Not having to worry about running out of charge is a luxury of sorts, the one we thoroughly enjoyed on the Zenfone Max over the last 10 days. Of course, the mammoth 5000 mAh battery takes center stage with Zenfone Max, and Asus hits it out of the park as far as back-up goes, but what else is on the table? Is Zenfone Max a good buy? Let’s find out in our full review.
Note: If you are looking for specific details like benchmark scores, free RAM on first boot, etc, you can read our Zenfone Max FAQ
Key Specifications And Features:
|Model||Asus Zenfone Max|
|Display||5.5 Inch, 720p HD|
|Processor||1.2 quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410; Adreno 306|
|Internal Storage||16GB, expandable up to 64GB|
|Software||Android 5.0 Lollipop based ZenUI|
|Primary Camera||13 MP, f/2.0, laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, 1080p Videos|
|Dimensions and weight||156 x 77.5 x 10.6 mm, 202 Grams|
|Others||4G LTE, Dual SIM|
- Above average Camera
- Reasonable performance
- Impressive battery backup
- No fast charging
The familiar Zenfone design
The last Zenfone we handled was the Zenfone Zoom, which lies on the opposite end of the spectrum in Asus’s India portfolio. Yet, the two retain more than their fair share of design similarities. In fact, on the front, you will be hard-pressed to spot any design difference at all.The quality of material used is different though. The leather and metal on Zoom is replaced by faux leather (back cover) and faux metal (side edges) on Zenfone Max. Asus continues holding on to signature design elements like offline navigation keys, the metallic trim on the bottom and speaker grill on the back. You can peel-off the back cover to access MicroSD and SIM card slots.
The generous battery (non-removable) adds to the weight and makes Zenfone Max distinctly heavy, but curved back cover and slim side edges mildly offsets the associated discomfort.
All said and done, the Zenfone Max looks and feels great for the price, and you are likely to appreciate it even more if this is your first Zenfone.
Zenfone Max Photo Gallery
A very reasonable display
Asus is sticking with 720p HD resolution for Zenfone Max, and that is only wise considering the entry-level Snapdragon 410 SoC and associated GPU restraints involved. The display isn’t Full HD crisp, but it is certainly a fine quality display which shouldn’t disappoint conventional buyers.
It’s bright enough for convenient usage under direct sun, has decent touch response and is protected with Gorilla Glass 4. Colors sometimes feel washed out though, and the minimum brightness level could have been a bit lower. The Auto-brightness mode also makes it appear dim indoors. Hell, with 5000 mAh battery, you can most certainly afford to live on the edge and push that slider to the right.
Camera performance is above average
The Zenfone Max uses the same camera apparatus as the popular Zenfone Selfie, and some of the latter’s flaws have been rectified with updated software. It looks like Asus has fixed the problem of over-exposed shots in full day lighting, to an extent. The camera still is a bit inconsistent under afternoon sun.
Photos clicked in natural light and even indoors are certainly above average. The HDR does a very good job of embellishing dark areas.
The Laser AF makes focusing faster but only indoors. Outdoors, the focus is sometimes inaccurate. In low lighting, camera performance deteriorates steeply. The camera app has a few low-light options
Compared to other smartphones in the same budget, Zenfone Max camera performance is above average. Selfie camera performance is about average. Nothing too special, no reason to complain.
Also check: Xiaomi Mi 5 32GB Launched in India At 24,999 INR
For full resolution images, you can visit this Google Drive page
Performance and Battery
The Snapdragon 410 quad-core chipset in Zenfone Max performed better than what I had expected. For day to day use, the handset felt perfectly adequate. Apply more pressure and performance gaps began to show. For instance, if you have 2 to 3 apps running in the background, multitasking will be a pain.
As for gaming, high-end games are very playable, but the handset struggle with long gaming bouts. The Zenfone Max isn’t meant for aggressive usage, but handles day to day usage surprisingly well.
As stated above, battery backup is very gratifying. On 100 percent charge, the handset can last for more than 2 days of moderate to heavy usage, BUT pushing the 5000 mAh battery to 100 percent is a task in itself.
The handset doesn’t support fast charging and whether you use the 1A box charger or a 2A fast charger, the handset takes around 5 hours to charge from 0 to 100 percent. Since the battery dissipates very slowly, running out of charge won’t be a problem. In my one and half week of usage, the handset was rarely close to 100 percent mark, but not once did I have to worry about running out of charge. Even with 25 percent battery there is assurance of running safe until the next charging opportunity manifests itself.
Also, it is worth mentioning that you can use the Zenfone Max battery as a powerbank to charge other portable gadgets with reversible charging option turned on. We didn’t face any issue with call quality or data connectivity in our area. Loudspeaker quality is again very standard, nothing to write home about.
Software is Android Lollipop based Zen UI. We have used it on numerous ocassions before and it’s essentially the same experience in Zenfone Max. The Zen UI isn’t a bad UI. It has plenty of nifty features like double tap to wake, or an ultra-customizable launcher, option to take screenshots by swiping on navigation buttons, a handy one handed mode with separate software navigation bar and more. It isn’t heavy on the hardware either. But it still feels kind of overwhelming.
Just after first boot, around 46 Apps were lined for updates. Yup, the UI is packed with Asus Apps most of which you will never use. Also, by default App icons are huge and clunky, but that can be fixed from launcher settings. With a functional theme stores and a plethora of customization options, you can surely tune Zen UI in line with your taste – at least aesthetically. Zen UI retains its uniqueness, which is perhaps most important objective of a custom skin.
The Asus Zenfone Max delivers a promising battery backup without compromising user experience in any other key area. An above average rear camera is added bonus. Considering the hardware involved, the handset punches above its weight, but is not meant for aggressive usage. If you are a basic or moderate user who values and prioritizes battery longevity above all else, Zenfone Zoom is fairly easy to recommend.