Interface and Functionality

Asus’s software is snappy, but a bit unattractive


Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow is running on the ZenFone 3 Laser out of the box, and just like all of Asus’s other Android-powered handsets, it’s running the company’s custom software skin over stock Android. Asus has done a lot to clean up its Android skin over the years, and the changes that have been made are certainly for the better compared to what was running on the ZenFone 2 when it first launched. However, even with this being the case, the overall look is still a bit cartoonish and unpleasing to my eye.

Bad looks aside, Asus did add some rather useful tweaks here and there. The built-in launcher is extremely customizable, there's a fairly robust theme engine to play around with, and there are tons of screen gestures to make use of if your heart so desires.

Processor and Performance

Occasional stutters and slowdowns, but an overall great performer for light and medium tasks

Under the hood of the ZenFone 3 Laser is a Snapdragon 430 processor and 2GB of RAM. The 430 chipset being used here is of the octa-core nature and is clocked at 1.4GHz. This is a processor that’s made explicitly for lower to mid-range smartphones, and that is very evident in the performance of the Laser.

Most general tasks function just fine, meaning that web browsing, social media use, and even playing games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne all run quite well on the phone. However, because of the lower RAM amount that’s present here, apps are quick to close and reload when you try to do a bit of multitasking.

This sort of mid-tier performance is to be expected with a phone that’s selling for $199, and while the power here is plenty capable for light to moderate use, don’t expect to be able to run tons of apps at once and still have a fluid experience.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 43722
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 47205
Honor 5X 35183
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 37548
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 1129
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 1460
Honor 5X 1108
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 975
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 2144
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 2856
Honor 5X 2327
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2022
JetStream Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 21.347
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 21.993
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 15
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 18
Honor 5X 15
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 14
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 6.9
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 4.5
Honor 5X 6
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 5.5
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser 289
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 1001
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 309

Connectivity

Mostly modern tech

On the connectivity side of things, the Asus ZenFone 3 Laser can be used on both AT&T and T-Mobile’s LTE network for calls/texts and data. I personally used the handset on Cricket Wireless (an MVNO of AT&T), and not once did I run into any issues.

Dual-SIM support is present if you’d like to make use of two separate lines, and if you only have one number that you rely on, you can choose to have one SIM and one microSD card in the phone instead to expand the included 32GB of storage. Along with this, you’ve also got support for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot functionality, and Bluetooth 4.2.

One downside here has to do with the fact that the ZenFone 3 Laser is still using microUSB 2.0 for charging and syncing. I would have loved to see USB Type-C instead to make the device a bit more future-proof, but this is a rather common omission for a phone of this price point right now.
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