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Asus Zenfone Max – The powerbank smartphone – Review

Smartphones are getting powerful everyday. As they become operationally powerful, they demand more power to stay powered up. You may have the most powerful mobile in you hand, but what is the use, if it runs out of battery within a few hours. This issue can be address in multiple ways. You can make the mobile smaller or you can make their displays weaker or you can make them bulkier with a larger battery. Zenfone Max takes a different route. The Zenfone Max is a large 5.5 inch device with a powerful processor and a large battery, but it has a relatively thin profile.

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Unboxing Video

Design

The Zenfone Max is 11mm thin and that is slim considering the fact that this mobile has a whooping 5000 mAh battery. It weighs 202 grams. Holding the device and operating is comfortable as the weight is spread evenly. The Zenfone max’s design is marginally different from the other Zenfones. The back is removable and it has a leather texture, though it is made of plastic. The volume and power buttons are at the right. The sides have a metal rim. The buttons are made of metal as well. The speakers grills are that the back bottom. The front has the 5.5 inch IPS LCD display with non-backlit keys below it. The bezels are thick and Asus explains that thick bezels helps them keep the cost down. The construction of the device feels solid and it looks and feels premium. It is a Rs 10k mobile but it feels like a premium device.

zenfone max

Display

The display is a 5.5 inch screen which supports 1280×720 HD resolution. It has a pixel density of 267 ppi. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. For a sub 10k mobile, the display quality is very good. From the notifications tray, when the bluelight filter is enabled, the display apears to have warm colors and this eases the eyes on prolonged usage. The display has good black and white levels. The colors show no banding. The saturation levels are natural. The screen has good viewing angles. Direct sunlight readability is a challenge with the Zenfone Max, but overall the display is a pleasant surprise considering the fact that its is a mid range mobile.

zenfone max

Hardware and Performance

Zenfone Max is powered by a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. It has 2 Gb of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The graphics processor Adreno 306 helps in the graphics rendering and processing. While playing graphics rich games, the mobile did have isolated frame drops. Frame drops and stuttering became more evident on prolonged intensive gaming. The device did get warm then, but it never over heated. You can check the benchmark test score in the specs below.

[aps_product id=”9854“]

zenfone max

Camera

The primary camera has a 13 MP sensor with a f/2.0 lens. The camera is assisted by laser autofocus sensor and dual-LED (dual tone) flash. It can record 1080p videos at 30 fps. The images from the camera are sharp and shows details when shot under ample light conditions. Under low light conditions, it gets tricky. With steady hand, you can get sharp images. The shutter speed gets low, but the ISO level stays at a level where is noise is less. Thanks to the pixel master algorithm the images have very less noise at any light conditions. Video recording also behaved similarly. The footage is crisp under daylight, but starts showing trails as the light goes down. The front camera is a 5 MP shooter and it is good for selfies.

Check out the camera samples

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Software and UI

The ZenFone Max still runs on Android 5.0 out of the box with the Zen UI on the top. The Zen UI has a long list of pre-installed applications. I like the Zen Mini movies and SuperNote apps. Asus has also tried to reinvent the Notifications UI.  Zen UI has very little customization possibilities. But overall the UI is fast and snappy. It does not lag and definitely smoother than the likes of Touch Wiz or SenseUI.

zenfone max

Battery

Battery is the primary strength of this mobile. Zenfone max has a 5000 mAh battery. Actually many call it a powerbank which can make calls. The device can charge another device and Asus has bundled in a OTG cable to facilitate this. On a normal usage with 3-5 hours of screen on time, the mobile can last for 2 days. Under intense usage and with roaming network, the mobile lasted for little over 24 hours on a single charge. But the painful part is the charging time. It takes about 3-4 hours for the mobile to charge from 10-100% when charged with the bundled 1A charger.

Verdict

Battery mobiles are generally not good at other departments. But the Zenfone max is an exception. It not only has a large battery, it has good camera, decent display and a commendable performance. The mobile is slightly heavy, but when compared to carrying a powerbank and a mobile, I would choose the Zenfone max. The Zenfone max is a highly recommended choice and it goes straight to the gadgetdetail smart recommendation list.

You can buy it here

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Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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