Zenfone Max Pro M2 Featured

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 full review

Lately, there has been a lot of tough competition in the budget segment of smartphones. Companies like Xiaomi, Realme, ASUS, Huawei – Honor series etc are offering some real power packed features in budget price. Recently we got our hands on the latest ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2. As the Max series has developed over the past few years, it is not just battery life but also the improvements in performance and other features. So let us do a full review to find out if ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 is worth buying or not.

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 full review:

Let us try to keep the review very precise and to the point while covering all the parameters. I had used the device for 2 weeks as my primary smartphone to experience the pros and cons.

Design

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 is sufficiently smart and slim considering the large battery pack it offers. I remember the old bulky Zenfone Max devices, while the M2 is nothing like those. It is stylish and looks premium for that matter. It is mostly because of the plastic polished back which gives a feel of glass along with the wave design. The micro USB port, headphone jack, and speaker are on the bottom while the volume rockers and power button on the right. On the left, there is the sim card & microSD card slot with noise cancellation microphone on the top. The smartphone has thin bezels on the left & right side with some really thick strip on the bottom. The notch is small compared to other devices. The device has curved side edges due to which grip is good but can be slippery with wet hands or on a smooth surface. You get a silicon transparent case with the device which helps to improve the grip. Overall the design of the smartphone is premium and slim.

Display

Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 6.26-inch FHD+ display having an aspect ratio of 19:9. The display is crisp and the color reproduction is good. Overall display quality is great and touch experience is good too in day to day use. As for the protection, the display comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection. I tried dropping the device quite a few times and from a different height, but it survived every time that too without a protective case. Though the protruding rear camera might take some of the hits. The smartphone can be used in broad daylight too, the only problem is if you watch a movie and some dark scene comes in, then it would be difficult to see in sunlight. The notch is also small so the notification icons fit in at the top. The bottom bezel could have been thinner. Overall the display of ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 is good.

Performance

Starting with the hardware, ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 packs in a Snapdragon 660 chipset with an octa-core processor. It is a power efficient chipset with AI engine feature. In support of that, the device has 3/4/6 GB RAM options with 32/64 GB internal storage. Apart from internal storage, there is a dedicated microSD card slot that supports up to 2 TB. This is a useful feature in expanding storage. So this combination easily handles all the day to day apps, multi-tasking, app-switching and gives you a really smooth performance. Coming to the gaming section, the device has Adreno 512 GPU which handles gaming pretty well. Normal games run smoothly on high settings, while games like PUBG can run without much of lag in medium settings. I was able to try out many games on this smartphone and it could run most of them without a problem. Though this is not an ideal gamers device, though it handles gaming pretty well. Talking about the fingerprint sensor, it worked really well but the facial recognition still needs a lot of improvement in terms of speed.

Coming to the software, Zenfone Max Pro M2 runs on stock Android oreo, but ASUS has surely promised a Pie update soon enough. The stock UI is great, but it still has some preinstalled apps. Overall there was not much complain on the software end.

Camera

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 12MP + 5MP rear shooter with a 13MP front camera. Talking about the rear camera, it ha Sony IMX486 image sensor which is surely good in hardware terms. The software could have utilized the sensor in a better way though. The rear camera has good color reproduction as compared to the front camera. In the front camera, the colors appeared a bit washed off. The bokeh effect could have better captured the edges in a much better way. The outdoor daylight photography is great with the rear camera. With the Snapdragon 660, Zenfone Max Pro M2 can capture 4K recordings at 30 fps. The EIS does work to clear out the shaking of the video. I tried installing GCAM and found that the selfies improved a lot in terms of color reproduction and sharpness. Low light photography with default ASUS camera app is good too with the F1.8 aperture but improves if GCAM is used.

