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Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Review – With Great Features Come Great Selfies

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What makes a good selfie phone? Is the ability to take clear, good-looking selfies enough? Do all the selfie-centric features matter more? As more and more selfie innovations make their way to our smartphones, people are looking for more ways to make their selfies stand out. Thus it is no longer sufficient to merely have a good selfie-taking smartphone. Consumers want their selfies to be unique, and they want all the tools they can get to achieve that.

The Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro, which made its world debut last month and debuted in the Malaysian market shortly after, is a feature-packed selfie-centric smartphone with one purpose and one purpose only – to take the best-looking selfies no matter the condition. The “Pro” tag should give you an indication of how serious business selfies are to Asus is with this device. The specs sheet certainly looks impressive enough, but does its real-life performance lives up to all its hype?

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But before that, let’s strip the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro off all its selfie features-laden suit and see what we got here. The device is unmistakably Asus in design and software. The metal back is nice to the touch and the device as a whole is delightfully lightweight, which does matter considering users would do a lot of lifting with it to take selfies. These two make for a phone that feels really good on the hand. Bonus point for the absence of any unsightly camera bump!

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When it comes to software, we are not a fan of Asus’ past implementation of the Android operating system due to the many unnecessary Asus-exclusive apps (read: bloatware) which frankly nobody uses, and we suspect neither are you. We are happy to report that this has been kept to a bare minimum in the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro – in fact there are almost none right out of the box! This results in a much more pleasant software experience to navigate around, which is a welcome surprise to anyone familiar with Asus’ mobile software.

Screenshot_20171004-162444Asus has kept things minimal and simple here

Speaking of software, the Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro is running on Android 7.1.1 Nougat (Google Assistant yay!) and together with 4GB worth of RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, they make for a zippy performance all around. Graphically-intensive games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne runs smoothly and fine without any hiccups. Special mention also goes to the speedy (non-clickable) fingerprint reader and we like that we can use it to quickly go straight to the home screen from the screen-off state without having to first wake the screen. Protip: You can register up to five fingerprints and use them to answer incoming calls too besides unlocking your device.

20171004_113625Asphalt 8: Airborne on full throttle!

While it does not have the same incredible battery life of the ZenFone 3 Zoom, the 3,000mAh battery on the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro is pretty decent in its own right. It will easily last you a full day with normal usage but expect it to drain faster if you do things like game heavily on it. And yes, it supports fast charging.

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It’s a very decent phone for its price no doubt but it is in the cameras that the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro really spread its wings. The camera features and modes offered are pretty astounding, and some of them you can only find in today’s flagship phones. Apart from the standard Super Resolution, Panorama and Time Lapse mode, you can also take slow-mo shots (up to 120FPS at full HD resolution) and make GIF animations!

For the serious mobile photographers, you will be happy to know that there’s a Pro mode available so you can manually customize your shots to your taste with controls to toggle the focus, white balance, exposure value (EV), shutter speed and ISO sensitivity among others. If that’s not enough, you also have the ability to shoot photos in RAW format for the full post-processing goodness.

Screenshot_20171004-162636(Left) The various camera modes/features at your disposal (Right) Pro mode 

However, the lack of optical image stabilization (OIS) is a pretty big bummer, considering it is becoming a standard feature for most smartphones that tout their cameras to be the main selling point. A pair of steady hands is definitely required with this phone.

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Things get even more interesting when it comes to the selfie side of things. For starters, the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro is one of the few smartphones in the market to pack two front-facing cameras, with the main 24MP front camera equipped with F1.8 aperture lens and large sensor pixels for ultra-high light sensitivity while the 120-degree wide-angle second front camera allows for large group “wefies” with 200% expanded view. The main selfie camera also allows users to shoot selfie videos in 4K UHD.

P_20170928_171257_BFWhy take normal selfies when you can have portrait selfies?

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(Left) Normal mode vs (Right) Wide-angle mode

The hardware part is only half of the story though. If you like your selfies “beautified” just as much as the next girl (or guy), the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro has you fully covered. From skin tone to eyes enhancement to cheek adjustment, it has all the important face-adjustment features to ensure you look your absolute best in just the way you want.

The Selfie Master app that comes pre-installed lets you quickly and effortlessly go into selfie-capture mode for both still photo and video. If you are a fan of doing live videos on social media, you’re gonna love the BeautyLive feature as it integrates with Facebook, Instagram as well as YouTube and it render beautification features in real time. For those who want to add a little more spice and variety to their selfies, the collage and slideshow features are a welcome addition.

Screenshot_20171004-162510The collage feature in the Selfie Master app has a variety of options to organize your selfies neatly

As a dedicated selfie phone, the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro excels in giving users to the tools to take great-looking selfies, even if the cameras themselves are not the best-in-class. The Portrait Mode feature should be fan-favorite, as it is one of the more affordable smartphones (other than the flagship devices) to offer that, as are all the selfie video features in keeping with today’s social media trend of video consumption. The rear camera is actually pretty decent too but is hampered by the lack of OIS.

As a phone, it is a very good Asus phone as it offers a much lighter and zippier software experience with less baggage. And with the confirmation of Android 8.0 Oreo update in the near future, it is only going to get better.

Selfie-lovers will find much to love about the Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro, no doubt about that.

*The Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro is available in stores now at the recommended retail price of RM1,799.

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