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Last Updated : Feb 15, 2019 06:06 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Asus Zenfone Max 2 review: Performance-driven budget smartphone with excellent battery life

Performance driven smartphone with a stellar battery life.

Binu Panicker @moneycontrolcom

2018 was a great year for Taiwan-based smartphone maker Asus. With the launch of runaway hits such as the flagship killer smartphone Zenfone 5Z, gaming powerhouse ROG phone and budget performer Asus Zenfone Max M1, the company had a solid start in the year. With the launch of Zenfone Max 2 in December, it ended the year the same way it started.

Asus Zenfone Max 2 has been launched in 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB variants and has been priced at Rs 8,999 and Rs 10,999 respectively. At the price point, Zenfone Max 2 competes with the likes of Realme 1, Redmi Note 5, Realme 2, Samsung Galaxy M10, just to name a few.

Here's a review.

Design

asus zenfone max m2 with box

Zenfone Max M2 sports a metallic rear panel bound by a plastic frame. The matte finish on the metal not only gives the device a premium look but it also feels very solid and comfortable in the hand. Another advantage of the matte finish is, the rear panel attracts very few fingerprints, as a result users can spare those bulky-looking back covers.

asus zenfone max m2 back vertical

At the front, Max M2 sports a notch display with a fairly large chin at the bottom. While the left side holds the SIM tray which has slots for two nano-SIM cards and a dedicated slot for microSD card, placed at the right side is the volume rocker and the power key. Meanwhile, the top panel houses the 3.5mm headphone jack and at the bottom there is the microUSB port along with the loudspeaker and mic.

asus zenfone max m2 display

The fingerprint sensor is placed at the rear and is positioned perfectly for the finger to reach and unlock the phone quickly. The dual cameras are positioned vertically on the top left side of the phone above the LED flash. As far as comfort is concerned the device scores high, thanks to its rounded edges and corners.

Display

Zenfone Max M2 sports a 6.3-inch IPS LCD notched-display with 19:9 screen aspect ratio and resolution of 1520 x 720p. Surprisingly, Asus does not incorporate Corning Gorilla Glass protection into Zenfone Max 2, which makes the screen vulnerable to scratches and breaks. Using a good-quality screen guard is highly recommended.

The display tends to be slightly on the warmer side when it comes to colour temperature. However, this can be changed in the display settings. The screen is bright, even in outdoor conditions with deep and punchy colours. Images and videos look sharp, vivid and crispy. However, the lack of a higher resolution panel is felt more often than not. It is also important to note the device could only play Youtube videos at 720p.

Performance

Zenfone Max 2 comes powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor, which is a major overhaul compared to its predecessor Zenfone Max 1, which sports Snapdragon 430 CPU. The CPU, backed by 3GB/4GB RAM, handled most operations thrown at it with ease.

The device did not show any signs of either lagging or heating while multi-tasking or during prolonged sessions of moderate usage, which included calling, browsing and streaming Youtube videos over Wi-Fi.

When it came to heavy gaming, we tested graphically intensive games such as PUBG, Asphalt 9, Sniper 3D on the Max 2. The device ran these games surprisingly smoothly and fluidly, given its modest configuration.

While the device could handle most games at peak settings, games running on high frames-per-second (fps) Asphalt 9 and PUBG had to be run on low settings. But that part can be ignored as we have to once again remember Max 2 is a budget device and not gaming or a flagship smartphone.

Coming to the UI, Max 2 runs on stock Android based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The UI is simple, clean and easy to understand. However, the device does come pre-loaded with third-party software such as Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, etc. Since the smartphone runs on stock Android, Max 2 users will receive Android updates and security patches before its rivals who run on customised Android skins.

Camera

Asus Zenfone Max 2 sports a dual rear-camera setup with a 13MP primary camera with aperture of f/1.8 and 2MP secondary depth sensing lens. At the front the device sports an 8MP sensor with aperture of f/2.0 and an LED flash for selfies in low-light conditions.

Review Image 1

Review Image 2

Pictures clicked by the primary camera came out really crisp and clean in well-lit conditions. The primary camera duo captured sharp images with stellar details and very less noise. Portrait mode photos came out well balanced with the camera doing a good job in capturing the subject’s edges accurately while blurring out the background. However, in low-light conditions, the camera struggled and missed out on a lot of details. The camera also struggled with focussing in dark conditions and we were left waiting most of the time. 4K videos captured on the device came out quite sharp and focussed and stable thanks to EIS.

The 8MP front camera captured clear selfies. As mentioned, the front camera is accompanied by an LED, housed in the notch, letting the phone capture bright selfies even in low light conditions such as outdoors in the evening or parties, etc.

Battery life

Zenfone Max 2 packs in a large 4000 mAh Li-Ion battery. The battery life on this device is stunning, to say the least. The device was able to sail through the day with ease under normal use, with more than 33 percent juice still left in the tank. However, battery drainage was heavy during intense gaming sessions. But still we could easily squeeze out a day’s battery life before the phone had to be charged again. Zenfone Max 2 supports 10W charging and reaches 100 percent mark in about 1 hour 55 minutes.

Verdict

The Zenfone Max M2 is a really good entry-level smartphone with more-than-decent configuration at an attractive price. Sure, there are cons such as an underwhelming camera and the lack of Gorilla Glass protection, but if you’re somebody who is looking for a performance-driven phone with excellent battery life and decent looks, look no further than Zenfone Max M2.
First Published on Feb 15, 2019 01:58 pm
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