ASUS ZenFone 3: Media Launch at 313@Somerset

ASUS Zenfone 3

I attended the media launch for the ASUS ZenFone 3 recently and while I’ve yet to review the phones personally, I have the phone specs you’ll want to know about. Also, the final section in this blogpost will involve my take on whether the mall (313@Somerset) is a suitable venue for hosting media launches of products like mobile phones. So read on… 🙂

The Zenfone 3 comes in 3 colors, and there are a total of 3 models: there’s Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra.

Let’s start with the basic model: ZenFone 3.

Available in 3 colors (Moonlight White, Shimmer Gold and Sapphire Black), the Zenfone 3 comes in 2 variants: 5.2 inch and 5.5 inch. The retail price (w/o contract) is S$398 and S$498 respectively. It’s available at all 3 telcos, ASUS Authorized resellers and ASUS Brand Stores.

Why I’d consider buying it: 77.3% screen-to-body ratio, 3GB RAM/32GB Storage, 16MP ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 Camera, 8MP 85deg wide-angle front camera – all for a reasonable price of $398 w/o contract.

Then there’s the ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Available in 2 colors (Sand Gold and Glacier Silver), the ZenFone 3 Deluxe will be available in late-September. The retail price is S$998 and S$1188.

Why I’d consider buying it: 79% screen-to-body ratio, 6GB RAM/64GB and 256GB UFS 2.0 storage, 23MP ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 Camera.

And finally, the ZenFone 3 Ultra

The phone costs S$778 (w/o contract) at ASUS Authorized resellers and ASUS Brand Stores.

Why you’d probably buy it: 4K UHD TV-grade video processor, 6.8-inch Full HD Display, 4600mAh battery which charges to 60% in 45 minutes and also functions as a power bank.

My take on the new phones: I’m overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the choices available. Such that I’d postpone my buying decision. Including the variants and color choices, there are probably 8 phones or more to choose from. It’s like having different versions of the iPhone launched at the same time – I won’t know which to buy. It’s probably easier to launch just one phone and call it the ‘best’ one at that point in time. Easier for me to make a decision to buy too.


ASUS ZenFone 3 Media Launch

I don’t usually pop by 313@Somerset for media launches, so this particular ASUS one might be the first (if my memory serves me well). There’s one main advantage of picking the mall for a media launch: the very accessible-location (just above an MRT station in town) means the turnout will be pretty good. *This is especially important since people aren’t being paid to show up and cover the launch.

In comparison with a previous ASUS launch that I attended, I noted three points:

(1) Everything has to be done ‘in public’

Unlike a previous launch held in a function room, you can’t conduct rehearsals out of the public eye. As I was there early (as I always am), I noted how the models wore skin-baring dresses with thigh-high (almost crotch level) splits. One eventually had to pin up the slit with a handful of safety pins.

What’s great is that the shoppers in the mall also get to know about the new phones while you’re introducing it to the media. And this also means that they help themselves to the buffet spread too, if you don’t ‘fence’ up the area. The upside: no food gets wasted.

(2) What you say might be heard throughout the mall

Behind closed doors in a function room or ballroom, one can make comparisons between a product and a competitor’s product. But out in a shopping mall, it might not be wise to openly state how a phone is superior to what is currently the #1-selling phone in Singapore (and possibly the world).

Likewise, it’s probably better not to state that the media get special freebies which the public won’t get… out in public. Yes, it *might* tempt some friends from the media to purchase the phones but people listening in might feel somewhat discriminated against. And with the microphones on, it’s unlikely that they can’t hear you.

(3) Put your new phones in the hands of the media, or they’ll use their own phones

I looked around me to see how many people were using ASUS phones, and only spotted one. The rest were using (you guessed it) iPhones, Samsung phones (yup, me too) and even a Sony one. Even the so-called ambassadors of the brand (probably on social media, not the official print and digital ambassadors) were using their own phones instead of ASUS phones. Yet they were still called up to the front to describe how much they enjoyed the ASUS experience. (Not enough to get an ASUS phone?)

I wondered how difficult it would be to let media friends have an ASUS phone in their hands while they attended the launch. They’ll take pictures using the new ASUS creation, upload them to social media and perhaps even buy it after. Sure, there’s an ‘experience corner’ but those are available at telcos and authorized resellers too. How about an experience just for the media?

*Finally, I’m left wondering whether it’s the ZenFone with capital ‘F’ or the Zenfone, as its usage is not quite consistent.