ASUS ZenFone Selfie Review – 13MP Pure Front Camera Delight

ASUS has released, in the selfie capital of the world, the ZenFone Selfie. We unboxed it, we love it: your image and likeness framed in a 5.5″ Full HD screen and captured by a 13MP front camera with dual LED (real tone) flash. The P11,995 ASUS ZenFone Selfie is your vacation and night life camera phone. Because you deserve splendid selfies shared on social media.

But don’t forget the rear F2.0 13MP camera, now with laser autofocus, and the Selfie’s 10 hours of battery life.

Swirlingovercoffee Selfie model Deni Villanueva is having fun with the ZenFone Selfie. That to-die-for pink phone is a key source of envy when other girls are around. Take note boyfriends, husbands, mothers, aunts, everyone: the Selfie makes for a great gift.

Our extensive review of the ASUS ZenFone Selfie (this is a long one) includes a quick shoot out with the iPhone 6 Plus and the LG G4.

  • You can install pink-ish themes on the ZenFone Selfie, without installing a third party launcher.
  • The soft matte pink back is nice to touch.
  • The ZenFone Selfie curves into your hand.
  • All clean. No buttons on the sides.
  • Power button on top, but you can double tap the display to put it to sleep or wake it up.
  • Micro USB port on the bottom.

ASUS ZenFone Selfie Specs

5.5-inch full HD IPS display (1920×1080 resolution), 403ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
Adreno 405 GPU
32GB internal storage, up to 64GB via microSD
13MP rear camera, F2.0, dual-tone flash, laser auto-focus
13MP front camera with
– dual-tone flash (on, off, torch mode)
– f/2.2 aperture (more light gets to the sensor)
– 88-degree wide angle lens (more people in the frame)
– 140-degree selfie panorama
beautification feature for smoother skin, thinner cheeks, better complexion
– depth of field (blurred background)
– HDR (for against-the-light shots)
– low light mode (when you don’t want to use flash)
Dual-SIM, Dual standby | Android 5.0 Lollipop
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac | Bluetooth 4.0
3,000mAh Li-Po battery
170 grams
SRP 11,995.00

A Pure Camera Phone That Fits Your Budget

The ZenFone Selfie seems designed to support heavy camera and social media app usage, but not heavy multitasking (multiple app launching and smooth app switching). But we all know that’s not why you’re buying the ZenFone Selfie. You want the front camera.

L-R: Jonathan of GizmoManila, me, Bam of Adobotech, and Jaja of jajaramirez.

And the front camera delivers. It’s my go-to camera when taking selfies at events, which usually happen at night and indoors, and under uneven, varied-colored lighting. But as you can see from the samples, I am proud to show off the ZenFone Selfie – even if the male in me cringes a bit whenever someone reminds of that single, undeniable fact about the envy-worthy phone I’m using: hey, it’s so pink!

ZenFone Selfie Tip: When you’re in the mood for a selfie (“Pare, it’s time!” “Hey, girls, selfie tayo!”), a normal phone needs to be awakened and then unlocked. Wth the ZenFone, tracing an S on the display launches the front camera app. This gesture bypasses the welcome and lock screen so that the moment is captured. How can you not be happy with that?

You can get the Pink or White ZenFone Selfie at Lazada. We’ll go through a few more shots, before we do the iPhone 6 Plus and LG G4 quick camera comparison.

L-R: Me, Raffy of TechPatrl, and Mark of GadgetShelf.

L-R: Nicole of 2.0 Magazine, Me, and Marisa of Gadgets Magazine.

L-R: Jonathan, Bam, and me.

L-R: Me, Karina of Digital Filipina, and Jaja.

L-R: JM of MobileTechPinoy, me, and David of SemiCurrent.

Already Good Rear Camera Gets a Focus Speed Boost

The ZenFone Selfie has the same camera specs as the ZenFone 2, but with a bonus. The Selfie has Laser Autofocus, the same tech found in the LG G3 and LG G4, which helps the camera focus faster than contrast detection, which is the usual way cameras establish a focus point.

