ASUS ZenFone Max M2 Review

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We believe the midrange segment is the most cutthroat of the competitions, as plenty of consumers go for something that gives them the most value for their hard earned moolah. What a savings. And as the big leagues vie for glory and your wallets, it just gets more intense. ASUS wants to go in for the kill as it shoots straight with its new ZenFone Max M2 – a no-frills ready to take on the league with a massive battery, eye-candy display, and a nice hardware sheet to go along with it.

Technical Specifications:
Display 6.3-inch HD+ (1520 by 720) IPS display, 88% screen-to-body ratio
CPU Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 632 Mobile Platform with 14nm, 64-bit Octa-core Processor
GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ 506
RAM LPDDR3 3GB / 4GB
ROM eMCP 32GB / 64GB, expandable up to 2TB via microSD card slot
Primary Camera 13MP F1.8 aperture, Phase-detection autofocus, 2MP depth-sensing camera, LED flash
Secondary Camera 8MP F2.0 aperture
Battery  4000mAh with fast charging
OS Stock Android 8.1 Oreo
Network GSM, WCDMA, FDD-LTE, TDD-LTE
Sensors Rear fingerprint sensor (0.3 seconds unlock, supports 5 fingerprints), Accelerator, E-Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
Weight 160g
Colors Midnight Black, Space Blue
Price PHP 8,995.00


PACKAGING


The ZenFones we’ve encountered of late are pretty much equipped with all the essentials to get you through the day, and the ZenFone Max M2 is no different. Aside from the usual paperwork, headset, power adapter, and a microUSB cable, there’s also a transparent soft case for a layer of protection. Not the classiest of cases, we know. But it does its job.


Those are all packed inside a box you may mistaken for the Max Pro M2. Yeah, we know. ASUS does have quite a confusing gig when it comes to naming conventions but we’re getting the hang of it, not sure if the same case applies to everyone.

DESIGN

If our memory serves, this is what the ZenFone Max Pro kinda looks like, the back panel at least. The ZenFone Max M2 does retain its aluminum unibody. It feels and looks sturdy, not to mention how aesthetically pleasing it looks.

At the bottom, there’s the microUSB port and the speaker grille. We’re still thinking why ASUS didn’t implement USB Type C here. Not exactly a dealbreaker, but it would have been a welcomed addition.

There’s also a lone headphone jack at the top. 

The volume rocker and the power button are both on the upper right side of the phone, while at the opposite end is the SIM card/microSD card tray. The latter can house two SIM cards and a microSD card slot, the ZenFone Max M2 won't have any of that hybrid stuff going on.

The front end on the other hand receives the notch treatment, and on it are the front facing camera, the earpiece, sensors, and a front-facing flash.

DISPLAY

720p at this day and age? You don't say? The ZenFone Max M2 features a 6.3-inch display with quite a low 720 x 1520 resolution. It's not exactly that low for what it is. But for today's standards and in this segment, you'll find it lacking quite a bit. For reference, The ZenFone Max Pro that we've reviewed before had a better resolution at 1080 x 2160. And that costs just around the same price.

On the bright side, the 6.3-inch display is nothing to scoff at. It's quite large, and that 88% screen-to-body ratio means better handling with smaller footprint. It's nice for playing games and watching Netflix.

PERFORMANCE

The ZenFone Max M2 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It also ships with stock Android 8.1 Oreo. The user-interface is quite intuitive, and gaming experience is great as well.


CAMERA

The ZenFone Max M2 features a dual camera setup with its 13MP + 2MP depth sensing combo. It looks promising on paper but it has a couple of downsides unfortunately. It takes a bit of time to focus, and the UI comes off as slow from time to time. Worse, details are quite lost especially on landscape shots. On the other hand, close up photography in good lighting conditions work as well.

HEXMOJO - ASUS ZENFONE MAX M2 CAMERA
The depth effect also has some kinks it has to iron out. The edges of objects you're focusing on doesn't feel natural and defined, so your best bet is to just leave it off.

SPEAKER

The ZenFone Max M2 features a 5-magnet speaker setup with metal voice coil and NXP low distortion smart amplifier. It's quite loud, and you won't need to push the volume on full to hear the sounds properly. Although, the audio quality suffers a bit with crackles when you crank up the volume.

BATTERY LIFE


ASUS' ZenFone Battery Kings lineup never fails to impress us when it comes to battery life. at 4,000mAh, the ZenFone Max M2 does a pretty good job in our endurance runs. Mixed to heavy usage (that's mainly social media, calls, and games like PUBG) gave us over two days of fun time. Just to note, our setup has Wi-Fi on,


CONCLUSION

There's a lot to question about ASUS' ZenFone Max M2. While performance is indeed stellar for its price, the screen resolution and mediocre camera leaves plenty to be desired. However, make no mistake, the ZenFone Max M2 has plenty of things going for it than can give you huge value for your money. We may be contradicting ourselves when we say the low resolution is a bad thing, but 720p is still acceptable. Its screen-to-body ratio is definitely deserving of praise, especially at this price point. Pair that up with Netflix or your preferred games and it's easily a recipe for a great experience.

ASUS is also in direct competition in itself when you compare it with the Max Pro (M1) (ASUS_X00TD), which sports the same pricing based on the listings we've seen. That comes with a 6-inch FHD+ display, a bigger battery, and by the numbers a better performing chipset. It also doesn't come with a notch.

On its own, the ZenFone Max M2 at Php8,995 is a great all-around smartphone that covers the essentials. Its performance is definitely where it should be, and its battery life is set to deliver. But as it stands, ASUS' very own Max Pro M1 looks to offer a better value.

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