Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 Review – Offers solid performance and will appeal to the purists
Asus started its India journey a few years back with a disruptive set of Zenfones that helped it make inroads in India. Moving forward the company shifted focus to offline channels and premium pricing with the Zenfone 3 models but these models felt overpriced and didn’t gain much traction. In 2018, Asus is making a fresh start and is focusing on giving consumers precisely what they want while keeping the prices aggressive.
The first in a series of Zenfones adhering to the new philosophy is Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 that has been designed to topple Xiaomi’s dominance in the affordable segment. Is the new Zenfone up for the daunting task? Let’s find out in our review.
Design and Build
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is reminiscent of the Redmi Note 5 Pro when it comes to overall look and feel. The 5000mAh battery bloats the phone but it is still quite convenient to handle. Asus doesn’t bundle any protective case in the box and there is no factory installed screen protector on the phone.
The phone feels sturdy in hand and even though it has metal construction and 5000 mAh battery it does not feel heavy. On the front, you will find an 18:9 screen and there are thin bezels around the display. All buttons and ports are where you can easily access them.
The fingerprint sensor is also easily reachable. Overall, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 is not a premium phone but it does have a functional design, is solidly built, and is quite comfortable to handle, especially for a big battery phone.
The Asus Zenfone Max has a 5.99-inch Full HD display. The colors are punchy and contrast is high. We didn’t any trouble using the phone outdoors either. We enjoyed watching multimedia content on the screen and Asus has also added option to zoom YouTube videos to full screen. Overall, the display quality is fairly convincing for the price.
On the rear, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 has two sensors: 13MP + 5MP. The camera app needs a little polishing but we did manage to click decent images. The shots clicked outdoors have balanced metering and ample details. In low light, image quality deteriorates but the performance can still match what other contemporaries offer in this class.
The 8MP selfie camera, however, failed to impress. The selfies, especially those clicked in low light, are missing details and appear over-sharpened and unnatural.
Performance and software
The Snapdragon 636 powering the phone is one of the best chipsets available in this price range. The octa-core chipset has 8 custom Kryo cores clocked at1.8GHz and can render very smooth performance. UI transitions and high-end game run butter smooth. The overall experience is very premium.
We tested the 3GB RAM variant and didn’t face any issue. However, we’d recommend that you consider the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage option for sustained performance in the long run. Both variants come with dedicated microSD card slot. Asus will also launch a 6GB RAM variant with improved cameras very soon.
The software running on the phone is almost pure Android 8.1 Oreo. The UI is very stable and was quite pleasant to use. Asus has also added some extras like Face Unlock.
The Zenfone Max Pro M1 also supports 4G VoLTE on both SIM cards simultaneously. We didn’t face any issue with call quality on the phone. The fingerprint sensor isn’t extremely fast but the performance has improved after the last update. The audio output from the phone is decent enough. Asus also bundles a MaxBox amplifier in the box that makes a noticeable difference.
Battery, price, and verdict
The 5000mAh battery on the phone can last for more than 1.5 days. With the bundled charger you can top up the battery in about 2.5 hours.
The Zenfone Max Pro offers powerful performance, long-lasting battery, and stock Android software. The camera performance isn’t a deal breaker but it is still a week point.
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is priced at Rs. 10,999 for the base 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant and Rs. 12,999 INR for the 4GB RAM/64GB storage option. The 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage option with improved cameras will be available later for Rs. 14,999. At these prices, it is a solid phone for anyone looking for Redmi Note 5 or Redmi Note 5 Pro alternatives.