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ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro: Takes selfie camera war to new level

Chinese smartphone makers Vivo and Oppo have created a strong presence in India with their selfie-focused devices such as Vivo V5 Plus and Oppo F3 Plus. Now, Taiwan-based ASUS has joined the race with Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro.

Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is the flagship model in the "Zenfone 4 Selfie" series and, the company claims, features the world's most advanced 24MP "DuoPixel" front shooter. The device is also being touted as the world's first to come with 4K selfie video-recording capability.

Priced at Rs 23,999, the smartphone essentially competes with the likes of Vivo V5 Plus, Gionee A1 Plus and Oppo F3 Plus.

Will the selfie bet work for ASUS? Let's find out.

A key highlight of the smartphone is the 24MP dual-front camera set-up with a f/1.8 aperture and Sony "IMX362" dual-pixel image sensor.

The front camera is also equipped with features like Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF), Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), 4K video recording, DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) technology and Super Pixel technology.

There is a secondary 5MP front shooter with f/2.2, 120-degree wide angle field of view and softlight LED flash.

The selfie camera resolution is set to 12MP by default and that lets the user click photos in "portrait mode" (which adds DSLR-like blurred background effects to the images).

One can activate the 24MP DuoPixel resolution in the settings. However, switching to this mode does not let the user try "portrait mode".

The user can click standard and wide-angle snaps for selfies and "groupfies" when DuoPixel mode is turned on. Meanwhile, the "auto", "selfie panorama", "beauty" and "GIF animation" features work alike in both resolutions.

The selfie camera impressed us both indoors and outdoors. The "portrait mode" produced decent selfies with enough detail.

The soft LED flash lets the user capture better selfies in low-light conditions.

Open the camera app and swipe right to further choose filters like grayscale, warm, hipster, retro, faded, nostalgic, vibrant and blush.

In our opinion, selfies clicked in the 12MP mode looked better than those shot in 24MP DuoPixel resolution. There were some loss of detail, though, in the 12MP mode.

The 16MP rear snapper with PDAF and EIS captures good images sans any over-saturation.

The 5.5-inch, full HD display is good with decent sunlight legibility. Above the display are the dual camera modules, an LED flash, earpiece and proximity sensor.

Below the screen lies home button that doubles up as fingerprint sensor and two back-lit navigation buttons.

Both the volume rockers and power key (with ASUS' trademark concentric circles) are placed at the right side of the device. The left side houses hybrid SIM card slot.

The rear follows neat design with camera module and flash while the ASUS logo sits below it.

Like many other Android phones in the market today, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro also has antenna bands running on the top and bottom on the rear side.

The device sports a metal unibody design with a very light form factor. We found the phone ergonomic and easy to use with one hand.

It is worth mentioning that the device runs ASUS' own "ZenUI" based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system (OS) which comes with much less bloatware this time.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset built on 14 nanometer (nm) process powers the device. That, coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage, delivered smooth performance.

Another good thing is the built-in FM radio that most Android smartphones give a miss these days.

What does not work?

The 3000mAh battery (with fast-charging support) disappointed despite a power efficient processor. It did not last through the day on moderate usage like browsing YouTube, running Google apps and social media use.

We also noticed that while playing games the device gets warm within just 15-20 minutes.

Conclusion: ASUS Zenfone Selfie Pro is indeed a good buy for the selfie-focused generation. Apart from delivering good selfies, there is smooth performance and premium looks that make it a strong contender in this price segment.

(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at krishna.s@ians.in)