As discussed previously on budget 18:9 smartphone the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1) received the best all rounder comparing it with other competitors.
ASUS Malaysia has sent us an unit for a more comprehensive review of the device. Let’s begin with its specs;
▪ MediaTek 6750T Octa-core Processor
▪ 4GB of RAM
▪ 5.7-inch 18:9 HD+ IPS Display
▪ 32GB Onboard Storage
▪ Dual SIM, Dedicated microSD Card Slot
▪ 16-megapixel f/2.0 & 8-megapixel Ultra-wide Angle Rear Camera
▪ 16-megapixel f/2.0 Front Facing Camera
▪ 4,130 mAh Battery
▪ EMUI 4.0 Based Android 7.0 Nougat
The phone has a metallic unibody finish and relatively sturdy build. The overall design is identical with the current ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro and the differences are bigger display and fingerprint scanner relocated to the rear of the device which allows more space for taller display. Despite the screen size increased, the footprint is about the same or even smaller to a 5.5-inch thanks to the smaller top and chin bezels.
The volume and power buttons are located on the right side of the phone. USB port and speaker grille are arranged at the bottom and 3.5mm is here to stay on top of the device. The ZenFone Max Plus M1 can accommodate two SIM cards and a microSD card slot without the need to choose between extra storage or second line.
Display & Speaker
The side bezels aren’t as thin as compared to the Galaxy S8’s infinity display that has side curves but they’re that bad either. The display quality is good and has great viewing angles and accurate color contrast.
We are able to see more with the extra pixels on the top & bottom of the display thanks to adoption 2:1 ratio display.
When it has a great display, loud and clear audio is much appreciated. The speaker on the ZenFone Max Plus is impressively loud even without turning “Outdoor Mode” on and distortion were minimum.
ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is a mid-range device and focuses on battery life and features. Powering the device is MediaTek MT6750T, an octa-core processor paired with generous 4GB of RAM. It also comes with 32GB onboard storage with expandable card slot.
The 28nm process processor doesn’t sound promising as it’s not very power efficient and low in clock speed. The apps launching and navigation was unaffected by this chipset. Graphical settings may need to tune down if you are playing high graphics games for smooth and consistent frames.
Based on AnTuTu Benchmark test, it touched slightly above 50,000 points which ASUS has tuned the processor very well.
Software & Face Unlock
The device runs on ASUS’s latest ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. ASUS listened and has taken down a lot of bloatware to improve the overall user experience. There are a handful apps that quite useful such as Mobile Manager, Twin Apps, and ZenMotion.
Face Unlock is not really new and the adoption was only recently blooming after the Apple iPhone X revitalized it with Face Unlock. Well, the face unlock capability worked reasonably well but it relies much on the availability of light to work correctly. Unlike the Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 & Note8, it has an IR light that helps to recognize faces even in dark. The fingerprint is there if face recognition failed in low light.
The rear dual cameras work individually; the 16-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture capture higher resolution and detailed images where the secondary 8-megapixel camera shoot at a 135-degree wide angle.
The ZenFone Max Plus camera does struggle when shooting in the low light environment with noises and slow focus. The color reproduction tended to be a little saturated and underexposure (especially on the 8-megapixel wide angle camera). Overall the camera performance was good and love the wide angle lens. It’s like bring two camera lens for different angle photo shooting. There is only 2 smartphone manufacturer that offers such camera features; ASUS and LG.
The 16-megapixel front camera is wide and great for a group selfie. It even supports Portrait Mode that offers a bokeh or blurred out background effect and it works quite well on both front and rear camera.
Here are some photo samples taking with the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1)
(all the photos were not post edited/touch up and uploaded to Flickr straight from the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1))
This part is where the ASUS ZenFone Max series shines, same goes to the ZenFone Max Plus. Based on my test, I able to use the device for almost 2 days on heavy usage and getting around 7+ hours of Screen-On-Time. It features “Reverse Charging” where it turned into a powerbank and charge other devices with the provided USB-OTG dongle. The fast charging lets you get a full charge about 2 hours or so.
If you are looking for a budget phone that checks most of the 2018 smartphone features, the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1) would be a good option;
√ Big Display with Small Footprint Design
√ Face Unlock
√ Practical Dual Camera System
√ Premium Build Quality
√ Long Battery Life, 4,130 mAh Battery
√ Bang for Bucks
For the price of RM 899 (some are selling it for only RM 729 on Lazada Malaysia) there wasn’t much option come close.