Asus ZenFone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3: first look
The just-announced Asus ZenFone 6 with its $200 price tag is for those who want a brand-name phablet on the cheap. A high-end product it is not, but it delivers quite a lot of bang for its buck – a 6-inch screen, 13MP camera, 3230mAh battery, and a 2GHz dual-core processor are in its arsenal. All of this makes the ZenFone 6 a great alternative to those higher-end phablets, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Here's how the two look when compared side by side.
Visually, there's little that the Asus ZenFone 6 can wow us with, but it is not that bad of a phone either. It is a plastic-made device with simplistic design and a soft touch finish applied to its surface. We had our hands on the red variant at the CES floor, but the phone will also be available in black, white, and gold. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, however, is clearly the better-designed phone. It is slimmer, lighter, and with more sophisticated design elements, such as the trim around the side and the leather-like back cover. Besides, the Note 3 is easier to handle since it is more compact.
Huge – that's how we'd describe the ZenFone 6's 6-inch screen if we had to use one word only. But its resolution of 720 by 1280 pixels is far from impressive, although it is still adequate for most tasks. Asus has picked a screen of the IPS variety and it shows. The ZenFone 6's display exhibits good viewing angles and its colors have a natural tone. Still, we have to say that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has the better screen overall. Sure, it is smaller, but with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels, it is much more sharp and detailed. Now would be a good time to mention that both smartphones have extra-sensitive screens, which allows them to be controlled even when the user has gloves on.
Along with its ZenFone smartphones, Asus introduced its new ZenUI custom Android interface, which is present on all phones belonging to the series. Basically, it is a rather simple UI that doesn't really get much in the user's way. It adds a number of visual and functional tweaks here and there, but nothing too major. One of the special things about ZenUI is the inclusion of What's Next, which is a feature helping users keep track of their agenda.
Samsung's approach to custom Android UI's is quite different for the company has aimed to load the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with as much goodies as possible. And we don't really have anything against that in the Note 3's case – we like the extra apps and functionality features, and the set of productivity tools built especially for the S Pen stylus is welcome as well. Plus, the Note 3 has the option to work with two apps side by side for superior multitasking.
With its quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the fastest phones around. Add to that its 3GB of RAM and you get a phone that can handle anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat. But the Asus ZenFone 6 is no slouch either, although it is still way behind the Note 3 in terms of raw power. It is powered by a dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 SoC paired with 1GB of RAM. All in all, that's a pretty decent hardware setup given the ZenFone 6's price point. Just don't expect it to be a flawless performer.
There is plenty of storage space on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 since its maker has added 32GB on board, plus a microSD card slot for further expansion. And there are 50GB of Dropbox cloud storage on top of that, which is neat. There is much less on-board storage space available on the Asus ZenFone 6, but at least there's a microSD card slot available on it.
As we know from experience, the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is capable of shooting beautiful photos in all kinds of situations. The snapper in on the Asus ZenFone 6 seems promising too, with its 13MP of resolution, f2.0 and all, but then again, let's not forget that the higher megapixel count does not guarantee great image quality. We should point out that Asus has added its PixelMaster tech, which appears to be a software algorithm improving low light photos. But without any real-life photo samples, we can't be sure how good of a job it can do at that.
Hardly a surprise, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a lot more to offer than the Asus ZenFone 6. Samsung's phablet is faster and better designed, not to mention that it comes with a nice perk in the form of the S Pen stylus. But the pricing factor shouldn't be taken out of the equation. After all, the Asus ZenFone 6 will be several times cheaper than the Note 3, which would make it a great alternative for buyers on a tighter budget. Still, those who can afford a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are advised to give that a try first before even bothering with any alternatives.