Camera Samples from ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2

Connectivity & Sound

As for the connectivity, you have a triple slot SIM card & microSD tray. Both the SIM card slots support 4G LTE and VoLTE bands. Other common connectivity options like Wifi 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, & GPS are present. One problem I faced while speaking over call was the low voice which was probably because of the silicon case provided with the device. When I removed the case, other person was able to hear me loud and clear. It might be the case that the microphone was getting blocked due to the case.

As for the sound, ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 5 magnet speaker powered by NXP smartAMP which does its job in the best possible way. The speaker is really good on the Max Pro M2 and the sound is loud & clear.

Battery

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 sports a massive 5000 mAh battery which lasts for 1.5-2 days of usage. For a very powerful user like me using Wifi or 4G at all times with some GPS, video playback, Bluetooth music streaming, & loads of calls it lasted for more than 1 day and even 1.5 days for that matter. Even while gaming you will experience that this battery is really amazing. Though I did feel that the charging speed could have been better. In this age of Type C and fast charging, ASUS should really see to adopting fast charging tech especially for the Max series devices with massive battery packs. The charger is the same old micro USB port with a 5V 2A power rating.

Price

The ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 is Rs. 9,999 for 3GB/32GB, Rs. 11,999 for 4GB/64GB, & Rs. 13,999 for 6GB/64GB variant. The device is available in Titanium & blue color. The pricing got cut with the new Redmi Note 7 entering the market.

Overall the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a combination of all the features packed in one device. I would say it is a good device to grab out there with the battery being the core followed by design, performance, & sound.

 

Camera with Laser sensor and dual tone LED flash

Should you buy ASUS Zenfone Max?

All the features can’t help you if you don’t have enough juice to run the device. Taking this as the keypoint ASUS launched a smartphone Zenfone Max with huge battery capacity. So today we will review the smartphone and I will tell you should you buy ASUS Zenfone Max or not. The main thing to look out for is other features as the phone will have a good battery, no doubt in that.

Should you buy ASUS Zenfone Max?

Should you buy ASUS Zenfone Max?

Zenfone Max connectors and external buttons

Design

The Zenfone Max has a good build quality with Faux leather finish back. It feels good even better than Zenfone Zoom back design. The phone is heavy weighs 202g mostly due to the huge battery.  ASUS was never famous for making light slim phones. On the front it has 3 touch capacitive buttons that are again not backlighted. I don’t think they are planning to do that even in the near future. This time we have the volume rockers and the power button on the right side, the micro-USB port at the bottom with the 3.5mm jack on the top. On the back there is the camera with laser autofocus sensor and dual tone LED flash. The grip of the phone is good due to the leather finish. The back cover is removable but the battery is not.

Display

The phone boasts a 5.5-inch screen which is not at all easy to handle with one hand. The debate on the screen size will go on as it all depends on the user if it suits him/her or not. For me, I am now habitual using the 5.5-inch screen and there are some pros of having a larger screen. Though the bezels can be reduced by removing the touch capacitive buttons and providing the  on-screen option only. The display is an HD display having resolution 720 x 1280 pixels with pixel density not more than 267ppi. The phone just has an average display which is not at all impressive while you look at it. I didn’t like the display quality much but it is not that bad for normal usage. Speaking about the protection which is again an important factor in any device, the phone has Gorilla Glass 4 support which will definitely try to avoid scratches.

Performance

This is where the smartphone didn’t prove to be up to the mark. The ASUS Zenfone Max comes with Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 chipset with Quadcore processor clocked at 1.2GHz only. It has 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage which can be expanded using a Micro SD card. For graphics support it has Adreno 306 GPU. Enough of the numerical stats, for the real experience the phone is only good for average/normal users. High-end users must not at all go for this device. ASUS Zenfone Max will run normal apps with no issues as such, but as soon as you move on to above normal level gaming the phone starts to show issues. I was able to run Asphalt 8 but not very smoothly and high-end game like N.O.V.A. 3 failed totally. So this is a phone that can handle normal everyday task easily. I really expected a bit better from ASUS in this segment along with the powerful battery backup. I got an AnTuTu Score of 24735.

