ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro hands on and initial impressions

The Return of the Selfie King!

Among the five ZenFone 4 smartphones that ASUS just recently launched in the Philippines, including the competitively priced ZenFone 4 Selfie, is the more high-end ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro. As you may have already guessed in the naming, this is also a selfie-focused Android smartphone aimed to challenge the currently reigning OPPO and Vivo makers in the selfie market.

This is a returning Selfie phone because the very first selfie-centric smartphone ASUS ever released was the ZenFone Selfie and it was two years ago which offered 13MP rear and front cameras. It was actually a success the way I see it back then, so I was kind of surprised to realize that we never had a ZenFone 3 Selfie variant last year. And while this particular variant was out of the scene, OPPO and Vivo took the opportunity to dominate the selfie loving community in the country by releasing their own Dual Front Camera-equipped device offerings, which as you can see have been happily embraced by Filipinos.

This year, ASUS is returning their selfie variants and it's way better than the first and original installment, and for what it has to offer and its asking price, fans will definitely be stoked to get one.

Fortunately, I also had the chance to have my hands on this Zen 4 Selfie Pro device that ASUS brought to the livestreaming party they held here in Davao City which took place the same date and time the local launch held in Manila on August 19, 2017.

Right out of the box, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with Full HD resolution which is pretty nice to look at. Color accuracy is  on point, vibrant, and the pictures and texts are vividly displayed. On top of the screen is a 2.5D arc Corning Gorilla Glass panel that acts as a screen protection and premium touch to the front panel.

Right below the display are the usual Android capacitive buttons such as the Back and Recent Apps, however, instead of the same Home capacitive button, all ZenFone 4 series now have a physical home key right in the middle of the other two. This key does not press down though, so you just need a simple tap to go back to the Home Screen. Plus it houses the Fingerprint Scanner, that's right fingerprint sensor on all Zen 4 models has been moved to the front. Some people have a problem with that and some are just fine where it is now located.

Above the screen is a quite busy place as here is where we can find its main feature, the dual front camera together with the Softlight LED Flash, call speaker, and a sensor.

The dual camera setup on this Zen 4 Selfie Pro is a powerful configuration. The main front shooter is pegged at 24MP with DuoPixel camera technology and Sony's flagship IMX362 sensor, the same sensor found on the ZenFone 3 Zoom which is a great one. On top of those are ASUS' own SuperPixel Engine image processor and SelfieMaster technology. This main selfie camera alone is capable of recording videos up to 4K resolution, while the SelfieMaster allows users to apply "Beautification" enhancements on images before taking the photos or videos, or even while doing livestreaming on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The secondary 5MP front camera on the other hand has a 120-degree wide angle lens for wider selfie shots and also for stills with a perfect Bokeh or blurred background effects.

Now the image above shows you the back panel of the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro. If you have noticed its looks is almost similar to last year's ZenFone 3 Deluxe variant just minus the fingerprint scanner and laser autofocus, plus the edges are now rounded and chamfered. On this side of the smartphone is a 16MP camera with Sony IMX351 sensor, PDAF and an LED real tone flash. Due a limited that I had with this handset, I was not able to capture and save some photos taken using it. But with my short time with the device at the venue, I can say that it really produces very good photos especially the front shooters, just what I expected.

Down at the bottom of the device are the 5-hole speaker grille, microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microUSB port. Sadly, ASUS did not upgrade the port to USB Type-C on this handset. In fact only ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 4 Pro got the latest USB-C treatment. On the right are the Power key and the Volume Rocker all textured with ASUS' famous concentric circle signature. It's nice to see that ASUS did not bother to move these keys to somewhere else, they are just placed where I prefer them to be. On the other side is the Dual-SIM tray. Unfortunately, it is a hybrid type of tray which means you can either have two SIM cards at a time or a microSD card on the SIM 2 slot. Don't know why, but the ZenFone 4 Max and ZenFone 4 Selfie both have own third slot for microSD card (see hands on links below).
Just like all the ZenFone 4 series, this Selfie Pro is running on the most recent Android 7.1.1 Nougat with also-latest ZenUI 4.0 which surprisingly has done away tons of bloatware right out of the box. And that is something we ZenFans should celebrate as previous versions of ZenUI are full of them. In addition to this good news, ASUS also confirmed that they plan to roll out the upcoming Android O (reportedly to be called Android Oreo) with ZenUI 4.0 to all ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 3 devices.

Final Thoughts

I wanna say this is a pretty powerful and "sulit" ZenFone 4 device you can get your hands on, probably one of the best in its category. I would like to think it is like a "reverse ZenFone 3 Zoom" (see unboxing here) version since the dual camera are now on the front and it shares almost the same set of specs including the Full HD AMOLED display, processor and memory, but priced way lower - Php18,995 versus Php23,995. This would also be a perfect alternative to OPPO F3 Plus which is also in the selfie market with its own dual front camera offering currently priced at Php23,995.

And the Rouge Red color variant is just gorgeous to behold. Two other color options are Deepsea Black and Sunlight Gold. In case you wonder how the box for this variant looks like, see below.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro specs:
  • 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 2.0GHz octa-core 14nm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Supports microSD card up to 2TB
  • 16MP rear camera with Sony IMX351, PDAF, LED Tone Flash
  • 24MP + 5MP dual front camera with Sony IMX362 sensor, f/1.8 aperture lens, Softlight LED Flash
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, GLONASS
  • Dual-SIM (hybrid)
  • 4G LTE
  • 5-magnet Speaker with NXP Smart Amp
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • Deepsea Black, Sunlight Gold, Rouge Red
  • Fast charge
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Php18,995
The ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro is now available in the Philippines through ASUS concept stores, kiosks, authorized retail partners as well as on Lazada website for a SRP of Php18,995. Every package comes with free clear jelly case which is valued at Php699. 

In case you missed it, you may also check out my hands on and initial impressions posts on ZenFone 4 Max and ZenFone 4 Selfie, just click the link. 



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DUGOMPINOY: ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro hands on and initial impressions
ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro hands on and initial impressions
I had the opportunity to have my hands on the latest ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro during ASUS' event here in Davao City. Check out my initial impressions here.
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