With the new Zenfone 3s Max, Asus once again fine tunes what works best for it. The ‘Max’ series phones have always striven to deliver unmatched battery longevity in a reasonably attractive packaging and those are the lines on which the new Zenfone aims to deliver.
At the time of writing, we don’t know the exact price of Zenfone 3s Max in India, but it is expected to lie somewhere around 15K and be a meaningful replacement to the low-end Zenfone 3 model that didn’t impress.
We have been using the new Max for the last few days. Let’s quickly jot down our initial impression of the phone.
Asus Zenfone 3s Max Specifications
|Model||Asus Zenfone 3s Max|
|Display||5.2-Inch, IPS LCD|
|Processor||1.5 GHz Octa-Core MT6750|
|Internal Storage||32GB (23.65 free), expandable|
|Software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based ColorOS 3.0|
|Primary Camera||13MP rear camera, dual tone flash|
|Secondary Camera||8MP selfie camera|
|Dimensions and Weight||149.5 × 73.7 × 8.85mm; 169.5g|
|Others||4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, microUSB v2.0, 3.5mm, Hybrid SIM|
|Price||Expected under 15,000 INR|
Design and Build
All affordable metal unibody phones that we have gone through over the past couple of years have used color matched plastic caps and top and bottom to accommodate antenna bands. Thankfully, Asus breaks this design monotony with its Zenfone 3s Max which uses a U-shaped plastic cap that runs along the top edge. This little change is indeed a refreshing change of pace and makes Zenfone 3s Max a very attractive phone. Now only if they would have eliminated the bottom cap too.
The 2.5D glass layered on the front helps as well. For the first time, the fingerprint print sensor has been shifted to the front below the display (and, personally, that works better for us), but that’s the only navigation button you will find on the chin. The navigation bar has been shifted on-screen instead. And that further reduces the display real estate you get to avail since this is a rather compact panel.
The phone is solidly built with no discernible flexes or creaks. In spite of the massive battery housed inside, it’s reasonably light and comfortable to wield and to carry around.
Asus Zenfone 3s Max Photo Gallery
The display on the Zenfone 3s Max feels quite agreeable in terms of quality. The color tones are to our liking, you won’t have to cup your hands over it while checking your phone outdoors, and the viewing angles are plenty wide.
It isn’t full HD crisp, but 720pHD works just fine for the 5.2-inch display size. On the negative side, the minimum brightness isn’t low enough for night time reading, but the 5-level blue light filter helps.
Performance Expectations and Software
Like all other Max series phones, the Zenfone 3s Max isn’t meant to be a heavy lifter. Asus relies on the undistinguished MediaTek MT6750 SoC paired with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM (that’s the configuration our hands-on unit, Asus might introduce multiple variants of the handset).
The performance hasn’t been flawless in our time with the device and we did encounter UI stuttering in both ‘Normal’ and ‘Performance’ mode. This is clearly a device meant for basic and moderate users. We will pushing it to its limit further and will share our verdict in our full review soon.
This is also the first Android Nougat based Zenfone that came our way. Many of Nougat aesthetics are, however, buried beneath the heavy Zen UI skin. You will nevertheless get performance advantages that come along with this latest Android flavor.
The most significant UI design change for us, so far, has been the redesigned notification shade. You can now access most used quick setting with a single down-swipe. Like always, there are loads of Zen apps that we don’t intend to try, but the good thing is that you are allowed to delete most of them.
The battery backup is the star feature for which you will be considering buying this handset. And the Zenfone 3s Max doesn’t disappoint one bit in this regard. With judicious use (that also involved switching between elaborate power saving profiles on Zen UI) I could make the 5000mAh battery last for the complete duration of a 3-day trip. And not having to charge you phone while you are away from home is definitely an unmatched convenience.
Under conventional use cases, the battery should easily last for about 2 days of relatively heavy usage. Fast charging isn’t supported, though.
The Zenfone 3s Max is a beautiful looking phone with an excellent battery backup. With the new generation chipsets getting more and more power efficient, the big battery phone concept and associated advantages might wear thin over the next year. But for now, the Zenfone 3s Max looks like an interesting phone for anyone who prioritizes battery backup. We will wait for the price to be out and to complete our full review before we compare it against formidable rivals like the Redmi Note 4 and Lenovo P2.