ASUS Zenfone Max AnTuTu Benchmark Score

AnTuTu Score Zenfone Max

 

For the software part, Zenfone Max comes with Android Lollipop running Zen UI on top of that. Now there are two thing that you want to know. One that the smartphone comes with many app which may prove to be useful or useless depending on the user. You can always uninstall or disable those apps but I will go ahead and call them bloatware. Second thing is the OS consumes way more battery than other apps and even Screen. They really need to work on this segment. You can go ahead and disable all apps from auto start manager to extend the battery life if you are using a Zenfone.

Camera

ASUS Zenfone Zoom has a 13MP rear shooter along with 5MP camera in the front. At the back it also has laser auto focus and dual tone LED flash support. The camera performs good in adequate light conditions, but some disturbance(grainy texture) can be seen while shooting indoors. I guess this is the case with most of the Zenfone series smartphones. So always try to have good light before you go to shoot pictures with this smartphone. You can always use the low light mode but that will decrease the pixel density. Zenfone Max is able to record full HD videos at 30fps. You can experiment with different camera modes provided by ASUS according to the surrounding you are shooting in. No phone camera can beat the beautification feature of ASUS, right girls?

Sound & Connectivity

Zenfone max internal slots

The sound from this device has average volume level not the best for music lovers. The speaker grill is at the back placed at the bottom. The phone has a dual sim support with 4G/3G/2G on first SIM & 3G/2G on the second. Other than that the phone supports Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS & USB OTG. You can connect your pendrives/USBdrives to the phone and share the data between the two.

Battery

reverse charging Zenfone Max

Reverse Charging – Using Zenfone Max to charge other phones

Here comes the main feature of this phone i.e. the battery backup. ASUS Zenfone Max has a 5000mAh huge battery pack. This will help you last for 2 days easily even more if you are a normal user. Power users can use the phone with extensive gaming and movies for one day. Moreover one of the very special feature of the phone is Reverse charging. What it means is that, you can use this as a power bank and charge your other devices too. For that you can use USB OTG cable that comes with the smartphone. I must agree that surviving 2 days without charging does bring back the golden old days. It feels good to use the screen on more than 50% brightness and still don’t have to care for low battery. I really hope that if all the phones had such good battery backup. The charger provided with this phone is not a fast charger. The charging time is approx 4 hrs for full charge.

Pricing & Availability

The phone is available for Rs. 9,999 on Flipkart and Amazon. It is available in two colors Osmium black(Leather like finish) & Pure white(Eggshell Finish). You get a charger, USB cable, USB OTG cable, warranty and stuff along with this phone. You also get 5GB ASUS cloud storage and 100GB Google Drive storage for 2 years.

Vedict

Coming to the final question should you buy ASUS Zenfone Max? It is quite simple now, the users who give more weightage to a good battery than performance must definitely go for this phone. Means the users who use normal messaging, calls, few other apps. Now for the power users and gamers I won’t recommend this device at all because, you will have all the juice in the world but the high end games won’t work. Lastly for the users who give preference to camera, I would suggest Max has a decent camera considering the price range, or you can go for other options like Mi4i. For power users I will recommend Coolpad Note 3, Le1s or other good smartphones in this price range. Again, Max lacks a fingerprint sensor too so choose wisely according to your needs.

Gallery

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL rear camera

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser review (ZE550KL)

ASUS has introduced some new phones in the Zenfone series viz. Deluxe, Selfie, Max and the Laser. This time we are doing ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser review after the Deluxe model. The first impression of the phone is that it looks tough, a bit heavy, has a big screen, and the back  cover feels metallic though its plastic. You can guess that the main feature is the Laser which will help the camera to focus on any particular area.  I have written this review after using the phone for a week.

