Asus has introduced the Zenfone Max during the ZenFestival back in August 2015; the company has finally launched the device in India sometime last month(January 2016). The first thing that comes to our mind is the massive 5000mAH battery that impressed us big time. We have already done our unboxing and initial impressions, and now it’s about time we review the device in its full potential. So can it be your answer for all your battery problems? Is the device all about the 5000mAH battery? Well, you will find out in our full review, so let’s go ahead the Asus Zenfone Max review.
Asus Zenfone Max Review:
Build and Design: The build quality of the Asus Zenfone Max is super solid, although we must confess the device felt a bit heavy the first time we used, thanks to the large 5000mAH battery and the bulky design. Though the device feels heavy, we feel how solid it felt in our hands as we kept using the device. The leather type back panel is welcome refreshment from the typical Gloss, Matt finish on many smartphones these days and it sure gives good grip and premium look, the gold frame running around the borders has that metal finish, but it’s good quality plastic adding a little weight to the overall build. Leaving behind the weight, The Asus Zenfone Zoom build is solid, and it needs a little time to get used to the weight.
Coming to the design, the device looks like any other Zenfone Smartphone with a huge 5.5-inches display (spoiler alert: The display is decent), the main earpiece accompanied by the front 5-megapixel camera, Proximity, Ambient light sensor and Asus branding engraved in Silver color. On the bottom, Three touch type capacitive buttons that do not light up(Asus, You better change that) making it tough to access under low-light, these capacitive buttons do give haptic feedback when pressed, and they are not a part of the screen, so the phone carries extra bezels on the bottom.
Flipping it to the rear side, you find the typical 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LASER autofocus, LED flash, Secondary Mic for noise cancellation and Asus branding, as said above the back panel is made of leather type material that feels good. The back cover can be removed giving access to the SIM card slots and a MicroSD card slot, do note the 5000mAH battery is non-removable. On top, 3.5MM audio jack and on the bottom we have the MicroUSB port for charging and data transfers. On the right side, we have the volume rockers, power on/off button and these buttons do give the proper amount of feedback and are tactile.
Asus Zenfone Max Display: The Asus Zenfone Max sports a 5.5-inches HD (1280*720) IPS display and just like the recent Zenfone smartphones, the display on the Zenfone Max is good and has got good viewing angles. The whites look white without any hint of yellowish hint that we find in few smartphones. As we mentioned in our previous Zoom review, the auto brightness sensor is sub-par when we use it under low-light making us use some third party app to reduce the brightness further more. If you are still unsettled with the display, you can tweak according to your liking under the display setting, or you can use the splendid app that lets you tweak around the contract and color mode. Adding to the customization, you can change the font and font size be default without having to root your smartphone, this is one such feature we like the most on Asus smartphones, and this function is available in the display settings. Overall a great display on a budget smartphone that costs just Rs.10,000.
Asus Zenfone Max Performance and OS: The Asus Zenfone Maxis powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 410Soc clocked at 1.2GHz Quad-Core processor with Adreno 306 GPU for all your gaming requirements. There is 2GB Ram and 16GB internal storage, although you can just pop in a MicroSD card for memory expansion. Yes, The Asus Zenfone Laser that we also reviewed features the same chipset on board but for some weird reason, the performance of the Zenfone Max is not all butter smooth. We did notice lag in the U.I now and then and while multi-tasking as well, especially when we have the Facebook app running in the background the device tends to lag, making us kill the app before we start using other applications. Here are the benchmark scores we tested.
Recently the device has got a system update which fixed the issue to some extent, but the lag in the U.I and average usage can be easily noticed. The Snapdragon 410Soc is tried and tested chipset for any budget smartphones, but that seems to have a little problem with the Zenfone Max. We suggest you use the default browser through which the lag and normal navigations in the U.I seem to be fine to some extent. The Asus Zenfone Max runs on Android 5.0.2 which is expected from a budget segment device; the Zen U.I has evolved to give near stock experience with some interesting customizations like theme support, option to change the system font, font size, custom wallpapers and many more.
That said, the company still sticking to the Android 5.0.2 is the one thing that worries us the most. The user interface is the same, with colorful icons, folder based app drawer, replaceable quick toggles. Although we must warn you, the device comes with quite a load of bloatware applications of which some can be uninstalled while the rest can be disabled, we would love to see the less bloatware count in the next Asus smartphone.
Asus Zenfone Max Camera: Being a smartphone that is meant for long lasting battery life, we weren’t expecting a great camera from Max, but to our surprise the device features a decent 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with laser autofocus and LED flash. The rear camera can click some decent images in the outdoors and good lighting conditions, and while we are at it, the camera suffers to click decent pictures in the low-lighting conditions, the images starts to fade out and the one’s that aren’t have a lot of noise in them making it difficult for someone who loves taking pics, again, being a smartphone with incredible battery life we aren’t expecting a great camera. The images clicked in good lighting and outdoors look good and have a good amount of details in them.
The rear camera can record videos on Full HD 1080p and due to lack of OIS the videos look shaky, and we don’t blame the company for not adding that as well. The Secondary noise cancellation mic helps to keep the audio while recording videos crisp. The front 5-megapixel camera is good enough fo taking selfies outdoors and in good lighting conditions. Do have a look at the images below.
Asus Zenfone Max Battery: Ah, Finally the most awaited department; The battery. The 5000mAH battery on the device is nothing short of incredible, it gave us a screen-on time of over 12 hours and what company claims is indeed correct. This probably because of the good battery standby optimization. The battery doesn’t drain a when it is kept in standby mode, during our testing period we have travelled to places like Agra, Mumbai for 2 day trip and we tagged along the Zenfone Max with us and during this time we never had a chance to charge the device more than once which clearly depicts how incredible the battery is. Of all the things, all we can say is the battery on the Zenfone Max is fantastic and incredible.
Connectivity Features: The device comes with Dual SIM slots and MicroSD card slot for memory expansion, the device does support 4G LTE and WiFi signal reception is ok, we did face issues like sudden WiFi disconnection, signal drop, on the other hand, the call quality was excellent. Bluetooth, OTG, GPS are some obvious features.
Conclusion: Of all the smartphones competing in the similar price range, the Asus Zenfone Max impressed us with its incredible battery life and solid build quality, on the con side, the average performance of the device and low-light captures should be deal breakers for some. Now if you are one who wants a long lasting battery without thinking any further blindly go for the Zenfone Max, it is that simple. Hope the Asus Zenfone Max Review was helpful.