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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro review: Long live the #BatteryKing

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The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro is the company’s latest smartphone under the Max brand. Priced at PHP9,995, the #BatteryKing pairs the Snapdragon 636 with a large 5,000 mAh battery.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro is all about battery life. Previous Max iterations have tried to maximize this by pairing efficient entry-level processors with huge batteries.

This time around, ASUS may have found the perfect pairing of performance and efficiency by combining a Snapdragon 636 with a 5,000 mAh battery. The results? A long lasting workhorse.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

Before we go any further, here’s the ZenFone Max Pro’s specs at a glance:

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 specs:

  • 6-inch Full HD+ IPS Display (2160 x 1080, 402 ppi)
  • 18:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Processor
  • Adreno 509 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB Storage +microSD up to 400GB (Triple Slot)
  • 13MP (f/2.2) + 5MP (f/2.4) Dual Rear Camera, PDAF, LED Flash (3GB/4GB RAM Model)
  • 8MP Front Camera
  • Dual Nano SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth v4.2, LE, A2DP
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • FM Radio, Micro USB
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Dimensions: 6.26 x 2.99 x 0.33 in, 180 g
  • 5,000 mAh Battery

Design and Build

The ZenFone Max Pro features a premium and minimalist design thanks to its clean and curvy aesthetics. The phone has a smooth ergonomics that keeps it sleek and slim. From the start, its not hard to imagine this to be the one of ASUS’ more beautiful devices.

ASUS managed to keep the phone within a reasonable size and was able to fit a 6-inch display on a 5.5-inch body. This gave it a taller, slimmer appearance. It felt good in the hand and it was very comfortable to hold.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

Regarding the phone’s construction, ASUS went with a different approach. Its frame is made of a plastic polycarbonate material, while the back panel is made of metal. Despite the odd choice, though, the phone felt great. It was well built, and more resistant to fingerprints to boot.

Let’s take a quick tour around the device. The front is mostly display with no branding. The earpiece, cameras and sensors are on its usual places. The side bezels are thin, but the top and bottom ones aren’t. Most will probably gripe about this, but not me. I like how it looks.

The right side is where you’ll find the power button and volume rockers. Depending on how you’re going to hold it, the power button is within easy reach by the forefinger or thumb.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

The volume rocker, however, sits too high. More often than not, I had to adjust how I hold the phone just to change the volume with one hand.

The left side houses the SIM tray with the microSD card slot.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

The bottom side has the 3.5mm audio jack, the microphone, the micro USB slot, and the speakers. There’s another mic hole at the top.

The speakers, by the way, sound good. It can get loud too.

At the back, you have the dual cameras in a vertical arrangement, the LED flash, and the fingerprint scanner with ASUS’ branding just below it.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

Display and UI

The ZenFone Max Pro comes with a 6-inch full HD+ display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, a 2160 x 1080 resolution, and a pixel density of 402 ppi.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

The display have good color contrast and saturation. It is bright and sharp with a pleasing to look at. I dare say that this is one of the better displays at this price point. In fact, I think it’s even better than more expensive devices.

As for the UI, the phone thankfully came with stock Android Oreo. It is clean and it looks great. And with regards to updates, ASUS may not be the fastest but they deliver.

Aside from the usual Google apps, you also get an FM Radio, ASUS’ Calculator app, and the MyASUS support service app.

Performance and Benchmarks

The handset sports an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, an Adreno 509 GPU, and 3GB RAM.

The phone is fast and responsive. Basic navigation is a pleasant experience. UI animations are snappy and butter smooth.

In gaming, the ZenFone Max Pro can play most of the popular games without any real problems. It can handle graphics pretty well too.

The phone did good on benchmarks. Here are the results:

  • AnTuTu – 114,134
  • Geekbench – 1331 (Single), 4846 (Multi)
  • 3D Mark Slingshot Extreme- 4,695 (Open GL), 3,738 (Vulkan)

Connectivity

The ZenFone Max Pro features a dual SIM slot, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.2, and the usual set of GPS support. It comes with a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, a compass, and an ambient light sensor.

Call quality is clear with no connectivity issues or interruptions. This is a basic phone function after all so I’m not expecting any letdowns at this point.

Security

The phone has a rear mounted fingerprint sensor. It is fast and seamless as it should.

The phone also supports face recognition or face unlock. Sad to say, performance was a bit spotty. It feels like it’s a half second slower than competition’s, and it sometimes have a hard time recognizing my face in low light conditions.

Personally, though, it’s not a big issue for me as I do not use face unlock.

Cameras

The ZenFone Max Pro sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP (f/2.2) + 5MP (f/2.4), and an 8MP selfie shooter. It has the following presets: Auto, HDR, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Flowers, Backlight, Candlelight, Sunset, Night, Beach, and Snow.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

The rear cameras produce pleasant photos with good colors and sharpness. I experienced minor issues with the autofocus, but nothing too serious. Images have a file size of 3MB to 6MB.

Low light shots are a mixed bag. It’s noisy and grainy, but otherwise not a problem if it’s just for social media.
The front camera is also lacking. Selfies are soft and colors are muted. For the price though, I can’t complain.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review ASUS ZenFone Max Pro Review

Battery Life

True to the Max name, the ZenFone Max Pro is equipped with a monstrous 5,000 mAh battery with support for fast charging.

With moderate to heavy use of social media, YouTube, some games, and the occasional browsing, I managed to squeeze in up to 2 days of use. I actually never worried about battery life when I’m out and about.

The phone charges from 0 to 100% in just under 3 hours. I know it’s a long time, but you have to consider the large 5,000 mAh battery.

Conclusion

Of all of ASUS’ smartphones right now, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro is the one to have. It is one of the most underrated and under appreciated devices.

The ZenFone Max Pro has the good looks to go with some hard-to-resist features. Considering the price, you get a long 2-day battery life, good performance, a snappy UI, a large display, and an above average rear camera. The fact that it comes with a stock version of Android Oreo should be enough to convince you to get one.

What more can you ask for PHP9,995.

For those who want more, a 4GB/64 GB variant is also available for PHP12,995

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