Here are a few sample shots.

The above shots and their quality are not surprising, given that the Selfie and the ZenFone 2 has the same rear camera specs. So, for a deeper coverage of the rear camera (including shots taken in Low Light Mode – we’re impressed!) see our ZenFone 2 review or check out our ZenFone 2 sample shots. Also, all shots in this post were taken using “only” the ZenFone Selfie.

Here’s a sample video taken with the ZenFone Selfie, set to default settings.

ZenFone 2 vs ZenFone Selfie Specs Comparison

In case you were wondering, here you go:

ZenFone 2 ZE551ML ZenFone Selfie ZD551KL
64-bit Intel Atom 2.3GHz Z3580 quad-core processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Corning Gorilla Glass 4
3,000 mAh battery, with Fast Charging 3,000 mAh battery, no Fast Charging
13MP F2.0 rear camera, dual LED flash, no Laser Autofocus 13MP F2.0 rear camera, dual LED flash, with Laser Autofocus
5MP F2.0 front camera, 85-degree wide angle lens, no flash 13MP F2.2 front camera, 85-degree wide angle lens, dual LED flash

Quick Shoot Out – ZenFone Selfie vs. iPhone 6 Plus

Here are a few shots, plus commentary, of the Selfie versus the iPhone 6 Plus.

  • ZenFone Selfie. Medium to low light. Punchier colors.
  • iPhone 6 Plus. Medium to low light. A bit more details captured.
  • ZenFone Selfie. Medium to low light. The Selfie's dynamic range is slightly better.
  • iPhone 6 Plus. Medium to low light. Again, slightly more details captured.
  • ZenFone Selfie, front camera. Beautification level 5 (default). Wide angle lens lets you show what you're wearing, great for OOTD shots.
  • iPhone 6 Plus, front camera. I look so tired here. No beautification feature at work. Less details captured, unlike with the Selfie. Also, not so wide angle lens.
  • ZenFone Selfie. Punchier colors. Food looks a bit more enticing.
  • iPhone 6 Plus. Dull colors, but slightly better dynamic range: more details on the camera on the upper right were captured, compared to the ZenFone Selfie.

All in all. The ZenFone Selfie doesn’t lag behind the iPhone 6 Plus.

Benchmarks are not the measure of pleasure. We doubt you’ll be thrilled to post your phone’s benchmark on Facebook or Instagram, and that you’re friends will love it.  So go with what your heart tells you. Do what makes you happy.

Quick Shoot Out – ZenFone Selfie vs. LG G4

The LG G4 also has a good front camera – it should, for its premium price. Let’s see how the ZenFone Selfie stacks against it.

  • ZenFone Selfie. Vibrant colors.
  • LG G4. Good amount of details captured. Colors are a bit dull.
  • ZenFone Selfie, front camera. Wide angle lens leaves more room for more people in the frame.
  • LG G4, front camera. Not as wide angle as the ZenFone Selfie, but captures a bit more detail.
  • ZenFone Selfie, front camera, with flash. The front dual tone flash reaches farther than the G4's, and evens out my skin tone (the bald guy on the left).
  • LG G4, front camera, with flash. The G4 doesn't have flash and uses the borders of its screen to light up the selfie-taker's face. That "flash" is useless in a groufie shot like this. Also, the Selfie's wide angle lens takes in more people.

Again, as with the iPhone 6 Plus, the ZenFone Selfie’s performance cannot be dismissed.

You’ll love ASUS PhotoCollage

ASUS has its own photo stitching app, which I’m writing about since it’s easy to miss it – not all of us dig deep into apps. The ASUS PhotoCollage lets you, well, why don’t you go and take a look.

You’re going to have lots of fun with PhotoCollage.

