OnePlus 3 V Asus ZenFone 3: Top mid-range phones to beat

first_imgThe OnePlus 3 and the Asus ZenFone 3 are fabulous smartphones. We’ve tested them at length, and found them to be easily among the best smartphones that money can buy right now, around their respective price points. Both the OnePlus 3 and the ZenFone 3 offer high-quality premium build and a pretty interesting spec-sheet.It’s safe to say that both these smartphones even give some of the top-tier rival smartphones a run for their money. And quite convincingly at that. Both these phones are so good, it’s hard to pit them against each other and decide which one’s better. But at the end of the day, there’s only one that the average buyer would chose and then spends their money on. Also Read: OnePlus 3 review: Flagship killer that will make you want to settle So, which one’s a better buy. We try and find out in this step-by-step breakdown of the OnePlus 3 and the Asus ZenFone 3.Design and build qualityI won’t beat around the bush much here. The ZenFone 3 is a gorgeous piece of technology. This is what I wrote about it in my review, “It is unlike any other ZenFone you’ve seen before. For one, it’s all metal and glass. Secondly, it looks like Asus has finally given design much-needed afterthought.”In fact, it’s safe to say that the ZenFone 3 is the best-looking (and best built) smartphone at its price point right now. The design however isn’t without its fair share of flaws. For one, it’s not the most original: the phone has heavy undertones of a Samsung Galaxy, and secondly it comes with bezels: thick, chunky bezels. It is also supremely shiny. The phone is available in four colours: Sapphire Black, Moonlight White, Shimmer Gold and Aqua Blue. No matter which variant you choose, you will always be in the limelight (pun intended!). Whether or not you pick up the ZenFone 3 will, at the end of the day, depend on how flashy you like your phones to be. Some like it subdued, you know.  There is however one very big drawback. The ZenFone 3 is actually quite bad in ergonomics. It’s pretty difficult to handle and operate, unless you use both hands. It isn’t as slippery, as the OnePlus 3 though. But having glass all over means the ZenFone 3 is also prone to smudge and fingerprints, as well as scratches.advertisement The ZenFone 3 is the best-looking (and best built) smartphone at its price point right now The OnePlus 3 on the other hand is an all-metal smartphone. Unlike previous phones from OnePlus that were chunky in almost every sense of the word, the OnePlus 3 feels nicer and more refined. The design again, isn’t the most original. The OnePlus 3 in fact looks like a mashup between the HTC One and the OnePlus 2. It’s a little slippery to hold but it’s very ergonomic, and easier to hold and operate in comparison to the ZenFone 3. Should its slippery nature be a problem, OnePlus has a whole bunch of covers for the device, including one in sandstone.Winner: ZenFone 3 has stunning looks, but OnePlus 3 is easier to use.DisplayThe ZenFone 3 comes with a 5.5-inch FullHD Super IPS+ display with a 1080×1920 pixel resolution roughly translating into 401 ppi pixel density. Just like the design, Asus has given real afterthought to the ZenFone 3’s display as well. It is in fact the best display toting phone that Asus has ever built.The screen gets really bright and ambient light sensing works as it should. Couple that with the phone’s excellent viewing angles, along with its non-reflective nature and you get a display that works really well even when you’re outside.There’s a catch though. The colours on-board aren’t as eye-popping as in the OnePlus 3. They seem dull and lifeless — lacking in contrast — in comparison.The OnePlus 3 also comes with a 5.5-inch fullHD screen but with an AMOLED panel. The screen gets bright, but, not as bright as the ZenFone 3. But where the OnePlus 3 seems lacking in peak brightness, it more than compensates for through its contrast ratio.Winner: ZenFone 3 is brighter, but OnePlus 3 offers better contrast and richer colours.SoftwareBoth the phones run Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the company’s custom skin on top. While the ZenFone 3 comes with ZenUI, the OnePlus 3 comes with OxygenOS.Your preference would, at the end of the day, depend on how you like your software to be. Virtually every aspect of Google’s Android OS gets a fresh coat of paint in case of ZenUI. The OxgenOS meanwhile sticks very close to stock Android, and is therefore easier to use and soothing to the eyes. The OxygenOS may be easier to use, but it comes with bare-minimum customisation options. The ZenUI on the other hand gives you lots and lots of it.Asus’ penchant for unwanted apps continues with the ZenFone 3 as well and the phone’s loaded with unwanted apps, some of which cannot be uninstalled. The fact that some of these (Asus proprietary) apps keep updating by the millisecond and keep asking for permission to do this and