By: Anil Satapathy, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi
Last updated : Friday, February 19, 2016 - 17:26
Asus Zenfone Max is undoubtedly meant for those who want long battery life.
Superb battery back up
UI offers useful features
Can be used as a power bank
Volume on lower side, both through speaker and headset
Plenty of bloatware
Screen is prone to scratches
Entry level processor
Asus Zenfone Max was launched earlier in January this year for Rs 9,999. It has a huge 5000 mAh lithium-polymer battery which, as per the company, can offer 37.6 hours of 3G talk time or 32.5 hours of WiFi web browsing or 72.9 hours of music or 22.6 hours of video playback. The phone can also be used as a power bank.
ZenFone Max features a 5.5-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) IPS display which has 10 finger touch support and comes with anti-fingerprint coating. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor which is paired with 2GB RAM, Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system and Adreno 306 graphics processor. Like other Asus phones, it has ZenUI 2.0 user interface.
The Asus Zenfone Max comes with 16GB of internal storage, which can be further expandable by 64GB via a micro SD card. The ZenFone Max offers a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual colour Realtone LED flashlights, f/2.0 aperture and laser auto focus. It has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera that too comes with f/2.0 aperture. The Dual SIM Asus Zenfone Max offers 4G connectivity, WiFi (b/g/n), WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 A2DP, Micro USB 2.0 port and GPS with AGPS and GLONASS and BDS. It is available in black and white colours.
So let's discuss the pros and cons of the Zenfone Max.
Like all Asus smartphones, the Zenfone Max is bulky and heavy. The reason for its huge size and weight (202 grams) is its big 5000 mAh battery. But its size and weight do not make it difficult to use. In fact due to its curved back, the phone fits nicely in palms. The textured plastic back panel with its rubberised finish gives a smooth feeling and great grip.
So though it is not an eye-candy, the Zenfone Max is definitely very easy to use. The volume rocker and power button are just in the right place, on the right-hand side, for one hand use. The 3.5 mm jack is at the top and thus does not hinder the usage and you can easily use it even while using the earphone. The micro-USB port is at the bottom along with a microphone for noise cancellation and its effects are palpable while phone calls.
The Zenfone Max has thick side metal rim that offers some protection to its internals while the concentric circle design in the front (below the display) adds a bit of zing to the phone. There are three off screen buttons, below the display which is marked in silver colour and hence even in the dark you can spot these; though it would have been great if they were backlit. Above the display lies a small speaker grill alongside the front camera. An indicator light is also there besides the speaker grill.
The Asus Zenfone Max has a 5.5-inch display. This IPS screen offers decent viewing angle. It also offers high definition resolution. Due to HD resolution, it offers decent viewing experience.
Also for a phone priced at Rs 9,999, HD resolution would have been considered as terrific. However, these days some of its competitors do offer full HD resolution.
Also, the Zenfone Max's display is quite prone to scratches. During the course of the review, the display got a lot of minor scratches. So you must use a protective cover like a screen protector or a tempered glass.
The display, however, offers good brightness levels, thus, you can use it even outdoors without any issues.
The Asus Zenfone Max has a 5-megapixel front camera that comes with auto-focus ability, F2.0 aperture, HDR mode, 88-degree wide angle lens, Real Time Beautification feature, time lapse, GIF animation mode, and even panorama mode.
The 13-megapixel rear camera of Zenfone Max also offers auto focus, HDR, GIF, beautification, night mode, panorama, Smart Remove, Time Rewind, Time Lapse, and many more useful camera features. The cameras are armed with PixelMaster camera technology. To assist the rear camera, there is a dual tone LED flashlight in its back panel as well.
Both the cameras are quite able and managed to produce good pictures in both low light and daylight. Especially, in low light mode, the camera manages to produce bright pictures. The camera app is also quite fast.
You can check its camera samples here and here.
The Asus Zenfone Max has a 5000 mAh Li-Po battery which is non-removable. As it would be anybody's guess, the phone offers really long battery backup. On most occasions with moderate usage, I used to get more than one and half days back up. Even with heavy usage, I used to get more than 10-12 hours of backup which is simply splendid.
Operating System and User Interface
The Asus Zenfone Max has the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system but it has a heavily customised UI called ZenUI. It comes with the ZenUI 2.0 version which is said to have 1000+ software enhancements. It is not possible to talk about all those changes but if you have not ever used any Asus phone, you will be surprised to see its UI. It is so much customised that you may find a very little resemblance with the vanilla Android UI.
It has plenty of icon packs, themes, wallpapers to choose from. Asus continuously offers themes and wallpapers for different occasions as well, say Republic Day or Valentine Day. Besides, it has useful features like power saving mode, kids mode, one hand use mode, movie maker, photo collage, file manager, and a social network like an app called ZenCircle.
In short, there are so many things on the phone that you need months to explore those. However, the downside is that sometimes it seems a bit cluttered and for many these would seem like unnecessary apps or bloatware.
The Asus Zenfone Max is armed with the Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor. Though it is an entry-level processor from Qualcomm, it does the job owing to 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM. It has no problem in day to day tasks and it can play most games available in the Google Play store. However, while playing very high-end games like Nova 3, it lags a lot which was expected.
The Zenfone Max doesn't disappoint when it comes to storage. The phone has 16 GB of internal memory. Besides, it has an expandable storage slot that can hold a micro SD card of up to 64 GB capacity.
I did not found any issues vis-a-vis connectivity either. It's 3G and WiFi connectivity was as good as I had experienced in any other phone. So were its Bluetooth and GPS functionality. It offers WiFi Direct and WiFi Hotspot too.
The Asus Zenfone Max is undoubtedly meant for those who want long battery life. Its UI, though is plenty of bloatware, is fun to use and has a lot of useful apps. It has decent cameras as well. However, its low-end processor makes it less attractive. Hence, if you are a gamer, then we would urge you to check out its competitors.