Youre Main Selfie Phone Can Also Do Movie Marathons

Don’t forget that the ZenFone Selfie is also a pocketable video marathon device. The’re that hefty 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card, plus USB OTG compatibility. That last part means you can connect any flash drive with a microUSB tip into the Selfie (or buy a P30 cable at CDR-King) to watch your movies.

The ASUS ZenFone Selfie is the best selfie phone I’ve handled thus far. That and the price and the colors are sure to make a lot of people happy – showing off their selfies on Facebook and Instagram. That your Selfie phone is also a good video marathon phone can only be a bonus. One phone to rule them all.

The Small Things

Calls are clear – the other party can hear me and I can hear her, even though we’re both in a noisy heap. You’re bound to abuse the ZenFone Selfie and if ever the 10 hours battery life is not enough, consider getting the ZenPower, because there’s a pink one, and it’s tiny.

Outside visibility is acceptable – I have not had problems reading messages or Facebook status updates even under the noon time sun, but the contrast and vividness does not come close to super AMOLED screens. Just had to point that out. The speakers are loud enough without sounding strained, which is good for sharing cat videos in a not so noisy room, or watching an episode of Game of Thrones in a quiet one.

The Surely Good

The ASUS ZenFone Selfie is the best selfie-focused phone I’ve handled so far. Despite having no Optical Image Stabilization, and that I rarely use the front camera flash, I got good shots during my evening indoor events. When the dual LED real tone flash of the front camera is used, it brings back skins tones “colored” by evening concert or indoor party lights.

Low Light mode on the rear camera. Look how dark the surroundings are!

The rear camera is a keeper. The quality of the shots matches the ones I got from the ZenFone 2. So, no complaints there.

3GB RAM is enough to keep the experience smooth. I did not get debilitating lags or crashes or long waits for apps to load. It’s not the fastest phone there is – it won’t win benchmark contests – but it’s enough for what you’re buying it for – a social media and selfie phone.

10 hours of battery life, which you can extend with power saver features.

The front camera has nearly the same number of modes as the rear one! That’s a lot of things to try out.

PhotoCollage App is so much fun. If you’re in doubt about what good photo tweaking app to get, rest assured you already have a good one pre-installed.

The colors available – white, pink, and blue – are spot on for the target market. I’ve not met a group of people who’ve not stared or wanted to remark about how pink my phone is.

The Maybe Bad

Not the best for graphic heavy games or super heavy multitasking. The 3GB RAM is just enough to keep things smooth. Modern Combat 5 Blackout, for example, has some lags. But then you’re not getting the ZenFone Selfie for a multitasking monster – you’ll get the ZenFone 2 or ZenFone Deluxe for that. The ZenFone Selfie is a pure camera phone, and that’s what you want: take great selfies and upload them.

The soft matte back is a grease and finger print magnet.

The front camera, like the rear one, has Manual Mode!

The capacitive keys on the Selfie’s chin are not backlit. A vibration compensates for this. It doesn’t bother me though.

The ZenFone Selfie does not come with headphones, unlike the ZenFone 2. But even I forgot about it since I’ve been taking tons of pictures with the Selfie.

Verdict – Buy It Now!

The P11,995 ASUS ZenFone Selfie shoots splendid selfies worth sharing, and bragging about, on social media. An S gesture on the turned off display quickly launches the selfie camera, for those can’t-miss-out-on selfie moments. The 3GB RAM and octa-core processor tandem for good enough performance. And then there’s the great rear camera plus the Selfie’s 10 hours+ of battery life. If you’re up to it, you can even play with the Manual Camera settings of the front camera (how many front cameras have that?).

The ZenFone Selfie’s front camera has a wide angle lens, real flash, and 13 megapixels – and these give the Selfie an edge against the iPhone 6 Plus and LG G4 when it comes to taking selfies. All this combine for a great vacation and night life phone. The ZenFone Selfie makes for a great gift for your selfie-loving friends and family. Highly recommended.

Get the Pink or White ZenFone Selfie at Lazada.

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Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for