Asus has come a long way with its Max range of smartphones which are better known for its powerful battery. After launching new series of Zenfone 3 with new and attractive designs of metal body with powerful features to knock at the door of premium segment, it was quite natural for the Taiwanese giant to bump up its Max series also and rightly the company has launched Zenfone 3 Max in impressive metal design with USP of high-end battery.
The Zenfone 3 Max comes in two variants – 5.5 inch (ZC553KL) priced at Rs. 17,999 and 5.2 inch (ZC520TL) display variant which is priced Rs. 12,999. The difference between the two variants is display size, camera configurations, expandable storage and processor capabilities. We have got 5.2 inch variant for review purpose and I have used this phone for around 10 days now. Here is my observation:
I shall start with battery prowess of this phone which is the highlight of this phone. Infact, both the variants of Zenfone 3 Max are packed with 4100mAh battery and this feature is so important nowadays that Asus has not reduced the capacity of the battery in 5.2 inch model. This battery is good enough to last for full day even if you are heavy users of the phone. By heavy users, I mean if you are connected to Wi-Fi all the time, use 4G network, play games for approximately one hour, do lot of clicks with camera, surf the web and news channels for an average time of one to two hours, see YouTube videos for approxiamtely one hour and goes to your social media platform quite often. Infact, the phone will remain alive till night and even upto next morning. That is one of the best feature of this phone. Moreover, the other advantage of this battery is that you can also do Reverse Charging of your other devices and it also has Super Saving mode to enhance its life.
Asus has moved from plastic to metal in new series and Zenfone 3 Max series also have premium-crafted all-aluminum-alloy design with diamond cut chamfered edges, slim 2.25mm bezel and 73% screen-to-body ratio, which gives it premium look. The back panel is little bit slippery but the phone is sturdy enough to withstand accidental fall from your hand. It has power and volume buttons on the left and dual sim tray on the left. This phone has hybrid sim slot which means that you can use either two sims at a time or one sim and one microSD card. The USB port is given at the bottom on the right and earphone slot is on the top of the phone. The navigation keys are at the bottom of the display. On the back panel, the rear camera is at the center with LED flash and the squarish fingerprint sensor is placed below the camera setup. Asus logo is given at the botom on front and in the back. Speaker grill is also given at the bottom of the back panel. Despite the fact that this phone carries a huge battery yet it is not heavy and weighs 148 grams. It is easier to carry and can be manoevured easily with single hand.
Overall, this phone gives an impresssive look and comes in Titanium Gray, Glacier Silver, and Sand Gold colors. I have received Titanium Gray color phone which has very elegant look.
This phone has 5.2-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display which is decent keeping in view of the price tag. Sunlight visibility is not very poor and it has good viewing angles. It offers sharp, bright colors and you also get crisp text to read on the screen. You will enjoy watching videos and playing games on the display will not disappoint you. In the price range, this display performs quite well.
The ZenFone 3 Max is powered by 64Bit, quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor clocked at 1.25GHz with Mali T720GPU. It has 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage which can be extended upto 64GB via microSD card. You also get 200GB of Google Drive cloud storage for free for 2 years. While using the phone, I hav observed that you can play games but when it comes to continuous gaming and heavy games with graphics then you will face stutter and the phone heats up also. This is due to the chipset used in the phone. However, launching of apps and switching between the apps is no issue. The RAM capacity is quite good for moderate use and you have the options to extend the internal memory. The call quality and audio ouput on this phone is good and it works fine on 4G networks.
With the inclusion of fingerprint scanner in Zenfone 3 series, Asus has optimised this feature very well in their new smartphones. Fingerprint scanner placed at the back is very efficient, very easy to set-up and has never failed to unlock the phone during my usage of the phone. Besides unlocking, you can peform other functions of the phone with this fingerprint scannes such as answer incoming calls, launching camera app and taking pictures.
This phone runs on 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS with Zen UI 3.0 on top which has some unnecesary apps which consume lot of space such as Do It Later, Laser Ruler, MiniMovie, PhotoCollage etc, which can’t be uninstalled. Then their are apps which could have been easilyt avoided such as Weather, Gallery etc. as Google offers them. Infact, I am never impressed with too much customisation when no useful purpose is solved. This clutter may not be appreciated by many users. But their are some useful apps also including Mobile Manager, Back-Up and Asus Web Storage which improve the performance of the phone and are quite handy also. The interface otherwise works smoothly and I did not experience any crashes during my usage of the phone. My only reservation with Asus UI is that it has too much bloatwares which they should remove it for very smooth operation.
On the imaging front, this phone is mounted with 13MP PixelMaster rear camera with LED flash, five-prism Largan lens and capability of 52MP Super Resolution. It also has various modes such as Super HDR, Low Light, Panorama, Beautification and Time Lapse etc. Asus has not disappointed on the photoraphic front and this story continues in this phone also. You can click decent images with good contrast and sharpness in daytime or in good light. Like any other phone, the camera struggles when their is low light and during night time. I have captured few images in different environments without using any filters and they have come out quite good as you can see below. You should not forget that for reproducing them in this space, I had to compress the images and hence the quality is little bit marred with this process. For the selfies, this phone is equipped with 5MP PixelMaster front camera with f/2.2 aperture and produces good enough photos for sharing on social media platforms.
To sum up, this phone has cool features of attractive design, if not massive atleast long-lasting battery which will force you not to connect to your power charge quite frequently and decent rear camera. On the performance front, this phone will not disappoint you. If you are planning to buy a smartphone in the range of Rs. 12K with good battery back-up and handsome looking device then you can certainly consider this.