Check Out : Should you buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser review (ZE550KL)

 

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser Review (ZE550KL)

Design

The first looks itself tells you that the Zenfone 2 Laser is made for rough and tough use. The build is pretty strong and the phone is a bit heavy too(170g). The design is quite similar to the ASUS Zenfone 2. You have a curved back with tapering edges. On the top there is the power button, headphone jack and secondary microphone. The micro USB charging port is at the bottom while the volume rockers are at the back along with speaker grill. There is no port or connection on either of the sides. Again the disappointing thing is the three navigation buttons on the front don’t have backlight support. The power/unlock button is on the top which is a pain so I would recommend that you choose the option double tap to wake. The phone has a removable back panel. Overall I love the design, it gives the phone a premium metallic look and is very clean.

Screen

Front

Front

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser has a 5.5 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (HD). The viewing angles on this device are great and the screen is protected by corning gorilla glass 4 which is the latest right now. You don’t need to worry about the screen damages and small fine scratches. Being a 5.5-inch device it lacks a full HD display which can be considered one of the drawbacks. The screen to body ratio is 72%.

Performance

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 Ghz. There is 2GB of RAM in this model(ZE550KL) with 16GB of ROM which can be expanded up to 128GB by using external micro SD card. For handling the graphics we have Adreno 306 GPU. With all this cleared out, I can say that the phone is not the best when it comes to performance. You can’t expect to run high graphics games in this phone. We played some games like Subway Surfer 2, Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8 with no lag. But as soon as I tried to run N.O.V.A. 3 the phone started to show some serious lag and I wasn’t able to play the game smoothly. So you can’t expect high performance from this device.

On the software side, the device comes with Android Lollipop 5.0 out of the box along with the ZenUI theme. I like the ZenUI and if that is not the case with you then you can always go for other 3rd party launchers. The app drawer automatically sorts the apps in folder which is something nice and the whole thing looks properly categorized. The device comes loaded with some bloatware apps which you can uninstall or disable if you don’t use them much frequently. There is an app called Laser Rule which makes use of the laser in the device to measure the distance.

Camera

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL rear camera

The device has a 13MP(4096 x 3072 pixels) rear camera and a 5MP(2560 x 1920 pixels) front camera along with Dual-tone LED flash. As discussed earlier we have laser guidance to quickly focus on objects or particular area. Truthfully speaking the Laser is not of much use but the camera quality of this device is best if you consider the sub 10k price range. The best part is the camera app which has so many different modes like the Low light mode, Super HDR, beautification, depth of field etc which can be used to take pictures according to the scenario. Now the volume rocker at the back comes in handy while taking pictures or selfies using the Volume down button.

Snapshots: (Compressed images)

Sound and connectivity

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL speaker grill

Having a clear and LOUD sound in the latest devices is a rare feature nowadays. But the ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser can play music at sufficiently high level with its soundMaster technology.You also have ASUS AudioWIzard for choosing the type of music mode in different scenarios like gaming and watching movies. Coming to the connectivity part, the phone supports Dual SIM with 4G LTE enabled on both the SIMS. Apart from that we have Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS at our disposal. Now the good news is there is USB OTG support so you can plug in the pen drive too.

Battery

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL charger rating

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser charger current rating

It all comes down to the battery life and here we have a 3000mAh removable battery. For me on a normal usage the battery lasted for almost 8-9 hrs. You can surely extend the battery life by using power saving modes. It all depends on how you use the device throughout the day. But the drawback is the charger that comes with the device is only rated 5.2V 1A which is very less if we want to charge 3000mAh battery. May be this is the case with my review unit, so you better confirm your charger rating.

Pricing and Availability

The device is available on Flipkart and other e-commerce websites for Rs. 9999. It comes in different color variants like Black, Red, and Ceramic White.

Verdict

i wouldn’t recommend this phone for power users who want high performance and high-end gaming. But for those who want a sub 10k device with good camera, decent battery backup, astonishing design and a durable device, ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser must be your choice.  Some tough competition to this smartphone are Yu Yureka Plus , Meizu M2 Note and Coolpad Note 3. So this was the ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser review, let me know if you have any questions through the comment section below.

