Apart from Xiaomi and Huawei, the price segment under 15K has already seen some new additions. While ZTE launched its first smartphone of 2017 in India last week named as, Blade A2 Plus, Asus launched its Zenfone 3s Max today in the Indian smartphone market. Both the smartphones have pretty similar features and banks on heavy battery life sporting a behemoth 5000 mAh battery inside. While 5000mAh might not be that necessary, it is always good to have to extra juice. However, does that mean compromises in other departments or companies like Xiaomi and Huawei have something to worry about? Let’s find out as we put together the Zenfone 3s Max and Blade A2 Plus from ZTE one on one against each other.
Note that, while the Blade A2 Plus comes with a price tag of Rs 11,999, the Zenfone 3s Max is launched for Rs 14,999.
Design and Display
Design is where most of the budget smartphones today are near identical and same is the case here, at least in terms of the material used. Both the smartphones are built out of aluminium which gives a premium feel in hands and looks. However, the approach is a little different. While the Blade A2 Plus have its sides flat, the back on the Zenfone 3s Max curves around the edges. Now, the flat edges on the A2 Plus do give that extra much-needed grip while we can’t say the same for the Zenfone 3s Max. On the other hand, curved edges make it easy to hold the device in hands. Overall, the design on both the smartphones will not disappoint you and it all comes down to personal preference based on the looks. The fingerprint scanner is there on both the devices with the Zenfone 3s Max sporting it at the front whereas, the Blade A2 Plus sports it at the back. While both of them packs a 5000 mAh battery inside, the Blade A2 Plus is slightly thicker at 9.8 mm as compared to 8.9 mm for Zenfone 3s Max. This is surprising because the Zenfone 3s Max is actually a smaller device of the two sporting a 5.2-inch HD (720 x 1080 pixels) 2.5D curved display with 75% of screen-to-body ratio. On the other hand, the Blade A2 Plus comes with a 5.5 inch Full HD 2.5d curved glass display that has 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution which means it has 401ppi display pixel density.
Though the Blade A2 Plus comes with a better resolution and bigger display, we still liked the display on the Zenfone 3s Max. The display on the Blade A2 Plus was just not bright enough in our initial impressions about the device while the 720p display on the Zenfone 3s Max performed much better in my opinion.
Performance and Memory
Internally, both of these smartphones share a lot of specifications you might have a hard time to choose one over the other, however, let’s first list down the figures. The Blade A2 Plus is powered by a 1.55 GHz MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor coupled with Mali T860 GPU. The SoC and GPU on the Zenfone 3s Max are exactly the same. The Blade A2 Plus, however, bumps in terms of RAM. The device comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is further expandable. On the other hand, the Zenfone 3s Max comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is also further expandable up to 256GB. Moreover, the Zenfone 3s Max comes with Android 7.0 Nougat while the Blade A2 Plus still runs on Android Marshamallow.
Now based on our initial impressions for the Blade A2 Plus and the review for the Zenfone 3s Max, the performance on both the devices will come really close. The 4GB RAM on the Blade A2 Plus is surely a plus point and the device also comes with a relatively light OS skin on top when compared to Asus’s ZenUI3.0 on the Zenfone 3s Max. Nitpicking between the two, we would give this one to the Blade A2 Plus. However, we would still recommend you to wait for our detailed review of the Blade A2 Plus in order to get a detailed analysis and comparison between the two.
While in most cases, this is where a smartphone tends to take the lead, you will not be impressed by either of these devices. For the optics, Asus has given a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and Dual LED flash whereas we also get an 8-megapixel 85 degrees Field of View front camera. Whereas, the Blade A2 Plus features a 13-megapixel rear shooter with PDAF, Dual LED Flash and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with Single LED flash for video and selfies. Both the Zenfone 3s Max and Blade A2 Plus are not for photography enthusiasts. But, that doesn’t mean that both of the take pathetic photos. If you are not into smartphone photography and don’t care to take many photos from your primary smartphone, both these devices will do the job. On the other hand, if you really like taking pictures from your smartphone, you consider Huawei’s Honor 6X or even Xiaomi’ Redmi Note 4 both of which comes with much better cameras and performance.
Battery and Connectivity
While the camera is a downside on both these smartphones, the battery is somewhat the opposite. Both the Zenfone 3s Max and Blade A2 Plus packs a massive 5000 mAh battery inside which in our opinion will easily last you easy 2 days. Although the battery life on the Zenfone 3s Max might be a tad bit better given it comes with lower res and smaller display, but both these devices will not disappoint you in terms of battery.
Lastly, for the connectivity, both the smartphones supports hybrid dual SIM, 4G, built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 (v4.0 on Zenfone 3s Max), microUSB, GPS with AGPS and 3.5 mm jack. The Zenfones 3s Max also supports USB OTG (On The Go) and reverse charging.
Even though both the smartphones shine in the battery department and fail in others, the decision to choose between the two really depends on your likings. The Blade A2 Plus comes with 4GB of RAM and a bigger Full HD display while the Zenfone 3s Max comes in a more compact form factor and Android 7.0 Nougat. Further, the Blade A2 Plus is also cheaper (Rs 11,999) than the Zenfone 3s Max (Rs 14,999). Considering value for money, Blade A2 Plus is the way to go whereas the Zenfone 3s Max will be a better overall device from a relatively older player in the smartphone market. Else, you can look for Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4, if battery and performance are your priority and Honor 6X if camera is what you’r are looking for.