Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: 3 'MAX' reasons to like the Asus ZenFone MAX

I shared my first impressions of the Asus Zenfone MAX here. Like I said then, the phone looks like it’s got heaps of potential, and indeed it has.

Mammoth capability
Imagine, not having to bring an extra power bank to charge your phone once it runs out of juice in the middle of the day. After all, this is a common scenario, especially when we are such heavy users of mobiles these days.

That would be super convenient! Imagine again the lesser weight you have to carry! Ok, it may not be much compared to the kids’ bottles and jackets and wet tissues and so on, but every little bit counts, me thinks. 

And the Asus Zenfone MAX has got this built-in power bank with a 5000mAh power capacity. What this gigantic number means is that the MAX has enough energy to fully charge itself as well as other devices. It’s a fully operating power bank by itself, so no need to bring another extra.

So it’s got great battery power as a power bank. How is its power as a phone? Quite good, as we’ve discovered. We left the MAX on standby mode for just about two weeks, and when we woke it up again, the battery was still three quarters full. So the MAX has lived up to its claim of having up to 38 days of standby time. The 5000mAh lithium polymer battery is also responsible for giving over a day of talk time and web surfing. That means that if you’re an average user, then you’ll only need to charge the phone every two to three days or so, and your phone will seldom run out of juice. Especially useful when the kids keep you so engaged that you forget to charge the phone. Yup, it's happened to me before.

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The battery however, is not removable. One can find it just under the removable back panel, where the dual-SIM and microSD card slots are located. Internal storage stands at 16GB, though this can be increased up to 64GB with a microSD card.

Internally, the ZenFone MAX runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with 2GB of RAM. This combination works decently day to day. However, graphic intensive applications like Angry Birds 2 might cause the phone to warm up a little after some play, resulting in some lag. Just turn off the apps and let the phone cool, and that should do the trick. The only problem with this is if the lag happens while the kids are playing with it (which is generally quite rare in my case, because I limit their screen time); it will be tough to get them to put down the phone without a fight (that's why I limit screen time in the first place).

Amazing camera
Previously, when we reviewed the Zenfone Selfie, its camera impressed us. The same goes for the Zenfone MAX. 

It has a 13 megapixel rear camera with 0.03 second laser auto-focus and a f/2.0 aperture. Its laser beam focuses extremely fast for quite detailed images, especially in settings where the light is more balanced. Now this is quite useful to capture focused pictures of energetic kids. Though there is some noise in images taken in low light, the images are rather satisfactory. There are heaps of shooting modes like manual, low light, HDR, slow motion, time lapse, panorama, and so on to make mobile photography really fun and creative. Hahaha.. I think it will be hilarious to see EV and AA in slow motion or time lapse.

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The front camera also features a f/2.0 aperture but stands at 5 megapixel instead. There’s also the additional beautification shooting mode, that first appeared in the Zenfone Selfie. This mode allows you to instantly beautify oneself before taking a selfie, or if you are still not satisfied, then further post editing can be done after the photo is taken. This has been a hit with EV, who always asks for selfie and requests that I add colour (read: lipstick).

The 5.5-inch Zenfone MAX is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 4, so it is extremely scratch resistant and durable. This is quite standard these days, so it is good to know that Asus didn’t stinge on this despite the MAX’s affordable price. In fact, according to Asus, the Gorilla Glass is 2.5x stronger and 85% less likely to break in daily use. In other words, it is rather kid proof.

The phone’s screen itself is a 1280x720 HD display that has a 178-degree viewing angle, with a density of 267 pixels per inch that makes images appear clear and detailed.

EXquisite lightweight design
The Zenfone MAX only weighs 202g. That really light, considering that it’s got a monster battery in such a small, slim space that measures just 156mm by 77.5mm and between 5.2 and 10.55mm thick.

Overall, the Zenfone MAX’s design is similar to its other Asus siblings, with the metallic frame and control buttons. Up close, that’s where the differences reside. The power button and volume rocker is on the right side of the phone.

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Turn the phone around and the back panel is where the design gets exquisite. We like the embossed leather feel of the phone in Osmium Black. It gives good tactile touch, and makes the whole phone much easier to hold on to. We really do like how it feels and adds to the elegant look already achieved by the screen and the surrounding metal edge.

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The Asus Zenfone MAX, available at a price of $249, is a good all rounder. It looks good and performs satisfactorily well, and the key feature that may sway any buyer would be its massive battery. It means you don’t have to go searching for a charger mid-day, plus it comes at an economical price that won’t hurt the pocket.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a unit of Asus Zenfone MAX for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All images and opinions are our own.


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  1. Looks like an interesteing phone. I am sold on the F2 aperture and 5000k powerbank (wow!)

    cheers, Andy

  2. Seems like a great phone but I am not much of an android user. Tried many loan sets and I had to ask android user friends to help review for me.

  3. I'm previously an Asus user as well.. am now waiting for new models that don't heat up as much.

  4. I have used Asus laptop and quite happy with it. As far as phone is concerned, somehow it's iPhone for me.

  5. I using it too and totally agree on all the points here.

  6. Sounds like a great phone for that price point!

    Michelle @ The Chill Mom

  7. This is cool! Maybe will go try try... :D

  8. The f2 aperture is quite tempting!!

    Ju Ann

  9. Sounds like a really cool phone to have! For a working mom like me, I rely on the phone's camera to capture precious moments with my kids, so the F2 aperture is sure helpful!


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