Asus ZenFone 3 Laser First Impressions - An Overhaul!

Last year, the ZenFone 2 Laser series is an impressive smartphone line. All of them boast great value for money due to its great specs to price ratio. As a follow-up, Asus recently announced the ZenFone 3 Laser in Vietnam which seems to boast much better build, ergonomics, and specs compared to the original Laser.
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser First Impressions - An Overhaul!
Asus ZenFone 3 Laser impressions

It now has a metal clad unibody design, sharper full HD screen, new chipset, larger 4 GB RAM, fingerprint scanner, and newer Marshmallow OS w/ cleaner ZenUI. The camera was upgraded to a 13 MP Sony IMX 214 sensor w/ f/2.0 aperture. It has a 2nd gen laser autofocus with 0.03 second speed, EIS, and sapphire glass protection.

Moving forward, we got a chance to be the first to have a close look at this interesting device even before its launch. Here's our first impressions!

Note: This is a prototype unit, specs and features may still change before its PH launch

Asus ZenFone 3 Laser (ZC551KL) Specs

Display: 5.5 Inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 3 protection at 401 ppi
CPU: 1.4 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 430 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 505
ROM: 32 GB expandable storage via micro SD card slot
Back Camera: 13 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX214 w/ 2nd gen laser AF, EIS, and dual real tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8 MP f/2.0 w/ 89 degrees wide angle
Battery: 3,000 mAh
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ ZenUI 3.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Others: Fingerprint sensor, Colors: glacier silver, sand gold
Dimensions: 149 x 76 x 8.05 mm
Weight: 150 g
Price: 11,995 Pesos

Build Quality / Design

2nd gen laser autofocus, main camera, dual real tone flash, and rectangular fingerprint scanner at the backOn top there's a 3.5 mm jack and microphone

Coming from consistent plastic build of the entire ZenFone 2 Laser line, there's a major change of direction with the ZenFone 3 Laser. It now rocks a near full metal unibody design that's feels sturdier than ever. In front, its 5.5 FHD inch screen is topped with a beautiful layer of 2.5D glass.
Asus logo and back / corner curves visible here
Asus logo and back / corner curves visible here
When flipped, there's standard capactive keys that doesn't have backlighting

It's a type of setup that's tougher and denser compared to the rest of its predecessors. We also feel that this won't bend easily and be damaged even when dropped pretty hard. In front, its 2.5D glass seems to have some sort of protection against drops and scratches. 
Expect a tougher ZenFone 3 Laser with its use of a nearly all metal unibody design!
While Asus failed to indicate the type of glass protection they used here, I'm speculating that it uses Gorilla Glass 4 at least.
Volume rocker and power button at right
Volume rocker and power button at right
(There's also an ejectable hybrid SIM card tray at left)
Below, you'll find the speaker, micro USB port, and another microphone
Below, you'll find the speaker, micro USB port, and another microphone

Going to the design, its a super sleek and elegant looking handset. It borrows most of the design found with the new ZenFone 3 line except for its lack of glass at the back. I wouldn't complain though, as I prefer this type of style.

It has a beautiful brushed aluminum paint, chrome painted upper sides, minimalist looking antenna lines, nice back and corner curves, and has a rectangular fingerprint scanner at the back.
 This phone simply a stunner in person!
Lastly, from thick 10.8 mm thick, this new device now only has 7.9 mm slimness that adds sleekness to its looks. It's black border bezels is also a lot slimmer than the entire ZenFone 2 line.
Ergonomically, it feels one of the nicest to hold regardless of price range.
It has fair amount of heft, great grip, and very nice curves. Asus also improved on its ports and opted to place the textured power button / volume rocker on its proper location at left.

As of the moment

Based on build and looks alone, this phone has the potential to be one of the budget phones to beat! That's aside from its improved overall specs, fingerprint scanner, and newer OS which is assumed to perform nicely once the final unit is out.

It is expected to launch on a later date after ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Ultra, and ZenFone 3 Deluxe Zenvolution event. In Vietnam it'll retail 5,990,00 VND which is around 12.6K in Philippine Pesos. Lets expect a price close to that one.

Also check out our Facebook Live post earlier where we did a commentary, benchmarks, and answered some questions regarding this phone and ZenFone 3 Max.

Stay tuned for our full review!