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Asus Zenfone Max (2016) Review: Superb all-rounder but lags occasionally

Launch Date : 23 May 2016
Operating System : Android 6.0, Marshmallow with Zen UI 2.0
Display : 5.5 inches
Battery : 5000 mAh
Camara : 13 MP
Processor : 1.5 GHz, Octa Core
RAM : 2 GB
Best Price
Rs. Alert

Editor Rating

impressive

The Asus Zenfone Max (2016) impresses almost in all segments including camera, battery and storage.

    Pros
  • Looks cute and good design
  • Decent cameras
  • Latest Android Marshmallow OS and useful features
  • Good battery backup
    Cons
  • Occasional lag
  • Doesn't have fingerprint scanner

Asus launched a revamped version of its Zenfone Max in May this year (Read news). The revamped Zenfone Max is also being called as Zenfone Max (2016). It comes in 2 GB RAM and 3 GB RAM variants which are available for Rs 9,999 and Rs 12,999 respectively. Here I have reviewed the 2 GB variant of the new Asus Zenfone Max.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

The Asus Zenfone Max (2016) is one of the few phones, irrespective of the price bracket, to have a huge 5000 mAh battery. It can double up as a power bank to charge other devices as well. The company claims that one a single charge one can expect 37.6 hours of 3G talk time or 32.5 hours of WiFi web browsing or 72.9 hours of music playback or 22.6 hours of video playback.

ZenFone Max features a 5.5-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) IPS display and is powered by a Qualcomm 615 octa-core processor which is paired with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system with Zen user interfcae on top of it.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

The smartphone comes with 32 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by up-to 64GB via a micro SD card. The ZenFone Max has a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. On the connectivity front, the smartphone offers Dual SIM, 4G, GPRS/ EDGE, GPS with AGPS/Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, and Micro USB 2.0.

I used the device for about a week and here is my review of Asus Zenfone Max.

Design

I just adored its design. The curved back panel fits the palm perfectly. The faux-leather finished plastic back panel feels aristocratic while its orange colour adds to the glamour quotient. The metal side panels and patterned bezel just underneath the display adds to its style. Infact, in my view only Asus phones look great from the front. No other smartphone maker, even Apple, have managed to create something like the patterned front bezel. Infact I found most smartphones look the same from the front, except the Asus phones.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

It has regular ports and keys that includes power and volume rocker which are in the right-hand side, a 3.5 mm jack at the top, and a micro-USB port at the bottom. Two SIM slots and a micro SD card slot are placed under the back panel. The battery is not removable.

Its 5.5-inch display has high definition resolution and it has sufficient brightness. It was quite responsive and reproduces colours quite well.

UI

The phone has the latest Android Marshmallow operating system and has Asus Zen interface. The Zen user interface apart from different skins also brings a lot of widgets and apps. The range of Asus apps include Autostart manager, Audio Wizard, File manager, flashlight, Asus mobile manager, browser, PhotoCollage, Laser Ruler, Quick Memo, ShareLink file transfer app etc. There are many other Asus apps which you can download from Google Play store.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

Note that those Asus apps and widgets which come preinstalled in Asus Zenfone Max cannot be uninstalled. This means that you can many useful apps and do not have to worry about wasting data in uploading many of those useful apps. At the same time, many user want less amount of apps; for them, it is certainly a bad news. However, if you don't want the clutter, you could simply go for the Easy Mode.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

There is also a Kids Mode, various gesture inputs, glove mode, themes etc.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

In my view, it is a bit crowded there but certainly useful and many of the apps are of very high quality. It might have cost you several bucks which otherwise you are getting for free.

Camera

The Asus Zenfone Max has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. There are two toned flashlight in the back panel as well. The rear camera has HDR, auto focus, panorama mode, GIF, and time lapse features. It has F2.0 aperture, Asus PixelEnhancing technology, and PixelMaster technology.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

The front camera also has the same F2.0 aperture, Asus PixelEnhancing technology, and PixelMaster technology. It too comes with auto focus, real-time beautification, night mode, time lapse, HDR mode, panorama, wide angle lens as well as GIF modes.

The phones weren't just paper tiger though. It was infact much better than I expected. Both cameras offer detail, were quick and managed to produce colours just they are. Note that not many phones have autofocus cameras.

So if you are looking for a good camera phone for less than Rs 10,000, then I think the Asus Zenfone Max is just the phone for you.

You can check its camera samples here.

Performance

However, I did not have the same sentiments when it comes to its processing power. Yes, the Asus Zenfone Max has Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor and 2 GB RAM. And logically it should have had no issues but the phone used to freeze on multitasking (that includes 6-7 apps including a game). It was quite surprising for me as well considering that it has huge 2 GB RAM and an able processor.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

But as I progressed with the review, I faced less freezes.

Battery Backup

With a 5000 mAh battery, the phone was expected to give long back up. However, initially it gave just about a day's backup but after a day and two, its performance improved dramatically. It has several power saver modes and an Auto Start Manager to conserve battery power. In the home page itself, there is a one-touch power management button to close apps that are draining power.

Asus Zenfone Max (2016)

Also, it can also be used as a power bank to charge other smartphones and tablets. Needless to say, this is a handy feature.

Other features

The Zenfone Max (2016) has two dedicated SIM slots along with a micro SD card slot. It offers 4G connectivity along with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. There is GPS and 3.5 mm jack in the phone as well.

Verdict
The Asus Zenfone Max (2016) is superb in two key segments - camera and battery backup. It has the latest Android software and has decent looks. It also offers superb storage and has all the connectivity features you could ask for including two dedicated SIM slots as well as a micro SD card slot. The only are where I found it a bit weak is its processing ability. But do note that it has a good processor and huge 2 GB RAM and an update could fix the issue and it is not a deal breaker. In fact, I think despite its apparent weakness, the new Asus Zenfone Max is a superb phone in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment.
First Published : Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 11:41



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