The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) Phablet Review

Page 2 : Hands On The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra, Hybrid SIM, Fingerprint Sensor, Cameras

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) Phablet

With a 6.8″ display, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra is a large phablet. It is just a little smaller than the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 tablet, albeit thinner at 6.8 mm. The large screen is just perfect for watching movies, because it has a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920. Flip it horizontally for the ultimate full HD movie player on-the-go.

Thanks to its metal chassis carved out of aerospace-grade aluminium alloy, it has a very premium feel. It has a significant heft at 233 g / 8.2 oz though, so calls are best made with a Bluetooth earpiece.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra places the Power button on the right, but retains the centrally-aligned Volume buttons at the back from its predecessor, the ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE601KL). We would still consider it an ambidextrous device.

Incidentally, it boasts two powerful 5-magnet speakers. However, they are both located at the bottom, so you can’t really enjoy stereo sound when you watch movies on the ZenFone 3 Ultra horizontally.


Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability. The two nano SIM card trays are located along the right edge, just above the Power button. The second SIM card tray is a hybrid SIM tray though. It supports either a second nano SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time.

The ZenFone 3 Ultra boasts a fast fingerprint sensor, integrated into the Home button. ASUS did not quote a specific detection time, but we can confirm that it is a fast fingerprint sensor. It takes 18 finger presses to train the fingerprint sensor though.



The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra sports a decent 8 MP front camera for selfies. While not as good as the 16 MP front camera of the OPPO F1s “Selfie Expert” smartphone, it has a higher resolution than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and is capable of recording 1080p videos. The only downside? It doesn’t even support screen flash.

The killer feature of the ZenFone 3 Ultra is its new PixelMaster 3.0 camera at the back. It features a 23 MP Sony IMX318 sensor, which boasts new features like fast hybrid autofocus and 3-axis electronic image stabilization.

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ASUS paired it with f/2.0 Largan lens with 4-axis, 4-stop optical image stabilization, and a second-generation laser auto-focus sensor.

What all that means is you can capture very high resolution photos and videos in poorly-lit conditions. Any blurring that occurs due to hand shakes and wobbles will be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Focusing is also much faster, thanks to the new laser sensor that accurately detects the range of objects in low light at up to 1.5 m away.

In addition to 1080p videos, the PixelMaster 3.0 camera can also shoot 4K videos. To top it off, it encodes the 4K videos using HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) to keep the file size small while maintaining a high level of image quality.

Next Page > Setting Up The ZenFone 3 Ultra, It’s Alive!, Available Memory & Storage


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9 thoughts on “The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) Phablet Review

  1. Pingback: Daily Roundup: 2016-09-29 -

  2. Peter

    It’s a pity that the Zen Phone 3 Uttra has The same screen resolution of the other smaller phones. Just seems a waste of potentially a great big display.

    1. Dr. Adrian Wong Post author

      They could have gone with a 1440p display, but that would mean greater cost and power consumption for arguably no real benefit. With a pixel density of 324 ppi, it would certainly qualify as a “Retina display” at the standard viewing distance.

      Remember – this is a large phablet, so we are more likely to view it at a distance. You can’t tell the difference with say, the Galaxy S7 edge, unless you compare them side by side and peek close-up.

      1. Peter

        As all three devices have the same resolution the DPI would change depending on the display size. The Ultra would not give you anymore screen realestate just a larger display. The idea of a phablet would be to increase screen realestate to make it a more productive device compared with a smaller ( non Phablet ) phone.

        I would love to see manufacturers take the phablet size of six inches or larger and turn them into higher end devices rather than the middle spec devices we are seeing now.

        1. Dr. Adrian Wong Post author

          Correct, the ZenFone 3 Ultra won’t give you more pixels, just a larger screen.

          If you are viewing movies on a range of phablets at a distance of, say… 10 inches, a larger screen is arguably more enjoyable, but the higher resolution on any of these phablets won’t be noticeable.

          If you are looking to work on a phablet, then yes, the higher resolution will matter… a LOT. Sadly, the only phablet that is close to 6″ with 1440p resolution is the Galaxy Note7.

        2. Terence

          Peter you are right!

          Im looking to replace my aging xperia z3 tablet compact which is 8inch to a slightly smaller 6+ inch phablet. But it seems non of the newer phablet are high end devices.

          Even Sony’s XA Ultra is powered by the mediocre Mediatek chipset instead of something higher end.

          The Ultra was something I was considering but the price for that mid range chipset seems a bit too much also…

          1. Peter

            Hi Terence,

            I have a real problem with manufacturers building large screen devices with questionable specifications. If these devices where cars then they would have an SUV chassis with a compact cabin being powered by a small 1.6 litre engine. What’s the point?

            Why not manufacture a large screened phablet with high end specifications and call it a flagship device. Just giving a phone a large screen without the benefit of higher resolution just makes it suitable for media consumption rather than a device suitable for media creation and productivity.

  3. Fahim

    Hi..just to ask from your experice reviewing this phone..did you noticed that the website,whatsapp and facebook app display are quite small despite the big screen size.The good thing is we can see more things in a screen.I tried changing to fonts to largest size but it is still the same
    i did comparison with xiaomi mi max..the display of a website in mi max is larger and fit the screen
    I suspected this is related DPI optimization
    Can you give some comments?

    1. Dr. Adrian Wong Post author

      That may be due to the higher resolution 1080p display. The icons and text will seem smaller, if you are migrating from a lower resolution 720p display, for example. Then again, the Xiaomi Mi Max has the same resolution.

      Unfortunately, we no longer have the ZenFone 3 Ultra with us, so we cannot confirm it on our end… 🙁


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