ZenFone 3 Zoom gets big Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, bokehlicious Portrait mode and more

ZenFone 3 Zoom
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There’s a lot going for ASUS’ camera-focused device–the ZenFone 3 Zoom. Totting a unique dual-camera setup that boasts up to 12x total zoom, the new device doesn’t just blow its predecessor out of the water. It also puts it in good stead against the current crop of high-powered flagship smartphones in the market today.

Well, things are going to get even better for the ZenFone 3 Zoom–there’s a huge Android 7.1.1 Nougat OTA update available now that brings some snazzy new features. To enjoy these enhancements, head over to Settings > System Update on your ZenFone 3 Zoom.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Nougat update are the UI changes. The quick settings menu gets a makeover, and you’ll also be able to silence notifications.

You’ll enjoy the nifty Nougat enhancements including Multi-Window View–where you can run two apps side by side.

Double tap on the menu capacitive button to quickly switch between apps.

From the notification screen, you’ll be able to reply to messages directly without switching to the messaging app.

Nougat also introduces 72 new emojis, including genders and skin tones (yes, we need to be politically correct and all-inclusive).

Not only that, you’ll now be able to change the display size of texts and icons, too.

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As a quick summary:

  • Multi-Window View – Run two apps side by side
  • Quick App Switch – Switch between apps with a double tab
  • Notification Directly Reply – Reply to messages right inside the notification screen
  • 72 New Emojis – Select new emoji genders and skin tones
  • Data Saver – Limit how much data the device uses
  • Notification Controls – Choose app notification preferences
  • Display Size – Change the size of texts and icons

While these new features from Android are cool, ASUS is also throwing some new tricks of its own. Specifically in the camera department, the Camera app gets a makeover and new features.

As you know, the ZenFone 3 Zoom features powerful 12MP twin cameras with 25mm f/1.7 and 56mm f/2.8 lenses respectively. This allows it to shoot wide-angle shots or zoom in, up to 12X (2.3X optical, 12X hybrid zoom) for a closer shot.

The new trick though, is Portrait Mode. By using the two cameras simultaneously, the device calculates portions of the photo to be “blurred out.”

In Portrait Mode, accessible via an icon beside the shutter button, you’ll see a slider to adjust the amount of blur on the background. This controls the F stop or depth of field of the shot. With a shallow depth of feel (from f/0.95 to f/22), you’ll get what is known as a “bokeh” effect.

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ZenFone 3 Zoom Manual Mode
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What irks me is that the Manual Mode button has now been demoted to the Mode menu, staying hidden from the main screen. As I shoot in Manual (in RAW+JPEG) at least 70% of the time, it’s an inconvenience to have to go deeper in the menu, with what used to be a single tap.

I guess portraits and bokehlicious shots are what people take more these days?


ZenFone 3 Zoom Portrait Mode
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Rory Lee from Soyacincau.com looks pleased.

Last but not least, ASUS takes a swing at Huawei, with a watermark of its own, introduced with the new Nougat update.

Anyway, as a quick recap, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is the successor to the ZenFone Zoom. It’s a huge leap in terms of performance, design and build; and improves upon the original concept.

And it all honesty, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is fantastic and is all out to please. It boasts Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 performance, whopping 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, amongst other things. It’s also got a generous 5,000mAh to make it one of the most live-wire devices around.

It retails at MYR2,099 and is available at all ASUS authorized resellers and major retailers.

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