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ZenFone Max Review: 5,000mAh Monster

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Battery life has always been a major concern for smartphone users. I myself  have tried many tweaks to extend the life of my phone. ASUS saw the problem and decided to come up with an answer for this in the form of the ZenFone Max and its insanely huge 5000mAh battery.

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Before we proceed with the review, keep in mind that the ZenFone Max’s goal is to preserve as much power as possible. Aside from its huge 5000mAh battery, the rest of the phone’s specs all contribute to achieving power preservation. Now, let’s take a quick look at the ZenFone Max’s key specs.

ASUS ZenFone Max key specs:

  • 5.5 inch HD IPS display (1280 x 720; 267 ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • 1.2GHz quad-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
  • Adreno 306
  • 2GB RAM / 16GB storage +microSD card up to 128GB
  • 13MP PixelMaster main camera with f/2.0, laser autofocus, and dual-tone LED flash
  • 5MP front camera with f/2.0 and 85 degrees wide angle
  • Dual micro SIM, dual standby
  • LTE capable, WCDMA
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS,A-GPS
  • Dimensions: 77.5 x 156 x 5.2 – 10.55 mm; 202 g
  • 5000 mAh non-removable battery; can charge other devices (!)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with ZenUI 2.0
  • Color: Osmium Black (leather-like finish); Pure White (eggshell finish)
  • PHP8,499

Design

If you like what ASUS has done with their ZenFone series, then you’ll like this one. The ZenFone Max didn’t fall far from the ZenFone tree. It features same clean lines and curved edges, and it also has the concentric circle embossed chin made famous by the first ZenFone.

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Our test unit is the Osmium Black version. It’s edges are lined with a metallic rose gold finish, giving it a very stylish look and feel. And the back panel is made of a matte, sort of rubbery material with an embossed leather texture. Surprisingly, the combination made it look a lot more expensive than its sticker price.

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To make room for the large battery, ASUS placed the power button and volume rockers on the right side instead of the back. The power button is within easy reach of my thumb, but because of the phone’s size, reaching the volume rockers are a bit of a stretch. The keys are very well made, and has a nice, reassuring feel when pressed.

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Display and Performance

The display and processor is where the ZenFone Max gets most of it’s power savings. It’s 5.5 inch IPS display has a 720p resolution (1280 x 720) with a pixel density of 267 ppi (protected by Gorilla Glass 4). It works in its favor because the processor and GPU do not need to work as hard to render on a large display. Still, it looks good. Colors are punchy, and images and text look crisp and sharp.

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The Max is powered by a 64-bit 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor. It’s not the fastest processor, but it was likely chosen for power conservation. The Snapdragon 410 is very efficient. It has enough power for smooth performance while at the same time uses only small amounts of power. That being said, the phone is butter smooth. Navigating through the UI is a great experience, and the phone zips along fluidly.

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Battery

The 5,000mAh battery is what makes the Max, the Max. And because of that, battery life on this thing is insane. I was able to get more than 3 days of usage with a screen on time of more than 8 hours with mixed medium to heavy usage which mostly consisted of web browsing, YouTube, music, games (NBA Jam, Hearthstone) and camera use. That’s with signals bouncing between H, H+ and LTE. AND if you check my screenshot, there’s still 26 percent of battery left.

One cool feature the Max has is that it can act as a powerbank. The retail package comes with an OTG cable you can attach to a microUSB and charge other devices.

zenfone-max-screenshots-12

Benchmarks

Seeing as the Max has a similar chipset as the ZenFone Laser (you can check out my review of the Laser here), its not surprising that the two have similar Benchmark scores. On AnTuTu Benchmark v6.0.1, it scored 25,283 points. On Geekbench 3, it scored 399 on the single-core and 1,144 on the multi-core. The Max’s scores are a fraction higher probably because it uses a newer and faster type of storage.

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Camera

The Max main camera uses a 13MP PixelMaster sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. It is equipped with a laser autofocus and dual-tone LED flash. The phone produced fairly good images. Details appear sharp and the colors are well saturated. Low light shots are usable, with a fair amount of detail despite the noise.

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The Super Resolution mode is a joy to use, especially if you like macro photography. The phone resamples the image multiple times to create a 51MP image. The results are impressive as more details are captured.

Super Resolution
Super Resolution Mode

Here are some test shots. The images were resized in Photoshop for web with quality set at 55.

zenfone-max-test-photos-1 zenfone-max-test-photos-2 zenfone-max-test-photos-4 zenfone-max-test-photos-8 zenfone-max-test-photos-10 zenfone-max-test-photos-12

Conclusion

The ZenFone Max is highly recommended, especially for those who need a long lasting smartphone. It has a lot to offer for its price. It has a great battery life, a smooth interface, an attractive design and a very capable camera.

The ZenFone Max is now available with a standard retail price of PHP8,499.

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2 Comments

  1. I like this phone. I’m going to buy one. It may not be for high-end gaming but it is okay with regular games and I love the long battery life and the good camera shots. Thanks for the review.

  2. I like this phone. I’m going to buy one. It’s sad that other buyers buy it for the processing power and expect high-end games from it. People who would want to buy this should buy it for its battery and camera, not for games, although generally-speaking, games are playable with it.

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