Asus Zenfone Max was Asus’s one of the best selling devices and the reason was quite obvious, It was one if the only few devices that helped users with their biggest concern in smartphones, the battery backup. Read our review of the previous version of Asus Zenfone Max.
Taking a cue from the success of this device Asus came up with the refreshed Asus ZenFone Max (2016) , with better hardware configuration and other important upgrades that could help it further cement its place as the most sought after Asus device. Let us see if the device performs as expected in our review.
Look and feel
Asus has not tinkered with the look and feel of the device and it looks identical to the earlier version. Overall the design and weight of the device remain same. It still has the textured leather finish removable back cover along with the trademark Asus chin with concentric circles. The golden rim is still there and adds to the overall looks of the device. Asus is offering the device in two more colours, Blue and Orange, along with the White and Black which were already present in the previous version.
Asus has stuck with the micro USB port that remains at the bottom and volume and power buttons are housed on the right side of the device. These buttons have a good tactile feedback when pressed and have the same concentric design as the chin of the device. A 3.5 mm audio jack is located at the top and the left side is button less.
On removing the rear panel, you can see the dual sim card slots along with a micro sd card slot for memory expansion. This device supports 2 micro sd cards and both are 4g supported. Battery although is visible but is not user replaceable.
Although Asus has kept the screen resolution to 720*1280 pixels, it could’ve been increased as the screen does fade away in direct sunlight. Higher resolution screen would’ve added value to the device, however, keeping in mind the battery backup the screen resolution remains unchanged.
An addition of a fingerprint sensor could’ve been a major improvement as most of the competitors are offering a higher resolutions screen along with fingerprint sensor at the same or lesser price range. We really feel Asus missed a trick here. However, Asus has made much-needed changes in the design language with the New Zenfone 3.
Specifications and software
The biggest change in both the versions of this device are the hardware changes that Asus has made. The earlier version was dreadfully slow and would lag awfully once a few apps were installed on it. However, the new version comes with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC and the difference is pleasing. The phone works very smoothly and does not lag at all even with heavy gaming, while the earlier version of Zenfone Max with Snapdragon 410 this was impossible.
The ZenFone Max (2016)version comes with 32gb inbuilt memory compared to 16gb in the previous version. While RAM remains at 2GB but if you’re ok to spend Rs 3,000 more you can get a 3GB version of the device.
The battery on ZenFone Max (2016) remains the same at 5000mAh, however, we expected a better charger to accompany it. It takes almost 5.5 to 6 hours to charges the mammoth battery to the brink. You can pick up these chargers which are compatible with this device and can charge it much faster.
The camera on this device is another highlight apart from the battery. There is no change in the camera set and has a 13 MP rear camera and 5MP front camera along with the ASUS PixelMaster 2.0 technology. The dual tone flash and laser autofocus sensor are located on the back. The Zenfone Max features Laser Auto Focus technology that helps focus on an object in as fast as 0.03 seconds.
It is one of the few devices in this price range that comes with manual camera controls. While auto mode gives you decent photos, there are other pre-set settings that give you quick control and better images.
Outdoor shots gave good colour reproduction and photos looked natural with good depth of field. Indoor shots gave great macro shots and accurate focus. The camera app, however, has ever so slight lag while opening which is irritating at times.
The improvement in performance is quite noticeable as Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 is a proven performer. This upgrade makes the device work like a charm and assures decent and reliable functionality. All the tasks were performed smoothly and gaming was also not an issue on the device. You may refer to some benchmark scores which show the clear improvement.
The battery on the device easily exceeded our expectations and gave an 8.30 hrs of Screen on time. While on day to day usage the previous Zenfone Max performed better with 2.5 days backup when fully charged while the new one just lasted 2 days. The main reason behind this change is the upgraded processor and we won’t complain as this is still better than most of the other devices available in the market.