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ASUS’s ZenFone 3 Zoom ditches its predecessor’s optical zoom lens

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ASUS’s ZenFone Zoom was an interesting smartphone. It had a full 3x optical zoom lens array wrapped in a smartphone body that didn’t feel incredibly bulky — which was rather refreshing…even if the camera and phone itself was unimpressive. Its follow up ZenFone 3 Zoom, on the other hand, seems a little underwhelming especially in the whole zooming department.

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With the ZenFone 3 Zoom, you don’t get a sophisticated zoom lens array mounted horizontally across the back of the smartphone like you did with its predecessor. Instead, this smartphone uses a dual-camera setup at the back — similar to that on the iPhone 7 Plus.

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One camera acts as the “zoom” camera with a 59mm short telephoto focal length (giving it a 2.3x zoom), while the other “main camera” is a wide-angle 12-megapixel Super Pixel snapper with Sony’s IMX362 sensor and Dual Pixel PDAF technology. ASUS says that with this dual-camera setup, it can zoom up to 12x with a combination of optical and digital zoom. This dual-camera setup also has special “portrait mode” features with nice bokeh. For selfies, you also get a beefed up 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 f/2.0 aperture camera.

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Although the optical zooming took a hit, this new “main camera” does look better on paper with a faster aperture. ASUS also says that the new Super Pixel camera has incredible low-light performance as the sensor is 2.5x more sensitive than the iPhone 7 Plus’. It also comes with a bunch of “professional” settings that include a manual mode that gives you control over shutter speed, EV, ISO and white balance settings, RAW support and manual lens selection (no more being forced to use a certain lens like on the iPhone 7 Plus).

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There’s also more good news in the battery department. The ZenFone 3 Zoom will come with a massive 5,000 mAh battery that should give this smartphone a long battery life. As far as specifications go, the device comes with a Snapdragon 625 processor and a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display (500 nits of brightness) with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. All of that is bundled into a metal body that’s just 7.99mm thin at the edges and weighs just 170g. At the back, it’s also got a fingerprint sensor.

SEE ALSO:  Asus ROG Phone 3: Everything you need to know

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Unfortunately, ASUS hasn’t revealed memory specifications on the new ZenFone 3 Zoom yet, nor have they revealed the price. What they did say was that the smartphone will be available in February of 2017.

Are you guys impressed with the new Zoom? Let me know in the comments below.

UPDATE: The ZenFone 3 Zoom comes with up to 4GB RAM and up to 128GB of storage.