[REVIEW] ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 – Beautiful Design, Capable Innards

[REVIEW] ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 – Beautiful Design, Capable Innards

About 7 months ago ASUS announced ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) and it’s probably one of the best mid-range for its price. And, ASUS unveiled a new phone under the same lineup, the ZenFone Max Pro (M2).

As mentioned in my previous unboxing and hands-on post, it has received an overhauled design and improved hardware. It’s more beautify and speedier compared it to its predecessor. Here’s our comprehensive review of the phone

Design & Display

It looks more premium now with acrylic 3D curved glossy back and has wave textures design as if it’s made out of glass. It looks lighter than I can imagine as the slim profile phone packed with a 5,000 mAh battery

Notch is nothing new and the ZenFone Max Pro M2 embraced with a notch that houses a 13-megapixels camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. The 6.3-inch screen with a notch give a huge 90% screen-to-body ratio and protected with the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 6.

It has a Full HD+ resolution display with 400ppi, wide 94% NTSC color gamut and 1,500:1 contrast ratio that gives a more color accuracy and details.

All the buttons are located on the right side and it’s very tactile. The placement is just right for easy reach. The triple slot tray can be found on the left side and supports 2 nano-SIM plus a dedicated microSD card.

At the bottom, you will find speaker grill, microUSB (Yeap! no USB Type-C here), microphone and 3.5mm audio jack.

The fingerprint scanner is mounted in the top middle rear where it can be reached naturally when we hold up the phone. It also supports Face Unlock but it lacking raise to wake feature.

Overall built is pretty solid although it’s made of polycarbonate material, which I find it more practical and light, importantly it’s doesn’t get crack comparing it to glass.

Performance & Benchmark

The ZenFone Max Pro (M2) is now powered by an upper mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 with AIE which is an upgrade over to the M1 that powered by Snapdragon 636. You will get 4GB or 6GB of RAM and same storage space of 64GB. It has a dedicated microSD card slot if you need more space

The SD660 performs slightly faster compare it to SD636 especially on gaming. The stuttering or frame drops on playing PUBG is lesser compare it to M1 which we suspect the SD660 AIE is optimized for the gaming environment. I did also find the device noticeably faster with my daily usage.

The 5x magnet speaker with an NXP 9874 smart amplifier gives a boost to the speaker’s loudness. It’s crisp and clear without much sound distortion (based on 80% volume)

Stock Android & Android P by January

Stock Android experience on the ZenFone Max Pro M1 was well received due to almost no-bloatware and software update friendly. It’s clean and straightforward UI. The company also confirmed that the M2 will receive Android 9.0 Pie update in January 2019.

Camera

There a step up in the camera segment where the M2 is equipped with a more powerful camera sensor, SONY IMX 486 that shoot 12-megapixels f/1.8 and 4K video recording. Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) is also present in the camera. The secondary, 5-megapixels camera works as a depth sensor for better portrait photo taking.

The 13-megapixels front selfie camera has a LED light for low-light selfie photo taking.

Photo sample without any post-processing or edit;

Here a handheld video sample to show you how well EIS works;

The images look good with HDR in the bright environment and look decent enough in low-light shots. Wish to see ASUS have their own Super Night Mode (like from HUAWEI & OPPO) to shine the powerful camera sensor.

Connectivity

Dual-SIM, VoLTE, LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 and GPS are all present in the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M2) but I’m a little bit disappointed with the missing WiFi 5GHz (802.11ac) because the internet speed now is getting better and faster but it has WiFi speed limitation to only 2.4GHz.

Battery Life

We never doubt the battery life of the ASUS ZenFone Max-series including this M2. The 5,000 mAh battery can easily provide me 2 days of normal usage and with some juice left.

During my review, the phone gave me about 8 hours plus of screen-on-time which is very important for those who play mobile games a lot or always on the go.

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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M2)
  • Design
  • Build
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Battery
  • Value
4.5

Verdict

The mid-range market is pretty rough nowadays especially more contenders with similar specs and prices. The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is priced for RM 859 and RM 999 for 4GB and 6GB respectively making it one of the best mid-range options out there.

It’s a phone for you if you are looking for a phone that can give you long battery life with a single charge. It’s a capable phone regardless for gaming, productivity or even both.

Pros

  • Great and Sleek Design
  • Solid Build
  • Huge Display & Battery
  • Stock Android Experience
  • Value For Its Specs
  • Loud Speaker

Cons

  • microUSB
  • Quick Charge 1.0 (5V, 2A)
  • WiFi 2.4GHz

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