Battery life is one of the core aspects of choosing a smartphone. Today, we have Asus’s Zenfone Max. With 5000MAh, Asus wants to make sure you have your battery for yourself and share the candy with other smartphones. Is it only about the battery life of is it worth it? Let’s find out!

01| The Unboxing!

The box in all it's glory!

The box in all it’s glory!

Some specs showoff!

Some specs showoff!

After ripping apart the box, you'll find the phone itself, user manuals, some S/N stickers, USB cable, charger and a reverse charging cable, which could also be used for OTG

After ripping apart the box, you’ll find the phone itself, user manuals, some S/N stickers, USB cable, charger and a reverse charging cable, which could also be used for OTG

02| Design and Build Quality

Asus really wants to make this phone look premium I guess mainly due to its thickness. The phone tries to be premium by making its back look like leather, in fact, its plastic. This time around, Asus changed the button placement on their phones.

The Zenfone Max is equipped with a 5.5 inch 720p screen.

The Zenfone Max is equipped with a 5.5 inch 720p screen. It has the usual Asus look with their signature chin at the bottom

The left side is plain

The left side is plain

Towards the right this time around, you'll find the power button and volume keys.

Towards the right this time around, you’ll find the power button and volume keys.

Towards the back you'll find the camera, flash, ASUS logo and the speakers at the bottom. In my opinions even though its not leather the phone sure looks great!

Towards the back you’ll find the camera, flash, ASUS logo and the speakers at the bottom. In my opinions even though its not leather the phone sure looks great!

 

Removing its back reveals some if its expansion options. What we're at over here is dual-sim card slots, a dedicated MicroSD card slot ( supports upto 64GB), 5000mAh non-removable battery and the speakers.

Removing its back reveals some if its expansion options. What we’re looking at over here is dual-sim card slots, a dedicated MicroSD card slot ( supports upto 64GB), 5000mAh non-removable battery and the speakers.

As of the build quality,the Zenfone Max’s build quality seems pretty promising. It could take some beating here and there. I personally dropped mine on the face of the phone from waist height and the phone was totally fine. The phone has some minor quirks though. The 5000mAh battery sure makes the phone thick and a bit heavy, 10.6mm and 202g, respectively. Though in my everyday use I didn’t really notice that expect the first few days I used the phone.

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The phone isn’t even the “grippiest” though, the phone really lacks some grips here and there due to the material choices at the back. Its not totally slippery, but a switching your brain gears somewhere else may drop the phone.

03| Display and Audio

Here's the display

Here’s the display

The Asus Zenfone Max is equipped with a 720p, 5.5 inch display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The phone has a very good display I must say. The phone even though is 720p, I really don’t mind since text and images look quite sharp. Asus also included their classy Splendid app which tunes the display according to your liking. Though, I’d like the Splendid app to have some exceptions, such as in the camera app, the gallery or any other apps since sometimes enabling the Splendid app on vivid mode really shows off better images on the phone, but  once exported its not as the image we expected. If you’re a person who stays outdoors most of their day they’ll find the display a bit dim in harsh sunlight. Though, the screen isn’t bad, its just usable.

These rear facing speakers are not bad.

These rear facing speakers are not bad.

As of the audio quality, I am no audiophile, but the speakers are leaned towards the louder side of the smartphone spectrum. Though at times I felt very minor distortions at high volumes. I had a pleasant experience watching Youtube videos. The speaker is placed at the back, though I know Asus could manage some alterations in their next smartphone. Most Android lovers love front facing speakers. Anyways, not a bad experience, it’s just what I’d love to see.

