Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 : Good phone at great price

Asus has launched Max Pro M1 last year with impressive hardware with stock Android which was a direct competition to Redmi Note 5 Pro at the time. This time Asus seems to have upgraded some hardware along with retaining stock android. Let us see how this device fares.

Good design

Hardware Specifications

Following is the hardware specification for Zenfone Max Pro M2:

  • Snapdragon 660, Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260), Adreno 512 GPU
  • 6.26-inch IPS LCD Display with 2280 X 1080 (Full HD+) Resolution
  • Gorilla Glass 6 for protection
  • 3/4/6GB RAM, 32/64GB Storage, micro SD (dedicated slot) extension up to 2TB
  • 12(f/1.8)MP + 5 MP Dual rear cameras with LED Flash
  • 13(f/2.0)MP front camera
  • 2 Mics for Directional Audio Recording
  • 2G/3G/4G-VoLTE dual nano-SIM
  • 5000mAh Battery

Form Factor

The device looks modern and feels great to hold. The measurements stand at 157.9 X 75.5 X 8.5 (in mm). The phone is quite big and the entire screen would not be reachable in one hand for people who don’t have large hands. The aspect ratio is 19:9, which makes the phone long and is not apt for operating with one hand.

There is a notch to get maximum area for the screen. The notch is little wider than the one in Realme 2 Pro. The design of the device is great. The phone has a 2nd transparent layer on the back. The rear cameras are placed on the top-left side of the backside, one beside the other in a single housing, and protrude a bit, not as much as to make anyone uncomfortable in the pocket. The LED flash sits beside the camera housing. The fingerprint sensor sits in the center of the backside, towards the top.

On the bottom side of the phone, we have a speaker grille on the right, micro-USB connector in the middle, a mic and a headphone jack towards the left. On the left side of the phone, you have the SIM tray, where you can insert 2 SIM cards AND a micro-SD card. Good on Asus to have a dedicated slot for micro-SD expansion. Power and the volume buttons are in the right side towards the top from midway. The top side has a solitary mic which we think would be used while recording audio for the videos. The front camera, flash and proximity sensor is placed in the notch area, and also a speaker for the voice calls is housed behind the notch.

Interface

It comes with stock Android Oreo 8.1. This is a great decision on Asus’s part since their ZenUI is much better and lighter than it used to be earlier, it still is not as good as stock. You still get some bundled apps like sound recorder and FM Radio, which is not much as to irritate. You can’t uninstall them, nor can you disable them.Overall, this is a great, clean Android experience at this price point. You can expect a software update to Android Pie in near future.

The fingerprint sensor is fast and unlocks the phone in a fraction of a second. And surprisingly, the face unlock works really well in this device (in this price-point and segment), similar to Realme 2 Pro. It also managed to unlock in dim-lit and indoor ambient lights without any problems.

Media

Watching videos in this phone is a good experience, owing to the wide aspect ratio of the phone.The display is crisp and makes it for a good watch. It is capable of playing 4K videos due to the processor used. Audio quality is also good and you would enjoy listening to your music. There are some audio settings which you can tweak around in the settings once you have connected your earphones. There is a single speaker which can be used as a speakerphone or for music/video. The sound quality of this speaker is decent. There are no earphones bundled with the device, so you’ll have to get one yourselves.

Connectivity

Zenfone Max Pro M2 supports EDGE, 3G or 4G (with VoLTE) data connection speeds. Wi-Fi (dual band) support is also there and so is Bluetooth 5.0 for data transfer, it can also act as your personal Wi-Fi hotspot with the internet sharing feature, allowing you to tether other devices. Wi-Fi is also useful for sharing via DLNA. It also comes with dual VoLTE support. Bluetooth protocols like LE, A2DP. For location services, the device supports GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou. Also, for data transfers, the device has a micro-USB connector. We would have desired a USBC-type connector instead. Asus has missed out on NFC, not that we are complaining, but it would have been good to have.

Camera

Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with a 12 MP (f/1.8) main camera and a 5 MP secondary lens for depth sensing in the back. There are few modes like Portrait, Auto, Night and HDR which is self-explanatory. There is also a Pro mode where in you can control all the settings manually, like shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure and also gives an option to manually control the focus of the main camera. The camera does have EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) and stabilizes a bit, but it is no match for hardware based OIS. The camera takes great photos in daylight and decent photos in low light. The portrait mode works well and you get good looking photos here. And HDR leaves a lot to be desired.

Video recording allows for capturing in 4K, 1080p & 720p resolutions. But you lose out theEIS when you record videos at 4K. The stabilization is quite good when recording at 1080p, and you can clearly see the effect of stabilization. The level of detailing is good in recordings, 2 mics provided for stereo audiorecording do a good job at capturing the surrounding sounds properly. It has a camera on the front to take selfie shots. It is a 13 MP f/2.0 lens with a flash too. The selfie shots look good and takes good pictures. Indoor and low light shots are good, owing to the flash at the front. Below are some samples from the camera.

Battery

Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 5000 mAh high capacity battery, which lasts easily more than 2 days on moderate usage, which is really great for a smartphone. With heavy usage it will still make it through a day and half. There is a power saving mode which will limit the background app activities, disables email auto-sync and reduces visual effects. Also, there is a fast charger provided with the phone which supposedly charges the phone faster, but it’s not as fast as the competition. It took around almost 2 hours for a full charge from 0 to 100%. The battery life is very good, but charging speed is not that great, but you can live with it considering the battery life the device offers.

Price & Verdict

Asus Zenfone Max ProM2 has been launched at ₹ 12,999 (3 GB RAM, 32 GB Storage). It is also available in 4GB/64GB for ₹ 14,999 and 6GB/64GB for ₹ 16,999. We had the 4GB/64GBvariant as our review device. At this price, it gives great value in terms of design, camera and performance. It goes up against the likes of Realme Pro 2, Redmi Note 6 Pro. Be it any variant, Zenfone Max Pro M2 offers a great value proposition for its price. With stock Android and big battery, combined with a good processor, Asus have a winner in their hands. We would easily recommend this over its competitors as of now.

Pros

  • Design, build quality
  • Camera
  • Screen
  • 5000 mAh battery, dedicated micro SD slot
  • Snapdragon 660, performance

Cons

  • No USB C-type, NFC

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