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Asus Zenfone Max Review: More Power, No Worries

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Smartphone with large batteries are quite rare these days. Yes, there are phones with large batteries but can they give a smooth performance and good camera experience? It’s is indeed rare find those three in one device. Good thing Asus has the Asus Zenfone Max. The 5,000 mAh battery is almost twice the endurance it gives than any smartphone can. So we tested this smartphone on our trip to Cebu and here’s our review.

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Asus Zenfone Max:

  • 1.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • Adreno 306 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD 128GB
  • 5.5-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 720 pixels) 267 ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and dual LED (dual tone) flash
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • 4G/LTE, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 5,000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with ZenUI
  • SRP: P8,495
  • Status: Available in Asus stores and retailers

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HARDWARE AND DESIGN

We are glad to report that Asus finally made the power button more accessible! When we reviewed the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser and the Asus Zenfone Selfie, the only complain we had with their hardware is the power button place at the top. It is such a pain to reach it. With the Asus Zenfone Max, the power button is now located at the right side of the device along with the volume rockers which was located at the back on the Zenfone 2 Laser.

 

Because of this 5,000 mAh battery, expect the device to be heavier than other smartphones. It may be a bother for some girls to carry such a heavy smartphone but if you are always away to an electric socket, the heft won’t bother you.

Overall, we’ve always lauded Asus for making such well built devices. Their “tatak tibay” from their laptop PCs and desktops were all applied on their smartphones and tablets as well.

By the way, the black Asus Zenfone Max is so good looking!

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The black Asus Zenfone Max looks soooo good!
DISPLAY

There some noticeable improvements when it comes to the Zenfone Max’s display. As compared with the Zenfone 2 Laser’s weaker brightness output, The Asus Zenfone Max is surprisingly viewable under direct sunlight which is very much needed while we explore Cebu City. Colors are more accurate, viewing angles are good. It is definitely a better display than its older siblings.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE

Both the Zenfone 2 Laser and Zenfone Max are powered by the same Qualcomm chipset. The Asus Zenfone Max performs extremely well on daily tasks with no lags or hangs. Thanks to the software optimizations Asus made for its in house Zen UI on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Customize it all you want thanks to its theme options and options to change the animation and scrolling effect.

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CAMERA AND VIDEO

Though the marketing focus of the Asus Zenfone Max is its battery, it doesn’t mean it has a crappy camera. To our surprise, both cameras take good photos on well lit areas. But when the light is gone, there are many shooting options like Night Mode, HDR, Low Light Mode and more to make you photos better even in dark places.

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We also recorded a video while in Cebu. Though we are not video experts, we think the video looks okay. It is not as smooth as the likes of the iPhone but it is very tolerable.

Here are the camera samples:

Sample video:

CONNECTIVITY

Calls are very clear with no distortions or issues. We used Globe as a preferred data service while in Cebu and LTE is just superb. WiFi and Bluetooth work fine as well.

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BATTERY

Of course the main star of this review is the battery. We are known for being heavy smartphone users and by the word “heavy” means we use the phone a lot. So, we did a heavy battery test in Cebu. Here’s our battery experience:

January 16, 2015:

  • 5am pulled the Asus Zenfone Max off the plug
  • 5:30 left the house and off to the airport
  • 6:30 arrived the airport
  • 7am checked in the airport
  • 7:30am to 9am – watching You Tube videos and playing Asphalt 8 – battery down to 95%
  • 9am – flight to Cebu. While in the plane just listened to Spotify offline – battery still at 95%
  • 10am arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport
  • 10 to 11:30am – travel to Marriot Hotel Cebu. During that time we take pictures, did some Speed tests, used Google Maps and Waze to determine our exact location and post pictures at our social media – battery down to 90%
  • 12nn Asus launch event – we used the Asus Zenfone Max to take photos and videos – battery down to 87%
  • 3pm – we decided not to join with other bloggers and media at the outdoor activities and decided to walk from the hotel to Ayala Center Cebu and looked for the nearest The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf store. There we decided to work using only the Asus Zenfone Max. We blogged, watched videos, I Want TV, lstening to Spotify, more games, take photos and videos for three straight ours – battery down to 63%
  • 6pm – dinner at the hotel. We used our phone listening to Spotify and watching videos
  • 7pm – Asus event – we used the phone to take pictures and videos.
  • 8:14pm – we checked our Asus Zenfone Max and we still have 45% battery left.
  • 9pm – we headed back to our hotel room and talked to someone via Skype and Facebook video call.
  • 10:30pm – we still have 38% battery left and sleeping time

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Take note that we set the Power Management only to Normal (which means any Power Saving options are turned off) LTE, Location, WiFi and Bluetooth (our Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 is connected with the device) are all turned on.

Upon waking up the next day at 6am, battery remains at 38% despite apps are running in the background. But the problem we had is it takes so long for the Asus Zenfone Max to charge. Apparently, it does not have Asus BoostMaster fast charging technology. We wish that Asus could this feature to the Asus Zenfone Max since the device has a huge battery.

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VERDICT

Finally, a smartphone for the On-The-Go people. These people rely so much on power banks because they can’t stay long while beside an electric socket. Well, you can have have your power banks a rest when you use the Asus Zenfone Max. It indeed last long! Battery is not just the outstanding feature here. Camera is great, display is good, performance is superb. And at only P8,495 this is definitely a steal!