Asus Zenfone Max Review: Tanking Up: ConclusionBy cheatmaster 03:59 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments
The Asus Zenfone Max doesn't create a promise it can't keep. It's a accurate endurance champ, thanks to a massive 5,000mAh battery and longevity-driven design and hardware choices. The Snapdragon 410 chipset is one such compromise and perhaps the spot on the Max's spec sheet that's decidedly below par.
Yet, it may very well be thanks to it that the Zenfone Max scored a 121-hour endurance rating, with some 20 hours of web browsing, and close to 16 hours of video playback. Qualcomm's lower midranger may not be quick, but it sure is frugal.
The display is 720p and it gets stretched a small too thin on a 5.5-inch diagonal, but this sort of pixel density also requires less processing and battery power. And the panel is actually very good, with excellent brightness and contrast, though it does struggle in the sun. Imaging is okay on the Max too - the cameras are not great, but they are usable and are in fact pretty fine for the price.
Key test findings
- A typical Zenfone design, the phone may be all plastic, but the faux leather back is easy on the eye and pleasant to touch;
- Display is very colorful at the Auto setting when the situation calls for it, contrast is very fine across the brightness range, and color accuracy is well above average. Sunlight legibility could have been better;
- Exceptional battery life. The Zenfone Max puts its 5,000mAh battery to fine utilize to post an endurance rating of 121 hours;
- The thoroughly customized Lollipop build offers some useful features missing in stock Android. It's no Marshmallow, and by the looks of it, the Max may discontinue up without an update;
- The Snapdragon 410 offers decent performance in basic tasks but is no fine for 3D gaming;
- The loudspeaker falls in the Average category;
- The audio output quality via the 3.5mm jack is very fine with an external amplifier but not so much with the added resistance from headphones;
- The 13MP primary capturing camera seems to be the same as in the Selfie and it's quite fine for the asking price. You'll like the vivid colors and high contrast, but some noise is also present;
- The front-facing capturing camera shoots okay 5MP selfies;
First and foremost, no Zenfone Max purchase will be undisputed unless you've checked out and dismissed Asus' own lineup, perhaps a small too diverse for its own good. An Atom-powered Zenfone 2 will give you miles better performance, the Selfie has a 13MP front-facing capturing camera with a flash, some have FullHD displays, but none is a match for endurance.
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML • Asus Zenfone Selfie ZD551KL • Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL • Asus Zenfone Max ZC550KL (2016)
An obvious rival, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is more powerful (by a long stretch, regardless of which version you get) and has a FullHD display, but is no match for battery life. Add the Redmi Note 3's metal build and fingerprint scanner and this becomes a bout the Max can only power its way through.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
Lenovo has the Vibe K4 Note in the same price bracket as the Zenfone Max, give or take. The K4 Note has a FulHD display, a fingerprint sensor, and superior build, not to mention it's significantly lighter. Again, the Max has longevity on its side.
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
The Samsung Galaxy J7 is a bit more expensive than the Zenfone Max, it has an AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display and, believe it or not, beats the Max at video playback times. Far from Asus' phablet in the other battery disciplines, the J7 is a better performer and multi-tasker, whether it's Snapdragon 615 or Exynos 7580 ticking inside.
Samsung Galaxy J7
The Zenfone Max's strengths are clear: if a gigantic screen, long battery life, and reasonable price is where you put your priorities, you're likely to struggle finding a better offer from an established manufacturer than the Zenfone Max. If you have room to maneuver on either of those, other devices may deliver more speed and dynamic performance. In the discontinue though, the choice between a jet fighter and a tanker aircraft is not one you create every day.
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