It’s been a while since Asus launched its big battery phone, the Zenfone 3s Max, we reviewed it then and found it to be a great option for anyone looking for a mid-range phone whose battery refuses to die. We have been putting the big battery max through its paces for a few months now and have documented our long term experience in this review. Let’s evaluate how well the 3s Max has held up over a period of usage.
Asus Zenfone 3s Max specifications and features
- 5.2-inch 720p IPS display of 282ppi
- MediaTek MT6750 (4 x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 + 4 x 1.0GHz Cortex-A53), Mali-T860MP2 GPU
- 3GB of RAM
- 32GB internal storage, Expandable
- 13MP camera, f/2.0 aperture, two-tone LED flash, 1080p videos
- 8MP front-facing camera
- Home button with a fingerprint scanner
- 5000 mAh battery, fast charging
- Android Nougat based Zen UI 3.0
- Dual SIM (Hybrid), 4G VoLTE support
- Price: Approx. 14,200 INR
Design and Build
The Zenfone 3s Max design still doesn’t feel stale. It’s primarily marked by a 2.5D glass on the front and a metallic rear. Unlike the conventional template, Asus has reduced plastic trimmings on the back to one, placed on the bottom and that makes it look neat.
The fingerprint sensor is positioned on the front clubbed with the home button. The power button and volume rocker have good travel.
The phone is quite comfortable to handle, thanks to its compact form factor and rounded matte-finish back, and is also very durable. This is an even bigger achievement when you consider that the phone houses a massive 5000mAh battery inside. We have been using it without a case, and even dropped it from waist height once.The phone survived unharmed and still manages to retain its pristine condition.
Asus is using a 5.2-inch display with 720p HD resolution. The HD resolution isn’t super sharp but we got accustomed to it in no time. Yes, you can get several capable full HD phones in this budget, but the one on Asus is certainly not a deal breaker.
It’s bright enough for occasional outdoor usage, Colors and dynamic range are quite decent and viewing angles are wide. The display also has an oleophobic coating on top. We would recommend that you use a tempered glass for protection against scratches.
Camera and Imaging
The 13MP rear camera has f/2.0 aperture optics and is paired with dual tone flash. The camera performance has remained more or less consistent over the weeks. But yes, it’s now challenged by more rivals including the Moto G5 Plus.
The camera gets the job done, but isn’t the best camera in its class. In good lighting, you can capture vibrant shots, but in low lighting dynamic range and details suffer. The camera software over-sharpens the image to avoid noise, which can result in flat images in indoor lighting.
The Selfie camera does an average job too. A good thing about the camera is the presence of numerous shooting modes, including a pro mode. We found ourselves using these quite often.
Performance and Software
The Zenfone 3s Max is powered by MT6750 chipset paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The chipset is best suited for basic and moderate users. The good part is that the performance has remained consistent over the last few months, even when the App overhead has consistently increased. The bad part is that it wasn’t class leading, to begin with.
You can get through day-to-day usage rather conveniently. We didn’t face many issues with the multi-tasking either. But with heavy gaming performance, gaps begin to show up.
Being based on Android Nougat, the software on the handset was already future proof and we also received one stability and bug fix update later. The Zen UI skin is rich in features and customization options but it takes some time getting used to the interface. Once you are accustomed to it, you will find it to be quite intuitive.
The fingerprint sensor on the handset is reliable and accurate. Audio quality is pretty good and the speakers are also very loud.
Battery backup, Price, and Verdict
The 5000mAh battery still is its biggest strength. To not worry about losing charge mid-day is an unmatched luxury, and once experienced, it’s hard to go back. We need to charge it once in every two days even with heavy usage. The battery also supports reverse charging.
After receiving the first few price cuts, the Zenfone 3s Max is now selling for about approx. 14,000 INR. And its beefy battery still manages to keep it relevant in today’s market. It’s a good looking phone that offers awesome battery backup. And those are the reasons for why basic and moderate users can consider buying it.