Asus Zenfone 3 Max Review: Hit and a Miss

Asus Zenfone 3 series debuted a while ago in India and along with the flagship smartphones came the budget segment devices and one among them is the Zenfone 3 Max which keeps its primary focus on battery yet being compact and offering excellent grip in hands. Apart from the battery, is the Zenfone 3 worth the money you are paying for it? We shall find that out in our full review.

Asus Zenfone 3 Max Design and Build: With the Zenfone 3 series, Asus has completely taken a major makeover of their smartphones design. The Zenfone 3 Max is no different; it is full metal unibody design yet so light in weight offering good in hand feel. On the top, it just has a 3.5mm audio jack and to the bottom, microUSB port, and microphone. On the left, just the SIM tray for your SIM cards. On the right, it has the volume rockers and power on/off button which offer a good amount of feedback. On the front, it sports a 5.2-inches HD display, 5-megapixel selfie shooter, primary earpiece,  the usual set of sensors and a small LED notifications indicator. The on screen buttons do take up some portion of the screen.

On the rear side, a 13-megapixel sensor, LED flash and a secondary mic for noise cancellation, speaker grills with Asus branding. It has a Fingerprint sensor on board for extra security. Overall the build is decent enough for the price tag, and the compact size makes it a sweet offering in the budget.

Asus Zenfone 3 Display: The Asus Zenfone 3 Max sports a 5.2-inches HD (1280 X 720) IPS display which doesn’t come with sort of protection. Though the display is bright and vivid, the touch screen seems to have a problem in recognizing the finger taps. We’ve noticed the screen not responding to taps now and then. Though we are not sure if this is a universal problem with all the Zenfone 3 Max units, did face this weird issue. The sunlight legibility is excellent so are the viewing angles. As we said above, the on-screen navigation buttons do take up some part of the display thus offering less screen portion for media consumption. Finally, the display is decent enough, but the weird touch issue sure looks like a deal breaker.

Asus Zenfone 3 Performance and OS: The Zenfone 3 Max is powered by the MediaTek MT6737M SoC clocked at 1.25GHz Quad-Core processor with Mali T720MP2 coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. So what do these numbers mean to us in real life?, well the Asus Zenfone 3 Max is a decent performer for regular day-to-day tasks like taking calls, sending messages, emails, etc. But, the device starts slowing down on heavy multitasking and heavy usage with resource intensive applications. The 3GB RAM on board manages to keep the apps running in the background, but more often than not we find few apps running out of memory.

Coming to gaming performance, just as you would expect, the gaming on the Asus Zenfone 3 Max is a total disaster, thanks to the underclocked and pretty old chipset, the device tries real hard yet fails to give decent gaming experience for users. To put simple, the device shines in day to day normal tasks but fails big time in gaming and heavy multitasking.

The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Zen U.I 3 on top. The U.I is clean and straightforward with the adequate amount of customization still available. There is theme store to change the look, icon packs and font changer feature by default. Though there are bloatware apps installed, you can uninstall them if you wish to. We pretty much have nothing to add to the Zen U.I as it is the same old clean setup.

Asus Zenfone 3 Camera: The Zenfone 3 packs a 13-megapixel shooter with  f/2.2, autofocus, LED flash and can record Full HD 1080p videos. As the device keeps its primary focus in the battery department, the camera segment does not impress you. However, the outdoor clicks turn out decent with good colors and focussing. The main problem starts when you just move to indoors or low-light areas. The camera just fails to produce a decent amount of results. The front 5-megapixel shooter can click decent selfies provided that you are in good and well-lit conditions, it suffers in low-lighting conditions just like the rear camera.

Asus Zenfone 3 Max Camera Samples

The camera interface is simple with modes like HDR, Beautification, Panorama, Timelapse and selfie mode. The very infamous owl mode is still present with tweaking the low-light shots to a certain extent. Just a typical Asus cam interface on this guy as well.

Asus Zenfone 3 Battery: The Asus Zenfone 3 packs a mammoth 4100mAh battery producing a remarkable battery life living up to the promises that company has stated. Though the device doesn’t come with any fast charging support taking forever to charge completely, it does give a fantastic battery life once you charge it to 100%. The standby drain is also very less; as the device just dropped 3-4% of battery overnight with just default apps running in the background. With our style of usage that includes few phone calls, push notifications, checking emails, etc. the battery lasted for over a day without a need to charge it again. To conclude, the battery department is just outstanding on the device.

Asus Zenfone 3 Max Others: The device comes with a Fingerprint sensor which is quite fast in unlocking the device, and you can register up to 5 Fingerprints. Connectivity features include 4G LTE but lack VoLTE support, so you will have to rely on Jio4G app to use Jio free calls service. WiFi reception is decent enough so is Bluetooth. The call quality is good, but the  jio4G app makes it a bit distorted. You can either use Dual SIM or just use single Sim with microSD card slot for memory expansion.

Asus Zenfone 3 Max Conclusion: If good battery performance is your primary requirement, Zenfone 3 Max is your best choice. However, you will have to compromise in departments like general performance, gaming performance, very average camera, and the weird display issues. So there you have it, the Zenfone 3 Max review detailing the pros and cons of every department.

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