Asus ZenFone 3 Max review

Asus ZenFone 3 Max was one of the smartphones introduced as part of the new ZenFone line up in 2016. The phone is placed in the mid-range segment focusing on battery life just like the previous ZenFone Max models and this is our review of the device.

Zenfone Max

Box Contents:

  • USB Cable
  • 10 W Adapter
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Card
  • Headset

Build and Display:

Zenfone 3 Max features a full metal build like a flagship device even though it is a mid-range phone and feels comfortable in the hand with rounded corners. The aluminum chassis is smooth and gives a solid feel just like the other Zenfone 3 models. It measures 8.33mm weighs about 175 grams making it one of the lightest devices with a big battery. We have the volume rocker and the power button to the right side which feel sturdy and a hybrid sim slot on the left side. There is a 3.5mm audio jack and the noise cancelling microphone at the top while the bottom houses a micro-USB port, speaker and the primary microphone. On the backside we have the 16 MP primary camera accompanied by a dual tone led flash and laser focus. There is also a finger print sensor below the camera module and a Asus logo at the bottom.

ZenFone 3 Max features a 5.5 inch full-HD IPS display which produces sharp pictures and is a big improvement over the previous Zenfone Max models. The screen has good brightness levels which in turn gives a good visibility in the outdoor under sunlight. One thing the display lacks is a screen protection which we would expect in any device at this price range, however Asus has an oleophobic coating on the glass to avoid fingerprints. The fingerprint sensor is accurate but could have been a tad faster. It can be used to unlock the device and even take pictures.

ZenFone 3 Max

Performance:

ZenFone 3 Max is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Chipset with an octa-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz paired with 3 GB RAM. The performance is quite smooth even with the “entry-level” Snapdragon 430 processor and everyday tasks like launching apps or multitasking were fast. The issue is when you start playing graphic intensive games which max out the processor and there are noticeable frame drops. There is absolutely no heating of the device even when you play intensive games or use the mobile for longer periods thanks to the power efficient processor. The internal memory of 32GB can be expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card slot but since we have an hybrid slot, it can be either single sim with memory card or a dual sim device with just 32GB internal storage.

Software:

Like other devices in the line-up, ZenFone 3 Max also runs on  the Zen UI 3.0 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The UI provides lot of customizations and it might be over whelming if you are a fan of stock android ROMs. There are few pre-installed apps like Instagram, Puffin, Need for Speed: No Limits and Sim City.  There is also a mobile manager app that can be used to manage permissions, clean up junk files etc.

Camera:

If Asus has been consistent in one area, it would definitely be the cameras in ZenFone models. Asus ZenFone 3 had one of the best cameras in the lineup and Zenfone 3 Max, even though is a mid-range device, comes with a pretty good shooter. The main camera is a 16 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture which produces some nice pictures even at low light conditions. The color reproduction is good and the images are sharp looking. There is a low light mode which can be enabled to take fairly bright pictures in low light level or night times with less noise. The front 8MP camera is also capable of producing good pictures and has different modes to enhance the shots. The laser focus and PDAF on the primary camera enables fast and accurate focusing while taking pictures and Asus has to be appreciated for including them even in the mid-range device.

Battery and Call quality:

As with previous models, we expected Zenfone 3 Max to provide exceptional battery life with a bigger battery like 5000 mAh but this device packs 4100 mAh. With our basic to moderate usage, the device runs for full two days but there are devices with smaller batteries and more powerful processors that give similar battery life. There are different power saving modes that can be scheduled for different times of the day to switch automatically. There is also the OTG adapter which allows the user to charge another device from the ZenFone 3 Max. The downside of battery is that Asus has not included fast charging and it takes a long time to charge the battery fully.

The call quality is quite good and the earpiece is sufficiently loud making it clear and audible.  The loudspeaker performs well and the AudioWizard app lets you modify the equalizer settings to fine tune the sound.

Verdict:

ZenFone 3 Max packs some upgrades over the previous models in areas like design, build quality, camera etc. but might not be doing justice to the “Max” series. With many mid-range devices packing similar batteries and better processors, we expected Asus to throw in some more juice and a beefier processor for the price of Rs. 16,999. At this price range, the new devices like Redmi Note 4, Honor 6X and Lenovo P2 are all better devices than the ZenFone 3 Max and there is even Asus ZenFone 3 Laser which might be redundant given how similar it is to this device.

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