At GadgetGuide4U, you normally find posts related to app reviews and news related to smartphone launches. Today in this post I’m sharing a detailed review of the Asus Zenfone 3 Max. For your information, Asus launched the Zenfone 3 Max comes in two variant and cost Rs.12,999 & Rs. 17,999 respectively.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Design and Build Quality
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max looks like another 5.5-inch smartphone and the only notable change is that, it is made up of metal. The Asus Zenfone 3 Max feature a metal unibody and because of that, it looks a premium device. The phone is not sleek and it is bit heavy, the heaviness is because it packs 4100mAh battery.
The right side of the phone houses the power key & volume buttons and they are ergonomically placed.
On the left side, there is a hybrid SIM card slot which means either you can use two SIM cards (nano + micro) at a time or one micro-SIM and one microSD card to further expand the inbuilt memory.
The bottom side of the phone has microUSB port and speaker grille while at the top, there is 3.5mm jack.
On the back side, there is a dual-tone LED flash, laser auto-focus camera and a fingerprint sensor (to unlock the phone).
On the front side, above the screen there are normal sensor, earpiece speaker, front-camera and LED is embedded which serve as a notification LED. The touch capacitive buttons sits below the screen and unfortunately, they are not backlit keys which means it will become difficult in finding the right key in dark.
The phone measures 151.4 x 76.2 x 8.3mm and it weighs 175 grams.
The 2.5D curved glass on the front looks good and it merges seamlessly into the sides. As said above, the back panel is made of metal and the slim sliver antenna lines at the top and bottom allow wireless connectivity. All the edges of the phone are curved and it offers a great feel in the hand. It is advisable to use the phone with a protective case.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max has 2.25mm bezel and 73% screen-to-body ratio.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Display
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max comes with 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, 450 nits brightness. The brightness ensures good viewing angles in indoors while the sunlight legibility is decent and I always thought by somehow I can increase the brightness little more.
Overall the display is decent but it doesn’t stand out in any way. Although, you like watching videos, movies or love playing games in a 5.5-inch screen smartphone.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Performance
The ASUS Zenfone 3 Max is powered by Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430 which is paired with Adreno 505 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The Asus Zenfone 3 Max comes with ARM V8 Octa-Core processor where eight A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz. When it comes to processor side, the Asus Zenfone 3 disappoints and when it comes to my experience, the phone sluggish all the times. The day-to-day performance is decent and it performs ordinary tasks such as phone calls, social media and web browsing in easier way and that too without any lag, thanks to 3GB RAM under the hood.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max performs well in gaming as it is paired with Adreno 505 GPU and you can easily play casual games like Candy Crush, Temple Run 2 without any issues while the heavy games like Combat 5, N.O.V.A. 3, Asphalt 8 Airborne runs with dropped frames. While playing high-end graphics game, the phone heats up sometimes the YouTube app freezes when you play videos at HD resolutions. The multi-tasking on Asus Zenfone 3 Max is good as long as you are not doing any intensive tasks. The good thing is that, there are no issues in the connectivity or internet usage when you use the phone on 4G network or Wi-Fi. The Asus Zen UI doesn’t help much as the UI is cluttered with bloatware and Asus’s own services. Above all, the Zen UI is messy and not optimised.
The ASUS Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL) comes with 32 GB of inbuilt memory which can be expanded further upto 128GB by using a microSD card. If you use a microSD card, then you won’t be able to use second SIM card, as ASUS Zenfone 3 Max comes with a hybrid dual SIM tray. Out of 32GB inbuilt memory, 22.26 GB was available and the remaining space was eaten by system OS and other bloatware. There is a fingerprint sensor at the back which can read up to five stored fingerprints. Most of the time, the sensor reads the fingerprint accurately but sometimes it takes time to unlock the phone.
Considering the price tag, the Asus Zenfone 3 Max should be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor like Lenovo Z2 Plus, it’s because the performance that Asus Zenfone 3 Max offers is acceptable under Rs. 10,000 smartphone. if you go into much deep, the Xiaomi Redmi 3S is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 that sells for Rs. 6,999 and when the price is compared, it is nearly 2.5 times.
The speaker’s performance on Asus Zenfone 3 Max is acceptable as it’s a mono-speaker and it is not much loud.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Software
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL) runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system with Zen UI on top of it. Talking about Zen UI, it has undergone significant changes with the launch of Zenfone 3 range but still it comes pre-loaded with number of pre-installed apps. Although you can un-install some apps and games and disable few apps but still these apps occupy unnecessary space.
You can also download themes from Asus Themes stores which is really nice. Apps like Mobile Manager, Back-up and Asus Web Storage are useful and you’ll find a plethora of new options in the settings menu. You can enable settings that will help you to take photos by just tapping on Fingerprint sensor or you can also enable touch-screen functionality that lets you draw on the screen to open specific apps. Other functionality such as double-tap to wake or sleep, motion gestures like placing the phone on your ear to answer a call and even a glove more to increase the sensitivity of the screen can be enabled or disabled at will.
Some other apps like AudioWizard, Do It Later, Laser Ruler, MiniMovie, PhotoCollage, Mobile Manager, Puffin, Share Link, ZenCircle and ZenTalk are some of the apps that ASUS offers straight out of the box.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Camera Performance
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max features 16.0MP f/2.0 with PDAF and laser autofocus. Other features are EIS, a super resolution mode, HDR, low-light mode, etc. Asus claims that the camera can focus in 0.03 seconds but in real-life, the camera isn’t that impressive and it does focus quickly. The HDR mode clicks are good and the camera struggles very hard to focus in low-light. Apart from this, The Super Resolution mode is also disappointing.
No doubt, the camera performs well in outdoor and produces good details & well balanced images. The low light images are decent but there is some noise.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max comes with 8MP, f/2.2 front camera and it comes with number of capture modes like Beautification, Auto, Night, HDR Pro, Effect, Low Light and Time Lapse.
The video quality is average and the 3-axis EIS does the day-to-day job.
Overall, the Asus Zenfone 3 Max is decent performer.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Battery
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max is the king when it comes to battery as it packs non-removable Li-ion 4100mAh battery. All I can say, that’s the only good thing about this phone. No doubt the battery is quite good and it offers a standby time of up to 38 d ays and can easily run for around 1.5 days or 2 days, depending on your usage. Apart from this, there are software-based power saving modes, which disable some functions to stretch battery life on essential functions. A ’Super Saving’ mode claims to offer 2.5 times as much battery time as the normal mode, by keeping only the phone, SMS and alarm functions active.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max also support reverse charging which means the Asus Zenfone 3 Max can be used as a powerbank to charge other smartphone.
Although the battery is good but to charge the smartphone is a headache, as the bundled charge is not good enough to charge the phone quickly.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Max has better build quality and excellent battery. Apart from this, it disappoints when it comes to pricing, bloated software and lack of stereo speakers.
Overall, at the end of the day, the Asus Zenfone 3 Max is a decent smartphone but with wrong pricing.