Sheldon PintoMay 24, 2016 13:23:08 IST
Asus recently launched an updated version of its Zenfone Max smartphone. The device has been priced at Rs 9,999 for the 2GB RAM version that comes with 32GB of internal storage and there's also a 3GB RAM variant that again sports 32GB of internal storage. This is the same Zenfone Max that was launched earlier this year with a large 5000mAh battery and that 5.5-inch display, but thanks to the upgraded internals, things have gotten a lot more interesting, especially when you factor in the price tag.
Build and Design
The new Asus Zenfone Max showcases the same design that we have seen in the past model which was launched back in January. The new smartphone features the same plastic construction and the textured rubber back cover that can be opened to reveal the non-removable 5000mAh battery and access to the SIM cards and microSD card slots. The handset weighs a hefty 202 grams (which seems alright, considering its larger than usual battery) and measures 77.5 x 156 x 10.55 mm.
Although the smartphone is built entirely out of plastic, the rubberised back gives it a quality look and feel and the handset's weight adds to this impression. While the frame appears to be made of metal (it's not) it clearly fails to give you that impression when held up close. But we really liked the quality and texture of the volume and power/unlock buttons that sit on the right side.
The 3.5mm jack sits on the top side, while the micro USB port sits at the bottom end along with the primary mic. The secondary mic sits on the back above the camera unit. The camera module also includes a laser autofocus system as a part of its setup.
While the new Zenfone Max goes big on everything, it does pack in a big 5.5-inch display as well. But the TFT LCD (IPS) display sports a really low resolution of 1280x720 pixels, which failed to make a good first impression due to its low pixel density. On the other hand, the display seemed bright enough indoors, but we will be able to give our final verdict on the same in our full review.
Chipset, RAM, Connectivity
The new Asus Zenfone Max's refreshed hardware bits are indeed the highlight of the smartphone. We get a tried and tested mid-range chipset in the form of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (octa-core) that is now paired with either 2GB RAM or 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Our review unit is the 2GB RAM version and the smartphone features a microSD card slot and supports memory cards of up to 64GB. We are expecting a tiny bump in performance benchmarks compared to the older Zenfone Max, but at the same time we cannot expect too much as Snapdragon 615 is an older chipset from Qualcomm's 600 series.
Coming to connectivity options, the device features 3G and 4G LTE bands, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0 and GPS GLONASS.
OS, Battery, Camera
The updated smartphone runs the Asus ZenUI along with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow as the base, which will win it some brownie points in our full review. The software seemed fairly smooth with no hiccups even though it came with the usual bloatware that we are used to seeing on Asus Zenfones.
The battery is a massive 5000mAh non-removable unit. This is where we can expect the device to really perform. And this is believable considering that it was switched on 13 days ago and the smartphone with 33 percent battery still indicates 13 days of usage left! We will be testing these claims in our battery life tests.
With the focus on battery life, we did not expect much from the camera. But Asus has included a 13MP rear camera with a dual tone LED flash and laser autofocus assist, so this is something we would definitely be looking into in our full review. The camera also features a 5MP front facing sensor for selfies.
With the given price tag, it is indeed hard to argue that Asus Zenfone Max with its upgraded internal hardware makes for a great value for money proposition. But for now this is only on paper and extensive testing in our upcoming full review will tell where it stands amongst the many "max"-branded smartphones out there and even others like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 that fall into the same price bracket.
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