 

ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe Featured image

Should you buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe?

ASUS recently launched the new Zenfone 2 series which comprised of Deluxe, Laser, GO and the Selfie variants of the smartphone. This article is all about ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe. This variant was made by keeping design factor in the mind as we have a new style of back cover hence the name Deluxe. Though there are no significant upgrades in other features if we compare it to ASUS Zenfone 2. Let’s take it for an in-depth review and find out if you should buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe.

buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe

Should you buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe: Full Review

I have rated the phone as per the different features of the smartphone. Have a look at each feature in detail and choose if the phone satisfies your requirements, after all it’s your choice.

Box Content

  • ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe
  • Travel Adapter (18W)
  • USB cable
  • User guide
  • Warranty card

Design – (9/10)

Smartphones manufactured by ASUS always have a very good build quality. They may be a little bit heavy in weight, but they are quite sturdy. ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe also has a flat screen with a curvy back. It has a back cover with 3D shiny polygons all over it, giving it a crystal diamond look which looks amazing. This is the only major difference if we compare it with the original Zenfone 2. The dimensions of the phone are 77.2 x 152.5 x 10.9 cm (WxDxH) and weighs 170g. There are no buttons or slots on the sides. On the back, it has dual color LED flash, 13 MP camera, volume rockers, ASUS logo, & speaker grill all arranged vertically in the center. On the top, there is the power button, headphone jack, and the secondary noise-cancelling microphone. The worst thing about Zenfone 2 series is that the power button is on the top. It is very hard to access and being a phablet makes it more difficult. I would recommend you to use the double tap to wake feature, and will also give a feedback to ASUS about it. They are just focusing on making the phone look symmetrical. The micro USB slot is at the bottom with the primary microphone. In the front, the three navigation buttons are placed separately from the display and they don’t have backlight which is again major drawback in ASUS smartphones. The back cover is removable and you can see the 2 SIM slots along with the micro SD card slot. The primary SIM slot supports 4G/3G/2G while the second SIM slot only supports 2G. You can expand the memory upto 128 GB using the micro SD card. The battery is non-removable. One more interesting thing about the back cover is, it doesn’t attract any fingerprints marks or smudges. It is very difficult to use the phone with only one hand, being a phablet you must use two hands. The summary would be, ASUS has done a great job in terms of design, the new 3D crystallized back cover, metallic rim finish to buttons & camera which gives a premium look to the Zenfone 2 Deluxe.

Display – (8/10)

buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe

The ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe comes with a 5.5 inch full HD IPS display having resolution 1920×1080 pixels. The viewing angles on the phone are good and the touch is very responsive. You need to increase the brightness as the screen is very reflective and you will see your reflection if the brightness is too low or if you go outdoors. It comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which will protect the phone from getting scratches and other damages. There are different modes to adjust the color saturation as per the task you are performing.

Performance – (9/10)

First let’s talk about hardware specifications of the Zenfone 2 Deluxe. It has an Intel Atom Quad Core Z3580 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. For graphics, there is PowerVR G6430 GPU which can run almost every game you throw at it. You have a big advantage in multitasking if you have 4GB RAM on your phone. There is no lag as such in the daily usage. You have 64GB of internal storage on this phone(128 GB variant available too) which is more than enough and mostly you will not need to expand the storage. If need arises then you can expand the storage upto 128Gb using an external SD card.

The phone does get heated up from back and on the display if you play high-end games for too long, but that is bearable. I tried Asphalt 8, Dead trigger 2, Brothers in arms 3, N.O.V.A. 3, and Implosion: Never lose hope. All the games ran perfectly on the phone with just a very few frame drops. It is a good phone for gamers who can get the same performance as the high-end phones.