do that, all the time, can be frustrating. The OnePlus 3 meanwhile has almost none.advertisementBut you know what the best part about the OnePlus 3 is? The phone offers an unlocked bootloader. This means you can root it, ROM it as and when you like and it won’t void the phone’s warranty.Winner: OnePlus 3Performance and battery lifeThe ZenFone 3 is powered by a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clubbed with Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB RAM. It comes with 64GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 2TB via microSD card. The phone supports 4G LTE and dualSIM via hybrid card slot.The OnePlus 3 is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor coupled with Adreno 530 GPU and whopping 6 gigs of RAM. You get 64GB of internal memory straight off the bat, but expandable storage is not supported.Do the math!The OnePlus 3 is rocking Qualcomm’s top-tier processor and has oodles of RAM. That it runs an almost stock version of Android which is devoid of any bloat or unwanted app, is just an icing on the cake. The OnePlus 3, as expected, is faster in every sense of the word. Snapdragon-toting phones have a tendency to get warm. The OnePlus 3 also gets warm, occasionally, but it’s also very quick to cool down, so that’s a plus.The ZenFone 3, with its mid-level chipset, pales in comparison. Add to it, Asus’ heavily bloated user interface, and the phone feels lacking, even in the most basic of tasks, more than you can imagine. The phone is prone to lag or stutter every once in a while, especially when being used for longer periods. The mid-level chipset however ensures the ZenFone 3 is a lot more heat-efficient than the OnePlus 3. The phone simply never gets too hot to handle, no matter how you push it.The mono speaker setup on-board the OnePlus 3 is average at best. If you’re looking for good speakers in a smartphone, the OnePlus 3 is definitely not the one for you. The ZenFone 3 is better (louder) in comparison.Both the phones are backed by a 3,000mAh battery which is non-removable. But while the battery life of the ZenFone 3 is phenomenal, the OnePlus 3 has relatively poor battery life.But, OnePlus has a surprise packed inside the OnePlus 3. This is the company’s first phone that support its in-house fast charging technology – or fast charge in general — called Dash Charging. The accompanying Dash Charger is capable of charging the phone to up to 60 per cent in just 30 minutes. And it does. 45 minutes or so is all it takes to fully charge the phone. The OnePlus 3 is rocking Qualcomm’s top-tier processor and has oodles of RAM. That it runs an almost stock version of Android which is devoid of any bloat or unwanted app, is just an icing on the cake advertisementMoreover, the Dash charger has been built in a way that shifts most of the power management processes from the phone to itself so the phone doesn’t get hot while charging which means you can continue to use the phone even while it’s charging.Winner: OnePlus 3CameraThe ZenFone 3 sports a 16-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, laser auto-focus, 4-axis Optical Image Stabilisation and dual-LED (real tone) flash. On the front, there is an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture.The OnePlus 3 on the other hand comes with a 16-megapixel on the rear with PDAF, f/2.0 aperture and Optical Image Stabilisation. It also has an 8-megapixel camera on the front.Both the ZenFone 3 and OnePlus 3 are excellent camera phones in between the Rs 20,000-30,000 price segment. But, the ZenFone 3 is slightly better. Both the phones click pretty detailed shots in good light. The ZenFone 3, however, trumps the OnePlus 3’s camera in tricky and low light situations. The photos come out even better using the phone’s built-in low light mode.The ZenFone 3 also has a slightly better front camera as it is able to capture pretty good selfies even in tricky light.Winner: ZenFone 3So which one should you buy?While the ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) with 5.5-inch display, 4GB RAM, 64GB memory and 3,000mAh battery will cost you Rs 27,999, the ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL) with 5.2-inch display, 3GB RAM, 32GB memory and 2,650mAh battery is available for Rs 21,899. The price difference between the two versions is really huge.The OnePlus 3 6GB RAM and 64GB memory variant meanwhile has been priced at Rs 27,999 in India.The ZenFone 3 isn’t a bad phone, but the ZE552KL variant’s atrocious price tag means it’s a lot less value for money than the OnePlus 3. The ZenFone 3 at Rs 21,899 makes more sense than the ZenFone 3 at Rs 27,999. It is definitely a better package. Go grab yourself the OnePlus 3 if you have a budget of Rs 28,000. If however, you’re slightly low on cash, the ZenFone 3 ZE520KL at Rs 22,000 is also a good buy.Also Read: Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) review: Shine on you overpriced diamondlast_img read more