Are you fed up with carrying power bank with you to keep your smartphone alive so that you do not miss important calls and messages? To address the problem of frequent charging, many vendors have started coming out with powerful batteries even in their middle segment phones. Of late, we have seen Gionee Marathon M5 and Lenovo Vibe P1 with massive batteries. How can Asus be left behind? Asus known for making phones with specific aspects as its main feature has also come out with ZenFone Max with huge battery of 5000mAh. Earlier, Asus has come out with ZenFone 2 Laser and ZenFone 2 Selfie with focus on laser auto-focus and selfie features of front camera, respectively. Asus has highlighted one feature in these phones and also kept good hardware feature to meet the requirements of affordable segment.
Here we will reveiw Asus ZenFone Max which we have used for considerable time and find this phone to be powerhorse as far as its battery is concerned and will also not disappoint you in other departments also. The plus ploint is that this phone is priced just Rs. 9,999 and you can’t expect much more from Asus in this price range.
Design and Look
Of late, we have observed that all Asus ZenFone 2 including ZenFone Max have same design look and you can’t distinguish between one model and another. Surprisingly, the flagship ZenFone Zoom also looks the same from the front although it has different design in the back due to its circular rear camera. The Zenfone Max also has metallic frame with distinct concentric circles design and capacitive navigation buttons at the botttom.
The ZenFone Max is available in two colour – black and white. We have got black colored phone for review. The back panel is made of good quality plastic with leather like texture, which gives it smooth and impressive look. The back panel can be removed for reaching Dual SIM slots and microSD card slot. This phone has a rounded gold aluminium strip running along the sides to give it more elegant look. On the top of the phone is 3.5mm socket for plugging earphones and Micro-USB port has been given on the bottom. The notification light is at the extreme left on the top. The volume rockers and power button have been placed on the right side, which gives easy access to these buttons.
The rear camera and flash are in the center at the top of the back panel. The speaker grille is at the bottom of the back. Asus logo has been embossed on the back.
Despite the fact that this phone weighs 202 grams because of its heavy battery, still you do not feel it to be quite bulky and can be operated easily with one hand.
The ZenFone Max flaunts a 5.5-inch IPS display having resolution of 720×1280 pixelswith Gorilla Glass 4 protection. To keep the price in check, Asus has kept the resolution low and as a result the lack of detail and sharpness is quite obvious. But the display will not disappoint you more as it is quite bright and produces sharp colors. This screen is not legible in bright sunlight and as we have observed even high end phones suffer on this aspect and ZenFone Max also face the same problem. Overall, in this price range, this is good screen offering.
This phone is driven by Snapdragon 410 64-bit quad-core chipset paired with Adreno 306 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which can be extended upto 64GB via microSD card. It offers connectivity options of Dual-SIM, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The primary SIM slot is for 4G and this phone supports all 4G LTE Indian bands. The secondary slot is given for 3G connectivity.
Although this phone comes with budget SOC yet it performs very well in all departments of gaming, switching between the apps, multi-tasking and continuously using the phones for videos. We did not face any lag or stutter. In the case of playing heavy graphics games like Angry Birds 2 continuously, the phone heats up a bit but this problem can be solved by closing all the background apps and the traditional method of cooling down the device for sometimes and then restart it for gaming. One should not shout at the company for this as you are not paying huge amount to them for this device and still gives good performance.
Asus ZenFones are known for good call quality and this phone also take this legacy forward. We did not face any problem in getting calls and data in 4G network wherever it was available. This phone delivers good sound quality and the sound emerging from earpiece is not jarring at all and the performance of mic is also quite good.
The Asus ZenFone Max runs on Android Lollipop 5.0 OS with the company’S ZenUI skin on top of it. We do not appreciate customised UI of may vendors especially of Chinese, which are complicated to handle and make the devices slower also. But this is not the case with Zen UI skin, which fortunately is light and offfers customisability and easy controls. One exprience does not go well and that is when you open the phone for the first time, you observe that it comes with various pre-loaded apps. The first time users will face updation of these too much apps, which sometimes look irritating. This UI has separate apps for different functions such as contacts, calender, clock, weather, calculator etc. These apps are available under the icon of Asus but these require updating quite often.
But despite the fact that software of this phone requires frequent updation, the plus point is the apps are not drain on the system and are quite efficient.
The major highlight of this phone is massive 5000mAh battery and this feature says goodbye to habit of always carrying powerbank in your bag or pocket. We have done extensive testing of this phone by playing games, using social networking sites of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc. continuously, managing my email account where I get lot of mails and watching and streaming movies. This batttery lasted for more than 25 hours with heavy usuage and with moderate use, it can last upto three days, which is quite impressive performance of the battery of this phone.
The other superlative feature of this phone is that its battery can be used as a power bank to charge other devices. The only little bit problem faced by us that the charger of this phone which comes in the box is little bit slow and takes approxiamtely seven hours to charge the battery from zero to full. For the battery of this magnitude, high speed charger would be the best option to use, which the customer will have to buy at additional cost. This is not the fault of battery but issue of charging.
Asus has provided the same rear and front cameras on this phone which were given on ZenFone Laser 2, which had the distinction of best possible phone in camera optics in mid-segment. This phone is also equipped with a 13-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera with laser auto-focus plus dual-tone LED flash. The rear camera comes with different modes for capturing the images such as manual, HDR, Depth of Field, GIF Animation, Time Rewind, Panorama, Night, Beautification etc.
The camera of this phone struggles little but in sunlight but reproduces amazing images taken indoors or not in much sunlight. The result of these images come out quite sharp with good details. The credit for this goes to its feature of laser auto focus with which you can shoot close-ups and other shots accurately and quickly for detailed photos.
We have clicked some images in different environments of indoors, in fading light and even in the night. The results are quite impressive and are reproduced below :
The 5-megapixel front-facing snapper will not disappoint the selfie lovers as it has quite satisfactory performance. You can enhance your selfie experience with Beautification, Selfie Panorama, HDR modes etc. Overall, the result of the clicked photos with front camera of this phone is quite good to be shared on social media. You can also record videos on this phone in 1080p resolution which is also one of the plus point of this device.
Being moderately priced, the ZenFone Max wins the race as far as its battery offering is concerned. The other features of its superb camera, and decent processor, display, design are a good deal at price range of Rs. 9,999. With all these features, this phone is really an all rounder in cricketing term. If you are looking for reasonably good phone with massive battery back-up then your search can end with this device as this is the only phone under Rs. 10,000 to offer you good performance in all departments and slicing on the cake is its stupendous battery. Other branded phones are also available with heavy batteries but they are little bit expensive. The only downside is weak charger and this issue can be resolved by shelling out some extra money.