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ASUS' Zenfone 3 and its Snapdragon 821 arrive this month

The ZenWatch 3 and ZenPad 3s 10 are also coming by early November.
ASUS' Zenfone 3 and its Snapdragon 821 arrive this month
Steve Dent
Steve Dent|@stevetdent|October 6, 2016 9:00 AM

If you want the fastest Android phone in the US, you can pre-order Google's Pixel phone starting at $649, and get it around October 20th. There is another option, though -- ASUS will release its 5.7-inch Deluxe Special Edition ZenFone 3 smartphone with the same Snapdragon 821 processor in the US for $799 by the end of the month. Both have metal unibodies, but the ASUS is the flashier of the two.

For many, the ability to get Android updates first on Google's Pixel devices or use the Daydream headset will be a deciding factor. But the ZenFone 3 does have a few things going for it -- it has 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB, 256GB of (expandable) UFS II storage (instead of 128GB max on the Pixel) and is the first device with Sony's new Exmore IMX318 23-megapixel front camera sensor. Both have 1080p screens, but the 5.5-inch Pixel XL sports a Quad HD display and significantly higher $869 price tag.

If both of those options are too rich, ASUS has tamer variants of the ZenFone 3, including the Deluxe 5.7-inch 4GB model with a mere Snapdragon 820 for a very decent $499. The 5.5-inch Deluxe sports a mid-range Snapdragon 625 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a $399 price tag.

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ASUS also confirmed the final price and availability for the ZenWatch 3. As a reminder, that's a stainless steel Android Wear watch that can be recharged to 60 percent in just 15 minutes -- it'll run $229 and arrive at the beginning of November. Meanwhile, the ZenPad 3S 10, a middling 10-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 tablet with an Octacore MediaTek CPU and 4GB of RAM also comes in early November for $299. All devices and pre-orders are available at the ASUS store.

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ASUS' Zenfone 3 and its Snapdragon 821 arrive this month