ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

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ASUS’ naming conventions aren’t what you’d really call standard, and it’s just so confusing with the huge number of smartphone products in its portfolio. We’re not going to lie, there were some difficulties in googling specific things with this thing. But anyway, don’t let that dissuade you from the ZenFone Max Pro. Because we’re here to take a closer look at what it has to offer.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Display6.0-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 2160 x 1080 resolution
ChipsetQualcomm SDM636 Snapdragon 636
CPUOcta-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260 CPU
GPUAdreno 509
RAM3GB/4GB
ROM32GB/64GB
Primary Camera13 MP, f/2.2, 25mm, 1.12µm, PDAF + 5 MP, f/2.4, 1.12µm, depth sensor
16MP + 5MP for the 4GB variant
Secondary Camera8 MP, f/2.2, 26mm, 1.0µm
Battery5,000mAh (non-removable)
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
ConnectivityWi-Fi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
SensorsFingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity, compass, gyroscope, ambient light sensor
Weight180g
PricePhp9,995 for the 3GB variant, Php13995 for the 4GB variant

PACKAGING


We like things when they’re packed neat. We find them so appealing when they’re neatly presented from the get-go. Classy, if you will. ASUS goes for a more minimalist approach with the packaging on the Zenfone Max Pro, and it’s set to catch your attention if you have an affinity for such things.

When it comes to inclusions, ASUS wants to keep you prepared for the road, and we’re not really talking about its hefty battery life. We’ll get to that in a bit. Anyway, ASUS is throwing in a case in the package to help you alleviate your stress when it comes to searching for one online. Although, a tempered glass or even a screen film protector would have also been nice. Moving forward, the standard affair is all there – paperwork for terms and warranty, a 2A charger, microUSB cable, a SIM eject pin, headset, and an extra set of earbuds.

DESIGN


ASUS is bound to make design changes every now and then, and with the Max Pro, it’s a big step forward. It’s truly modern, so to speak. It’s not all screen time per se, but screen-to-body ratio is pushed further the fold, leaving with more screen size and aspect ratio for ASUS to work with. You get a 6-inch 18:9 display that melds nicely to its body through its 2.5D curved glass. Thankfully, it’s not a part of the notch flock.


ASUS also continues to put the fingerprint sensor on the back – there’s not much physical action up front, even the company’s logo is absent there. And this is what we find appealing for us most of the time. The dual camera is set up vertically up top left, while the flash sits below it. The speaker setup is also located below the device beside the microUSB port, opposite to the microphone and headphone jack. We’re not really sure why ASUS didn’t go with a USB Type-C port, but hey, at least we still have a headphone jack.


ASUS’ choice for the materials used in the Max Pro is a tad weird, however. It does come with an aluminum mid-frame and a metallic panel at the back, but odds are the frame of the phone is made out of plastic. It’s not as tacky as it sounds, though. It looks quite as premium, and it feels good to the touch, too.

Moving forward, the power and the volume buttons are situated at the right side of the phone, while the SIM card slots are on the other end. Oh, fun thing about it is it makes room for dedicated microSD card slot, so you don’t have to sacrifice a second SIM card for additional storage.

DISPLAY


We have plenty of love to give with the Max Pro’s smexy display. As mentioned, we’re dealing with a 6-incher that’s complete with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a sweet 2160 x 1080 resolution. The contrast levels are quite exceptional, and its brightness levels are also wonderful that you won’t have any problems when using your phone even under the sun. Colors also do pop up and are quite vibrant, which is easily pleasing to my eyes if I do say so myself.

PERFORMANCE


The Max Pro packs some serious punch with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 under its hood. Basically, you’re dealing with an Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260 CPU and Adreno 509 GPU. You’re also given two memory configurations 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB. What we have is the former, by the by.

The level of gaming performance on the Max Pro is where we expected it to be. Not purely anecdotal, as we also have the benchies to back it up. Do check them below.


CAMERA


There’s no easy way to say this, so let’s get right on to it. The camera performance of the Max Pro is quite decent for its price. The only thing marring its quality is the software. To go into details, the duo 13MP + 5MP camera do a pretty great job in good lighting, giving crisp and fine details, with vibrant colors and good contrast. Lowlight image quality does sink a bit in with noise and the colors getting a bit paler, but still usable and workable photos nonetheless.

Daylight Photo

Daylight Photo with HDR

Depth of Field

Night Shot

Night Shot with HDR

Video mode on the other hand offers quite a surprise. It comes with 4K DCI recording capabilities. And a little bit of Google-Fu indicates that it’s the dominant 4K standard when it comes to movie projection, and it’s also what professional video cameras use. Check the video sample below.


BATTERY LIFE



The Max Pro is nothing if we’re not going to discuss its battery life. It is ASUS’ prime offering when it comes to longevity. You’re working with a 5,000mAh battery for your endurance run. And paired with a very efficient chipset, you’re up for a marathon here. You can easily squeeze that to two days and over worth of usage, which is by far a go-getter compared to smartphones that claim flagship title with only a day, or even less to live before you charge it up for the next round.


ASUS does claim you can charge the 5000mAh battery from 0 to full tank in less than 3 hours through its 2A charger. Flash charging, as they call it. However, that time alone is quite lengthy, but given the hefty amount of battery it has, this is to be expected. On that regard, ASUS should have employed a Type-C and a wall charger with a higher voltage and/or current. But again, the company may have imposed some safety limits on the phone to keep it safe.

Also, do note that your mileage may vary, as there are a lot to consider when it comes to battery life. 

CONCLUSION

ASUS attempts to win big in an already saturated budget market that’s occupied with the likes of Chinese companies, with each sporting their own unique features and traits. With that said, ASUS is going in with an ace up its sleeve – the ZenFone Max Pro boasts some serious value for your money for what it has to offer. The user experience and performance are quite smooth all thanks to its modern hardware, the camera, despite having some software kinks to iron out, is definitely a performer, and the huge display in that form factor is just so gorgeous. Oh, and did we mention it has a 5,000mAh battery that can last you for a while?

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