The Zenfone Max is the latest offering from ASUS in the mid-range smartphone segment after the Zenfone 2 Laser. Over the past couple of years, ASUS has introduced some better quality entry-level smartphones such as Zenfone 5, Zenfone 2, Zenfone 2 Laser and such other. For the pricing factor, this smartphone is priced at Rs.9, 999 for the Indian market but the MRP on the case states Rs.11.549.
- Battery Last for 4-5 days
- Fast Charging
- Non-removable battery
- The output of the speakers is muddy.
Note: This review and opinion are based on our experience with the smartphone for an over a month.
Design and Build Quality
Let’s begin with the design and build quality aspect. The Zenfone Max features curved rounded plastic back panel similar to that of Zenfone 2 laser. The smooth textured finish offers an enhanced grip on the phone. Personally, I am a rough smartphone user, and we did find this textured grip pretty handy while handling the phone. Moreover, the back panel gets a cushion inside that works more sort of heat absorber, generated by 5500mAh battery and doesn’t allow it to pass it on the back panel. As a personal opinion, I did like this particular thing. Yet small feature but does a great deal of job for the user. Coming back to the design and quality, ASUS has done well in designing this smartphone with sleek cutting edges and round corners gives it an elegant look.
Volume rockers find their place on the right of the phone with power button situated just under it. The left side is left isolated with nothing on it yet offers a premium feel. On the top, the company has provided a provision for the 3.5mm headphone jack and the bottom gets charging point alongside the microphone. The front side gets 5.5-inch display screen with the 5MP front camera while the rear side features a 13MP camera with dual LED flash and speakers at the bottom. Moreover, powerful 5000mAh battery does make the phone is pretty much heavier compared to other smartphones in the league. Overall the design and quality are very much supreme and comfortable.
Let’s move on to display, the smartphone comes with 5.5-inch HD IPS display with a resolution of 1280X720 pixels and protected by Gorilla Glass 4. The screen size does look big and the new users will find it difficult to access the phone with a single hand. The screen display appears much better with manual display settings rather than auto mode. The screen also offers better viewing angles and steep angles. Moreover, display tuning app from ASUS enables the user to choose different screen modes such as Standard, Reading, Vivid or Balanced or even customized one. Another feature included in the smartphone is a Glove mode that lets the user utilize the phone with gloves on during winter. Overall a decent package for the display at this price point. ASUS is offering HD display at just 10k, is a pretty much decent deal for the consumers.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) processor clocked at 1.2 GHz , ASUS Zenfone Max offers mid range performance with 2GB of RAM. It lacks extra amount of added factor which was seen on the flagship product Zenfone 2. We observed some lag & frame drops when we played heavy games and other games being played on it simultaneously. After continuous usage of 20 minutes with heavy games and other features, the Zenfone disappointed a bit as we did perform couple of multitasking on the device. While tested on AnTuTu benchmark, the Zenfone Max scored about 24435 points seems to be expected bearing in mind that it is powered by a Snapdragon 410.
Coming to graphics, the smartphone offers decent graphics details for games and HD videos. Also, we noticed slight heating of the device when intensively used by playing games, multitasking, using the device for a longer period of time and such similar circumstances.
On the inside, Zenfone Max sits on 16GB internal storage which can be further increased as per the requirement by MicroSD cards. While searching more about the device, we noticed that OS and pre-installed apps consume more than 5GB of internal storage space, thus leaving the user with only 10GB of space. Other than Micro SD cards, the devices also support OTG functionality, thus enabling the user to connect the pen drive to the device for increasing the storage capacity and access it on the go.
The ASUS Zenfone Max lags on the part of the audio output. During our testing, we noticed that sound output coming out from the speakers is on the sluggish side. However, the audio quality with earphones is pretty much decent when compared to speaker output. ASUS could have installed better audio quality speakers in the smartphone for enhanced audio output.
Talking about the earpiece quality, the voice call quality was pretty much clear throughout the reviewing period. Moreover, the dialer app installed in the device enables you to record phone calls devoid of any apps or rooting of the device.
Let’s get roll in the camera. ASUS Zenfone Max features 13MP dual LED flash rear camera with laser focus and 5MP front camera. We tested the camera in various lighting conditions such as broad day light, low daylight, inside & night. The rear camera performed great under broad daylight condition and lagged under low light conditions. Moreover, the clarity gets considerably washout with the zoom feature. The front 5MP is pretty good in capturing decent selfies and manageable video callings. On the whole, with proper lighting conditions, the camera does a great job by producing good quality shots.
Talking about the laser focus, it does a great job in focusing the objects pretty fast. However, the camera app gets puzzled when there multiple objects at the same distance and considers it as a primary object, thus resulting in a bad shot.
Pre-installed camera modes like Light mode, Selfie mode, night mode, super-resolution mode, HDR mode, Panorama mode and such other are also offered in other ASUS smartphones. Moreover, a manual mode assists you to adjust different camera settings as per your convenience, through which you can easily generate some good shots.
This particular characteristic of ASUS Zenfone Max has amazed us beyond our expectations. Equipped with 5000mAh battery, the performance of the battery has easily surpassed all our prospects of a good battery life on a smartphone. In spite of being heavily used, heavily means really intense usage, the smartphone managed to run throughout the couple of days very easily. Moreover, over a normal usage such as voice calls, video calls, Social apps, gaming, movies, and music, the device lasted for more than four days pretty easily with continuous Wi-Fi running day-in-day-out. Even the last 5% battery life gives you a time span of approximately 6 hours which is a very important attribute for a smartphone.
Operating System and User Interface
Powered by Android Lollipop 5.0.2, ASUS employs its own user interface, ZenUI on the device deriving it with better integration compared to custom UI used in stock android devices. It also comes with inbuilt custom modes from ASUS such as ultra-saving mode, optimized model or customized mode for battery.
The other feature that got our eye, is that you can open applications without even unlocking the device with the support of gestures. Moreover, you can also customize these gestures as per your requirement and quite easily. The UI also offers you to customize the toggle section in the notification area according to your demand and need.
If you are looking out for a smartphone for a humongous battery life with better build quality, decent camera and don’t want to charge your device daily, this ASUS Zenfone Max smartphone is a go for you that comes with a price tag of just Rs. 9,999. We can also say that, it is basically a Zenfone 2 laser equipped with bigger battery, bold build and design.