Asus’s Max range of handsets are usually affordable Androids that house a herculean 5000mAh battery and are consequently big and bulky.
The new Zenfone 3 Max models are arguably missing all of the above defining traits, and will also be venturing in to offline spcae (Hence the not-so-aggressive pricing).
Asus Zenfone Max Specs and Features
|Model||Asus Zenfone Max ZC553KL (5.5-Inch)||Asus Zenfone Max ZC520TL (5.2-Inch)|
|Display||5.5-inch, Full HD, IPS LCD display||5.2-inch, HD, IPS LCD display|
|Processor||1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 430||Quad Core MediaTek MT6737|
|Internal Storage||32GB, Expandable||32GB, Expandable|
|Software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Primary Camera||16MP sensor, dual-tone LED Flash, Laser AF, PDAF, contrast AF, 3-axis EIS||13MP sensor, LED flash|
|Others||4G LTE, Fingerprint reader, Hybrid Dual SIM||4G LTE, Fingerprint reader, Hybrid Dual SIM|
|Price||17,999 INR||12,999 INR|
The Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL) that costs 17,999 INR makes a sound case for itself. The metal back and 2.5D glass on the front add up nicely. It is quite similar to Zenfone 3 laser in terms of design, save for the differece in the shape of rear mounted fingerprint reader. In spite of the beefy battery, Zenfone 3 Max is quite comfortable to wield and reasonably light.
The white point of the full HD display being used leans towards blue, as is the case with most other recently launched Asus Zenfone devices. There is a blue-light filter that you can activate from quick settings if you prefer color tones that are relatively softer on eyes.
The Snapdragon 430 octa-core chip humming within is a power efficient ARM big.LITTLE architecture based SoC that should be able to shoulder performance demands of day-to-day users with ease. Heavy users, however, will be naturally drawn towards more powerful online options like the Lenovo Z2 Plus.
The 16MP rear camera sensor gets the same robust manual mode that we admired in Zenfone 3 and also the tri-tech AF (which basically implies the use of Laser AF and PDAF along with conventional contrast AF based on lighting condition). These attributes, however, don’t guarantee majestic camera performance. We will only know for sure after we get to play with it in our own space.
The software is the familiar Zen UI 3.0 (based on Android Marshmallow). It’s as cluttered as ever, but also includes a ton of customization options and a few handy power-saver profiles for critical times.
Zenfone also introduced a more compact Zenfone 3 Max (ZC520TL) priced at 12,999 INR. Display size isn’t the only thing that sets the two Zenfone variants apart. In fact, there are quite a view differences here that you need to be aware of, particularly if you are interested in the lower end Zenfone Max model.
It’s display doesn’t seem to have oleophobic coation as the screen was accumulating a lot more finger grease compared to its elder sibling. There are no off-screen buttons here either. The chin below the display has a big shiny Asus logo and the buttons are shifted on-screen. Laser AF and other swanky camera tech didn’t make the cut.
And these are the merely a few differences which you might not grasp from the spec-sheet. The lower RAM, entry grade MediaTek MT6737 chipset and lower resolution camera sensors are other more obvious downgrades.
The point being, the lower-end Zenfone 3 Max variant isn’t poised to deliver the same premium feel and experience as the high-end model.
The new Zenfone 3 Max aren’t ‘disruptive’ products as you would have expected from Asus an year back or so. With the new Zenfone 3, the company has grown ambitious and doesn’t want to be associated with the cheaper brands fighting at razor thing margins in the limited online space.
You would be buying them for the Zen experience that the company is still honing and polishing. The unknowns in the equations along with our final verdict shall follow soon after our full review.