zenfone 4 is a decent size and boasts a large 5.5-inch touchscreen.
The Super IPS+ screen displays at Full HD (1920 x 1080). Brightness comes in at 600nits, or bright enough to see in most conditions and the screen itself along with the back of the phone features ultra-tough 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass.
It also has a 2.1 slim bezel, blue light filter for eye care, capacitive touch panel with 10-point multi-touch. This means it’s super responsive to touch-sensitive gloves and features a smudge-resistant oleophobic coating.
The phone comes with 64GB of internal storage, which is pretty good. This can be expanded up to 2TB with a MicroSD card. Which is insane!
I haven’t found a card of this size on sale, but I have heard that they’re on the way. I have however just tested the SanDisk Ultra 256GB which should do nicely for the time being.
And keeping on the topic of storage, the phone also offers 100GB of free space with Google Drive. This is just for a year, but if you don’t already have cloud storage, then you need to get it sorted. This is a great introduction.
Onto the main feature the camera… There are two rear cameras: the Main and the Second.
The Main camera
This packs in 12 million pixel Sony IMX362 dual pixel 1/2.55-inch sensor which is impressive.
The small lens has a fixed f/1.8 aperture with a 25mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera terms.
This lens gives a field of view of 83º which is a good standard.
It also has built-in image stabilisation that works through 4-axis and enables up to 4 stops of optical stabilisation.
The Second camera
The Second camera drops the resolution to 8 million pixels, but enables a wider field-of-view or 120º.
Alongside the two cameras, there’s a third dot on the back of the camera for the built-in LED flash.
To use the cameras you need to use the PixelMaster App that comes pre-installed.
Once loaded you have all the usual point and shoot camera options. This all changes once you find the Pro option. Tap this, and the camera instantly transforms from point-and-shoot to a true creative imaging device.
The pro option takes the use of the camera to another level, and despite the fixed aperture, there’s plenty of scope for adjustment with shutter speed from 1/10000 to 32 seconds, ISO from 25 to 3200, +-2EV compensation, and a good range of white balance options, in Kelvin.
HDR can either be set to auto, on or off, aspect ratios changed from 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1, a self-timer from 10s to 2s and flash modes.
Then there’s Auto low light, HDR, and modes including Beauty, Portrait, Pro (Raw support and up to 32-second exposures), super-resolution of 48 million pixels, Gif Animation, Panorama, Slow Motion, Time-lapse with power saving and nine filters built in.
To switch to the wide angled camera, you need to tap the icon on screen, as soon as this is done then the camera swaps.
This lens has a focal length of 12mm in 35mm film camera terms.
As well as shooting stills you can also shoot video, and here we have the option to shoot 4K at 3840 x 2160 at 30 frames per second (fps), 1080p at 30 / 60 fps and 720p at 30fps.
When shooting video, you get 3-axis electronic stabilisation and the ability to shot slow motion at 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps.
As with stills you can shoot wide-angle with a field of view of 120º.
You can shoot RAW
Like all the latest dual camera phones the ASUS ZenFone 4 can shoot both JPEG and RAW, it just needs to be selected in the shooting settings. Shooting in RAW enables you to capture more data and helps to capture detail in the shadows and highlights than you could when shooting JPEG.