Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Asus Zenfone Max

Phones have reached a limit of what features can be added into them with each year's flagship, to the point where they're getting close to the specs of your laptop! ASUS has taken battery life into consideration which is the most sought after feature on phones with high end hardware. Launching the Max in their Zenfone series with a whooping 5000 mAh battery! 

Design, Display & Hardware:

Looks wise it's similar to other Zenfones but a tad thicker and heavier (202gms!), mainly because of the massive battery. The color variants available are White and black with a 5.5 inch 720p IPS display with a bronze-gold matte edge. The 3 capacitive buttons are at the bottom of the screen (not on screen) and a textured chin till the bottom edge of the phone, again similar to all other Zenfones. The front left above the screen has the camera and ambient light sensor.

The back has a faux leather feel like the Zenfone Zoom which is a premium handset. The back panel can be removed and the massive 5000 mAh battery is non removable so the dual SIM (dual standby) and SD cards slot are above it. The 13 MP camera sits at the back while the speaker grill is at the bottom. On the right side are volume rockers and a lock button. There's a 3.5mm audio port is at the top edge the while micro USB charging port is at the bottom. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 410 Quad core processor with 2GB of RAM & 16GB of internal memory (expandable 128GB via microSD card). Only the primary SIM slot supports 4G BTW and the 2nd is limited to 3G. The 720p display isn't gonna blow you away but it's still legible in bright sunlight. It's pretty responsive and definitely saves a lot of battery.


The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with the ZenUI on top which is pretty customisable.  UI is similar to all other Asus zenfones, and I've already mentioned in detail about it in the Zenfone 2 review earlier as well , not much has changed since then. The basic apps such as dialer, messaging, contacts keep getting regular updates though there's no visible change. Bloatware still exists but can be uninstalled, so overall performance is smooth. Motion gestures like drawing alphabets on the screen to open apps is a nice touch in all new Zenfones. 


The 13MP rear cam f/2.0 with laser autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash  shoots decent pictures in daylight. The manual mode lets you set ISO, shutter speed and even focusing. Low light mode is useful in dark light conditions. OIS is obviously missing considering the price. The rear camera can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps and has automatic modes that include HDR, time lapse , panaroma etc all like the Zenfone 2 Laser.  

The front camera is 5MP with f/2.0 and good enough for selfies and wide angle lets you take groupies. Beautification mode, cheek thinning (really!) are some options for those who want the perfect selfie. 

Gaming & Multimedia:

FIFA 15, Mortal combat X worked smoothly but opening more apps in the background did show some signs of lag. Adreno 306 GPU isn't the best in the market but does a decent job with the Snapdragon 410. AnTuTu score of 23575 is expected considering the H/W but then again as I've said in my earlier reviews the benchmark scores are not to be taken seriously; Real world performance is what matters and not these numbers that are prone to rigging.

In my tests, the phone survived more than a day on a single charge which is expected but the promised standby time is 3 days minimum .  The phone takes almost 5 hours to charge with the grossly underpowered 1A/5V charger. Although the phone also works as a power bank for any other device that can be connected via a USB OTG cable, the charging is pretty slow.


No quick charge, below average screen and average looks is not something you'd expect at this price point when the competition is way ahead. If battery life is your only concern there are a couple of other brands as well like Gionee & Lenovo but the Asus Zenfone Max wins with it's lower price.



Pritesh Khilnani

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