04| Performance

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2015, August
Status Available. Released 2016, January
BODY Dimensions 156 x 77.5 x 10.6 mm (6.14 x 3.05 x 0.42 in)
Weight 202 g (7.13 oz)
SIM Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
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DISPLAY Type IPS capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches (~69.0% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 720 x 1280 pixels (~267 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4
– Asus ZenUI
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410
CPU Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 306
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 64 GB (dedicated slot)
Internal 8/16 GB, 2 GB RAM
CAMERA Primary 13 MP, f/2.0, laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
Video 1080p@30fps
Secondary 5 MP, f/2.0
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP, EDR
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Radio To be confirmed
USB microUSB v2.0, USB On-The-Go
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Po 5000 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 914 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 38 h (3G)

 

IMG-20160411-WA0000As of the performance, the performance of the Zenfone max seems to be very good. Equipped with 2GB of RAM allows it to be snappy. As of the CPU horsepower, you’re looking at a Snapdragon 410, a quad-core clocked at 1.2Ghz. On Antutu, the phone managed to score around 24k For most of the time the phone was very smooth, in fact even when I had 5-6 apps running in the background. Sometimes I did notice apps restarting when I got back to them but hey with these specs it’s performing like a champ.

As of gaming performance, yes it can play most games fine with the exception of high end ones, though, I tested Asphalt 8 on Medium, and it ran it just fine.

When it comes to storage, you have two options an 8GB/16GB the rest of the specs seem to be the same here. The one I am using is the 16GB variant. After I took it out of the box, I found, out of 16GB of internal storage only around 10GB was usable. I think Asus could do some work here.

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05| Camera

The camera on this phone is a 13MP shooter with laser auto focus. In my opinion the images for this phone are good enough for the average Joe. Images from the Zenfone Max seem to have a trend of adding noise here and there. There have been a few times when some colors that it produces are inaccurate. When it comes to focusing on the Zenfone Max, yes it’s damn fast but it’s really saddening that it becomes much slower to focus when you tap to focus on a subject. Here are a few samples that you could have a look at. Do note that all of these images we taken at Auto Quality. Asus also has an excellent Manual mode to add a few more crannies to the picture but yeah to keep it fair, most people don’t spend time in the manual mode or don’t even know how to use it which is the reason Auto is the best comparison.

Here is an outdoor shot

Here is an outdoor shot

Another Outdoor shot

Another Outdoor shot

This image seems to be dark

This image seems to be dark

Here's an indoor shot, do note the fuzziness on the edges of the Pringles box

Here’s an indoor shot, do note the fuzziness on the edges of the Pringles box

P_20160408_225807

I really liked how well the phone blurred out the other subjects

P_20160408_225838

Do note the high noise in this image. I really think Asus needs to work on this.

06| Battery Life

The main core aspect is finally here. The Zenfone Max is okay in my opinion for a 5000mAh phone. I have seen phones with around 3000-3500mAh get close to the battery life of then Zenfone Max. There’s no denying that the Zenfone Max just impressed me in the battery department but I wish Asus gave it some time to optimize the battery timing to squeeze that 5000mAh juice! But yeah, to be honest I didn’t really expect Asus to put much time into this phone. As of the battery life, the phone usually lasted me two days on medium usage. While playing games for half an hour the battery dropped 8% but didn’t overheat. Alot of people will also be concerned of the charging time of this phone, this phone is no joke, it takes a full 3.5-4 hours to get full charged ( from 12% to 100%).

Asus also has their Power Saver application which in my opinion serves just okay, it didn’t make much of a difference but yeah at least its there. Their app works but setting specific rules to the smartphone, such as turning off wifi, bluetooth or close background applications.

07| Pricing & Conclusion

The pricing of the 2GB RAM/16GB variant of the Zenfone Max is retailing at RM749.99 at online retailers. In my opinion this phone is a must have for hikers, travellers or even the Average Joe. In my opinion the phone is priced well for its performance and that 5000mAh battery no complaints here. There are a few minor quirks which are in almost every smartphone but yeah, Asus could take in account for the negatives of this phone, hopefully in the Zenfone Max 2, maybe!

We would like to award this product our Bronze Award!

We would like to award this product our Bronze Award! Definitely recommended!