Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra is a large 6.8 inch phablet. It is powered by a snapdragon 652 processor and has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. It has an excellent 24 MP camera and a highly capable 8 MP front camera. It runs on 4600 mAh battery and is priced at Rs 49990.
At Computex 2016 in Taipei, Asus unveiled the next generation ZenFone mobiles. ZenFone series of mobiles have been a huge success story for Asus, across the globe. Though ZenFone had “Value for money” as its proposition, it was lacking the “next generation features” so far. But with the launch of ZenFone 3 lineup, the ZenFone gets a host of creative and first-to-market features.
For some reason, the adoption rate of Marshmallow by OEM has been very slow. The latest version of Android, the Android M or Marshmallow has a bunch of interesting features. But the reason for the slow and low adoption rate is the constraints imposed by the new Android APIs and the issues with backward compatibility. I have been updated to the Marshmallow promptly in my Nexus 5 and 7 (2013). My other mobiles are still stuck with Kit-Kat. Thankfully, ASUS is rolling out Marshmallow updates for a few of its ZenFone models.
The specific ZenFone models which have been promised the Android 6 update are
- ZenFone 2 (ZE550ML, ZE551ML)
- ZenFone 2 Deluxe (ZE551ML)
- ZenFone 2 Laser ( ZE500KL, ZE550KL, ZE601KL)
- ZenFone Selfie (ZD551KL)
- ZenFone Max (ZC550KL)
- ZenFone Zoom (ZX551ML)
You can check out my reviews from the links above in the list.
With this update, the ZenFones will get app permission management, battery doze, Google Now and the rest of the features we love with the Android M. Also the update will install Google Messenger, Calendar, and Gmail apps automatically on the mobiles. Asus’s equivalent apps, the ASUS Messenger, ASUS Mail and ASUS Calendar will also co-exist. But if you do a factory reset after updating to Android M, these Asus apps will be removed. You can get them back (if you are crazy and if you like them) by installing these apps from the Google Play store. The OTA update will be rolled out by the end of March 2016 in batches.
The ZenPad was announced at the ZenFest earlier this year. Yesterday at the bloggers event in Bangalore, Peter Chang, Regional Head – South Asia & Country Manager of Asus India, announced the the ZenPad 7.0 will be from Oct 9. ZenPad comes in three variants: ZenPad 8.0, ZenPad 7.0 and ZenPad C 7.0. The ZenPad C 7.0 and ZenPad 8.0 will be available by end of this month, while the ZenPad 7.0 will be available exclusively on FlipKart for a price of Rs 11999.
The ZenPad 7.0 is powered by an Intel Atom processor with 1 GB RAM and has an internal memory of 16GB. Storage is expandable with a memory card, by upto 64 GB. It has an 8 MP camera on the rear and a 2 MP camera on the front. It will be available in black and while color variants. It runs on Android 5.0 with the ZenUI on top. It has loads of features on the UI layer, but what impressed me the most is the Audio cover.
The ZenPad can also be purchased with the Audio cover for Rs 14999. This Audio cover is not connected wirelessly, but it is a hard wired connection. The back panel is removable and the audio cover can be fitted. The audio cover has multiple speakers with DTS sound standards and a sub woofer. The sound quality of the tablet increases manifold with the audio cover attached to it.
The ZenPad 8.0 will have an 8 inch display and otherwise its specs are identical to the ZenPad 7.0. It is priced at Rs 14999 and with the Audio cover, it will cost you Rs 17999. The ZenPad C 7.0 is powered by a slighly less powerful Intel processor, the C3230 and has 5MP camera at the back and a VGA camera on the front. It will be available for Rs 8999 later this month.
Available exclusively on FlipKart
Following Motorola, Gionee and Xiaomi, Asus recently announced that it is joining ” Make-in-India” campaign. The Taiwanese smartphone and PC maker announced that it has partnered with Foxconn to begin local manufacturing of smartphones in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. Asus will start the manufacturing with Zenfone 2 Laser followed by Zenfone Go, aims to manufacture 1.5 lakh smartphones per month by the end of the current financial year which will account for almost 80 per cent of sales in India. Zenfone 2 Laser, the first smartphone that will be manufactured in India and the entire Zenfone 2 series received great response in India because of its massive features and value for money.
“India offers us a huge opportunity as smartphone penetration is just 10%. We are excited to announce our local manufacturing facility that will cater to the growing demands of the market. The Indian government’s focus on ‘Make in India’ has opened a plethora of opportunities for international companies. It is an opportune time to make the announcement as it will enable us to bring our cutting edge products to consumers who are looking for features and design sensibilities of a high-end smartphone at an economic price. We are aggressively targeting the Indian market. We aim to achieve 5% market share in the country by next year and empower all our customers with luxury.” said Peter Chang, Regional Head – South Asia & Country Manager – System Business Group – ASUS India.