Benchmark scores for ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe

On the software side it comes with Android 5.0 – lollipop out of the box and runs on ZEN UI its own customized UI. You can customize the looks and features of the phone as per your choice. There is a wide variety of themes available for you to choose from. The Zenfone 2 Deluxe has a lot of bloatware preinstalled though you can uninstall a few apps and disable the others. All the apps are arranged in proper category folders which makes it look clean. You can try various preinstalled apps like MiniMovie, PhotoCollage, Party Link, Share Link, PC link etc. instead of downloading their alternatives.

Camera – (7/10)

ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe comes with a 13MP shooter with a dual-tone LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera. It can take pictures having resolution 4128 x 3096 pixels and record 1080p videos at 30fps.

Camera Samples:

The quality of the image is good in daylight and below average in low light. The camera adds up a lot of noise in the low light scenario. Though you can try the low light mode which improves the image quality a bit, but it can only take 3MP shots. One big bug that I noticed was when you try to take a picture in a completely dark environment using the LED flash, the camera is not able to focus and you get a completely de-focused image. Maybe it’s due to the sync issues between the LED flash and the lens focus timing, but it needs to be fixed.

ASUS Zenfone 2 DELUXE low light comparison

The shutter speed is increased as compared to Zenfone 2 which was very slow. The most used feature in Zenfones is the beautification which works excellent by bringing uniformity of color on the face and removing all acne and other marks. One of the good things about ASUS smartphones is the camera UI, as it has various different modes out of which most of them works great.

This time I tried recording a slow motion video, but it did not came out to be as expected. The video was very laggy and the slow motion still needs some work. The other features are selfie panorama, night, HDR, Low light, GIF animation, time-lapse, super resolution, depth of field, time rewind, miniature etc. It’s just fun playing with these features and taking snaps according to your background. You can also take a 360-degree picture by using the mode panosphere, but it also lags as you take your last shots to complete the sphere. I guess they need to provide a software update to fix these bugs. Front facing camera can again take some amazing selfies considering that you don’t have a low light situation.

Connectivity – (9/10)

ASUS Zenfone comes with Wifi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, dual SIM (micro sim, 4G + 2G), and NFC support. NFC is an important feature though most of the users don’t make good use of it. In the future it will become a necessity while making payments through the smartphone. The phone has USB OTG support, so you can connect your pen drives and other USB devices if compatible.

Speaker grills

Speaker grills

The speakers are at the back and has an average sound output level. It surely does work great if you are in the same room and you can enjoy stuff like watching movies, playing songs and games. Don’t get confused with the dotted grill type design in the front, the actual speaker grill is at the back.

Battery – (6.5/10)

The phone has a 3000mAh battery which is just not enough if you are a power user. The phone will last for around 12 hours for a normal usage and around 5hrs on heavy gaming. I would recommend you to use the various power saving modes that can at least make the phone last for a day. Or you can carry the charger with you and use the ASUS BoostMaster technology to quickly charge your phone.

ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe Travel adapter (18W)

It takes around 40 mins to charge the phone to 60%. Remember to use the same charger that came with Zenfone 2 Deluxe as it supports quick charge and is of 18W. If you want to make calls and your phone is dead then charge it for 10 mins and get 4hrs of 2G talk time and 2.7hrs of 3G talk time as promised by ASUS. This can be a real life saver in case of emergency.

Pricing and availability – (8/10)

The Zenfone 2 Deluxe ZE551ML is available for Rs.22,999 for the 64GB variant and 29,999 for the 128GB version on Flipkart. There are two color options that you can choose from illusion white and illusion blue(purple). I would recommend you to go for purple as the 3D crystal polygons looks great on it. There are various other accessories for Zenfone 2 available like ZenFlash, Lolliflash, ZenPower.

BUY NOW:

Checkout: ZenFlash full Review

Also see: ASUS ZenPower 10050mAh in-depth review

Verdict

Well it comes down to whether you should buy ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe or not. The design and performance are great, the camera is excellent in daylight but average in low light, and the battery backup is just decent. The phone looks premium but lacks USB-C and fingerprint sensor which are available in OnePlus 2. You can choose between the two.