I am not much of a techie guy, just a regular average user.
I admit that to compare the 2, the ASUS Zenfone 3 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) would be like comparing apples and oranges: from screen size, to price point, the non-parallels are many to mention. But if I was stuck with these 2 phones with me on a certain situation, then there the comparison may be valid.
Keeping both phones at my bag and taking them out one after the other, the Samsung was quick to unlock with just one hand. The ASUS was bigger so I had to be extra careful handling it. Most of the time, I used it with 2 hands.
Both phones have a luxurious feel in the hand. The Samsung with glass panels both on the front and the back, and with the Asus uni-body metal back. Both phones are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, so scratch resistance (just for the glass parts) are reliable enough.
Viewing movies on both phones, I found that movie viewing on the ASUS was a much more enjoyable experience, especially with earphones attached. It was much more immersive and explosive. I especially like watching action movies on it. It also has loud speakers because of its 5 magnet technology if you wouldn’t want to wath with earphones.
But I am also a professional photographer, videographer and producer. So I am attacking this comparison from that point of view, as an avid photo video guy.
I walked around Manila Harbor Square and took some test shots, I let the phones do much of the thinking for me IE I set them both t full auto everything. All I had to think about was what subject I was going to shoot and how to compose.
Going into the photo/video aspect of both phones, the ASUS’s camera has the advantage of more pixels at 23MP rear and 8MP front versus the Samsung’s 13MP rear and 5MP front, but their aperture/opening are not that far apart at f2.0 for ASUS and f1.9 for Samsung.
This means they let in more or less the same amount of light in a given photographic situation. Both render a nice bokeh when photographing things up close. They retain fine details as well.
Both Phone cameras offered similar field of views both front and back cam. They also reproduce colors quite well.
The differences come in when you look at the details, specially in the shadow areas, you can see more details in the ASUS pictures as compared to the Samsung. I tried shooting backlit subjects and more details can be seen in the ASUS photos.
I also took some mandatory selfie shots and both cameras produced really nice pictures.
As for video quality, the Samsung tended to under-expose meaning it makes the movie darker than it really is. The ASUS video captures nice tones with available light. For casual video-shooting of goings-on, vlogs, family moments, both phones will deliver quite well. But for more creative shots, you should really do some work-arounds to get the shots that you want. Like for bokeh shots, you should move in closer to the subject for the background to get quite blurry.
Overall, both phones are very desirable to have. For entertainment purposes, I would choose the ASUS because of the bigger screen, and great sound quality. As to it’s photo and video capabilities, I’d say they perform quite the same.