Last year, ASUS has launched Zenfone Max Pro M1, which made a lot of noise and also gave the Taiwanese a much-needed comeback, and perhaps also showed the potential mid-range segment dominated by Xiaomi. Well, continuing the momentum, ASUS has launched the successor to the last year’s Max Pro M1- ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2.
The overhead view of this phone is that it has got a big upgrade and marginal design tweaks from its predecessor. It’s been over two months since it launched. So, here’s our Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 review.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: In-Box Contents
- ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 smartphone in Blue color
- 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
- Micro USB cable
- Clear Protective case
- SIM Ejector Tool
- User manual and warranty information
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Build
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with a plastic build, apparently making it a lightweight device, precisely 5 grams lighter than the predecessor. Not just that, the 3D glass-like finish with wave design that reflects light when hit at different angles gives it a premium look.
At the front, the notch houses the 13-megapixel front camera, LED flash, the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors as well as a notification LED that glows in green and red colors. The earpiece is present on the edge of the bezel. Even though the phone uses on-screen buttons, there is a small chin below the display.
Coming to buttons and ports, the power button and the volume rockers are present on the right, dedicated Dual SIM and microSD slots, arranged in a single tray is present on the left, 3.5mm audio jack, primary microphone, micro USB port, and the loudspeaker grill are present on the bottom, while the secondary microphone is present on the top.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Design
The new generation comes with a slight design change from the last generation. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 brings a new glass-like design with “dynamic optical finish” which yields a great visual appeal, but the downside of this is that the phone is prone to scratches, and glossy back is stretched with smudges all the time.
That said, we cannot deny that the phone looks and feels premium in hand, thanks to the tapered edges and the gorgeous Blue metal finish the phone comes in. The phone is pretty lightweight, which you generally don’t see for a smartphone packing 5000mAh battery.
Design Changes From Zenfone Max Pro M1
A look from the back? well, it is hard to judge whether the hone is Zenfone Max Pro M1 or M2. Turn it around, you see a notch on one (you know which is the latest iteration). Apart from that, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is lighter than the M1.
Furthermore, the 3.5mm audio jack came to the top side, from the bottom end of Zenfone Max Pro M1 (which is ideal, at least for me). The M2 comes with a plastic back, compared to the metal back on the M1. Well, compared to the minor exterior changes, internal changes in the Zenfone Max Pro M2 are huge.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Display
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 features a 6.23-inch Full HD+ LCD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels, a pixel density of 403 PPI, 19:9 aspect ratio with a notch and a screen-to-body ratio of about 82%. This is the cheapest smartphone in the market with the latest Gorilla Glass 6 protection.
Well, the display is bright, lively and vibrant apparently offering good color reproduction, great viewing angles, and the sunlight legibility was excellent as well, thanks to 94% NTSC color gamut. Coming to the drawback, the wide notch on the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is wide and there’s no option to hide it, which was felt hard, as (due to some bug maybe) the Bluetooth notification was present all the time, even after turning it off. Overall the display is excellent.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Camera
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 sports a 12-megapixel rear camera with LED Flash, Sony IMX486 sensor, PDAF, 1.25μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture along with a secondary 5-megapixel camera to capture the depth information for portrait shots. Well, at the front, it has a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with a soft LED flash and f/2.0 aperture.
Alright, before we get into the camera quality and features, let’s start off with camera UI. The UI has not really changed, it is still the old fashioned, confusing and overstuffed. The shutter button is on the right, option to switch to a video camera, an option to toggle between the camera, preview window, and different scene modes. On the left, you see settings menu, option to enable portrait mode, Beautify, flash toggle and an option to choose different camera modes. For some reason, our Photos app crashed every time we opened it (bug maybe).
Coming to the image quality, the daylight shots were good, even HDR shots were good too with ample sharpness and saturation, however, the macro shot was just decent. The dual camera shots weren’t the best lacking the overall sharpness but were decent with saturation and even the edges were detected perfectly.
Talking about the low-light shots had a good amount of noise, but using night mode has reduced the noise a tad bit making the image look better. At the front, the images came out to be decent, with saturation exaggeration (sometimes) without tampering the overall exposure.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 can record up to 4K videos at up to 30fps, but only EIS is available for 1080p videos. The video quality was good, and the audio is crisp since it has a secondary microphone. The phone lacked features like slo-mo, time-lapse and more. But overall, in the camera department, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 performed good, if not decent.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Performance
The ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 is the same as Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in terms of specifications. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 is powered by the top-of-the-line mid-range Snapdragon 660 processor and has RAM variants up to 6GB, however, we got a 3GB RAM variant as the review unit.
Well, on a day to day usage, the performance was smooth and pleasant. We haven’t encountered any lag or hiccup while using it for a long time. Not just that, the Snapdragon 660 was powerful enough to take some graphics intense games including PUBG and Asphalt. Moreover, we did not face any severe heating issues after playing for a long time.
On Geekbench single and multi-core tests, the Max Pro M2 scored 1477 and 5362, both marginally higher than the Vivo V11 Pro. However, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 failed to beat the Honor 8X in performance benchmarks.
Apart from that, out of 3GB RAM, you get 2.7GB of usable RAM, out of which 1.1GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. And out of 32GB of internal storage, you get 22GB of usable storage.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Software, UI, and Apps
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 runs on stock Android 8.1 Oreo with Android Security patch for October 2018 update. The company has promised to roll out Android 9.0 Pie update soon, we haven’t received it yet. As this runs on stock Android there are no features expected from it, but the company has added ZenMotion gestures that lets you enable double-tap to turn off or wake up the screen.
Well, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with the usual set of utility and Google apps, the phone comes with Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger apps that cannot be uninstalled, although, you can disable it.
Fingerprint Sensor And Face Unlock
The phone comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner on the back, which worked really well, although not with watery fingers. You can add up to 5 fingerprints, but unlike many other stock Android smartphones, you cannot use it to bring down the notification panel.
Along with fingerprint sensor, there’s also a Face unlock feature, that lets you unlock the phone quickly. How it performed? well, it was mediocre as it requires a good amount of lighting to work and is less secure compared to fingerprint.
No surprise, as the phone runs on stock Android, the Google Play Music is the default music player for playback. The Max Pro M2 support FM Radio and the 5-magnet speaker on the bottom of the phone are pretty loud and clear, very much like its predecessor. The audio through the headset is good, thanks to the NXP Smart Amp.
It supports 4G VoLTE as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE and GPS. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Coming to the call quality, it was good and we did not face any call drops and earpiece volume was loud as well.
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2: Battery Life
It is powered by 5000mAh battery, same as the predecessor. Under the heavy usage, it can last for 1.5 days, so, under casual usage, it should last more than 2 days. Not just that, it also has in-built power saving mode which can technically increase the battery life.
At the downside though, the phone doesn’t have fast charging and uses micro USB. Well, that reflects in its charging time, it took about 2 hours and 40 minutes to charge from 0 to 100% with the bundled charger, and 0 to 50% took about 50 minutes.
- Great display
- Amazing battery life
- Good performance
- Decent rear cameras
- No USB-C port
- No fast charging
- Cluttery camera UI
Pricing And Verdict
Starting at Rs 11,999 in India, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a pretty good upgrade to its predecessor Max Pro M1, in terms of design, performance, and (silently) camera. Although the phone misses the USB-C port, fast charging, and other added features, it delivers what is promised.
So, if you’re looking for a smartphone with good battery life and exponential aligned performance, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a great choice. The phone stands straight against the Realme 2 Pro and Redmi Note 6 Pro and perhaps will enjoy the stock Android advantage over its rivals.