Can the Asus Zenfone Max Pro fight its way to become the next Budget King?
Asus, after staying quiet for a few months, is back with a new budget smartphone, known as Zenfone Max Pro (M1). The smartphone comes with a price tag of Rs 10,999 for the 3GB RAM, Rs 12,999 for the 4GB RAM and Rs 14,999 for the 6GB RAM option and it will retail exclusively on Flipkart starting from May 03, 2018.
Our first reaction to the phone was a raised eyebrow when we realised that Asus has dropped its cluttered ZenUI for a near-to-stock experience. So could we have something really special here? Because this phone has definitely taken a cue from the trends that matter in this segment, namely, looks (display), cameras, and battery. Safe but premium look,s dual cameras, and a 5000 mAH battery certainly indicate a strong bid to be more than a just a player. Read on for the details.
Design and Display
The design of smartphones is one part that has been stagnant for a while now. It's almost like everything has been tried, and everyone has arrived at this one safe look. The Zenfone Max Pro (M1) also pays it safe, but with some noticeable changes. The front of the device features 2.5D curved glass for a premium feel and the dual rear cameras are fused in the back panel for a smoother look. In terms of look, this one certainly looks classy and premium, though it is a bit slippery while you hold it. Check out the pictures of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M1).
This phone is definitely heavier than its peers, and this is primarily because of a 5000mAh battery. Apart from that, we quite like the combination of dark blue and black, which certainly adds some brownie points to it.
Talking about the display, Asus has adapted to the latest 18:9 display and the Max Pro bears a 6.0-inch Full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. The first thing we like about the display is the balanced colours on offer. The display is quite bright and you can thank the 450 nits brightness. We will talk more about this during our review.
Hardware and Software
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor along with Adreno 509 GPU. The phone comes in two memory options: one with 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM, while other features 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM. This is where things get really interesting as not many brands are offering the latest Snapdragon processor except Xiaomi with its Redmi Note 5 Pro. During our brief testing, as you would expect, the smartphone performed well without showing any sign of lagging or overheating.
And now we come to what must have been a tough one for Asus. They have taken a major decision of discarding their beloved add-ons (bloatware to you and me) and actually made the ZenUI a near stock Android experience on this phone. This is the first smartphone from Asus that promises pure Android experience. The user interface now comes loaded with almost no bloatware, which was a major highlight of all feedback on Asus devices till now. And it doesn't stop there. You are getting the latest Android 8.1 Oreo, which is a scarcity at this price point. Phones like Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro despite sporting such good hardware runs on dated Android Nougat. Same is the case with other manufacturers as well. So, it is certainly a good move from Asus to give the latest Android version and hopefully it will maintain this standard in the future as well.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro features a dual-camera setup at the rear, which comes with a combination of 13-megapixel primary sensor with f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, 5 element lens, 80-degree wide angle lens, while there is a 5-megapixel secondary sensor for bokeh effects. The camera surely looks promising from our initial testing as the colours were quite close to the source and detailing was to the point during ideal lighting situation. We will talk more about this during our review, meanwhile, check out the camera samples of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M1).
For the front, there is an 8-megapixel front-facing camera f/2.0 aperture, 85.5 wide angle lens and 26mm focal length. The front camera also comes loaded with some nifty features like bokeh, beautify mode and more. The front camera does some good selfie in broad daylight and the bokeh effects are impressive, though we need to check in different lighting condition to give our final remark on the camera performance of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro.
Battery and Connectivity
Another major highlight of the smartphone is the big 5000mAh battery, which can give up to 2 days of battery backup as per company’s claim. The smartphone also comes with 5-magnet speaker with NXP Smart Amplifier technology. The device also ships with a passive Max-box amplifier which boosts the audio experience by a significant margin. The fingerprint sensor at the back panel works fine in our testing as well. On the connectivity front, it supports 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, dual-SIM, dedicated microSD card slot, GPS and micro USB port.
All in all, till the final reviews are in, this phone has certainly given enough reasons to pause and ponder, if you are in the market for a phone in this price range.
To conclude, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M1) certainly looks a device that could change Asus' faith as it bears some really impressive specs for the price point coupled with some premium looking design and near stock Android experience. The device will surely face a fierce competition with the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and from other Chinese players like Infinix, Tecno and more.