Asus Zenfone Max review: Impressive style
Specifications: 5.5-inch IPS (1280 x 720 pixels), 1.2Ghz quad core Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, microSD slot, dual SIM, 13MP camera with laser autofocus, 5MP front camera, 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Android 5.0, 5,000mAh battery
We liked the Zenfone 2 series and its variants (Selfie, Laser) but two common complaints were battery life and the fat, curved back design. With the Asus Zenfone Max, Asus has sorted out both these issues to deliver another impressive product in their smartphone lineup.
Up front, the Zenfone Max looks like any other Zenfone 2. You get a 5.5-inch display with Android buttons (they are not backlit) and the signature concentric circle pattern underneath. However, the build quality has been improved and the design is slightly different. This one has a metal frame with the volume and power keys on the right side instead of the usual rear panel placement.
The rear panel has a faux leather finish and the phone is just 5.2mm — impressive for a phone with a large battery. However, the slimness comes at the cost of the length — it is bigger in height compared to the Asus Zenfone 2. Overall, the phone feels great in hand and the leather texture provides a good grip and adds style. Under the removable back panel you’ll see dual micro SIM slots, a microSD slot and the non removable battery.
The 5.5-inch screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and impresses with vivid colors, wide viewing angles and good brightness. You also get a screen colour mode where you can manually change the colour temperature or use one of the presets (bluelight filter, balanced, vivid). Compared to the Asus Zenfone 2’s full HD display, the overall colour temperature is on the warmer side.
The hardware is not what we expected for the price. You get a quad core Snapdragon 410 processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. For the same price, many competitors are of fering either Snapdragon 615 or octa core Mediatek MT6753 processors, both of which deliver better performance. That being said, the Zenfone Max did not have any issues with day-to-day operations or running games like Asphalt Nitro. It was only with games like Shadowgun and Dead Trigger that we noticed occasional stuttering.
Battery life is the highlight of the Zenfone Max. With a massive 5,000mAh battery, the phone easily lasted us two full days with constant 3G/WiFi data connectivity, two email accounts, three social networking apps and occasional use of multimedia and camera. This is with the normal battery setting which automatically adjusts CPU performance and brightness. There are additional power saving and ‘super saver’ modes that can further extend battery life by a full day if enabled.
As for cameras, it has a 13MP rear camera with dual tone flash and laser autofocus. Up front is 5MP camera. Both cameras impressed us in terms of capture speed while the laser autofocus on the rear camera takes a split second to focus on the subject. Image quality is a mixed bag though. Outdoors, the photos are great while indoors and low light there is visible noise. The rear camera images lack details but that becomes evident only when viewed on a larger screen like a TV.
done in full HD quality and is good enough to view on a computer or TV. Asus’ user interface remains unchanged and is loaded with useful features and tricks. However, much to our dismay, it continues to be based on Android 5.0. We hope Asus focuses on software updates in 2016 rather than continuning to launch even more variants of the Zenfone 2.
Another issue we faced with the Zenfone Max is the audio output. The loudspeaker volume is below average and even the in-ear voice call speaker output is on the lower side. On a busy metro station, it was hard to hear what the other person was saying on the phone.
he Zenfone Max impresses with style and battery life but it compromises elsewhere. The Zenfone 2 Laser has the same specifications but with a 3,000mAh battery and better camera. You can also consider Coolpad Note 3: it has better specifications, better camera performance and Android 5.1 for Rs 8,999.