Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) is the successor to the Zenfone Max Pro (M1) launched by the company earlier this year. The Max Pro M2 can be seen as a challenger to Redmi Note 6 Pro, considering its price and the kind of specifications it packs. Like the earlier variant, this one too comes with stock Android, though Asus has gone for the older Android 8.1 Oreo on this phone.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) will try and build on the success of its earlier variant. Given that most smartphone companies are upgrading their budget variants in less than a year’s time-frame, it is not surprising to see that Asus is also following the trend.
The Zenfone Max Pro (M2) packs a bigger display, more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor compared to the 636 on the earlier variant, along with improved cameras. It continues with the same 5000 mAh battery, which made the earlier variant a good challenger in the budget segment. Here’s our review of the Zenfone Max Pro M2.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) specifications: 6.26-inch FHD+ (2280×1080p) notched display, aspect ratio of 19:9 |Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor |3GB/4GB/6GB RAM +32GB storage or 64GB storage |12MP f/1.8 aperture camera + 5MP camera and 13MP front camera | Android 8.1 Oreo | 5000mAh battery
Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) price in India: Rs 12,999 to Rs 16,999
Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) review: What’s good?
The new Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 looks very polished and premium for its price, thanks to the 3D glass like finish at the back. However, this phone comes with a plastic body now, and not the metal unibody design that was seen on the earlier variant.
The 3D glass-like finish does make the phone glossy, but it is not so slippery. Still the back is prone to scratches, despite the Corning Gorilla Glass 6. What is impressive is that the phone feels light and easy to use with one hand, despite sporting a big 5000 mAh battery.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 6.28-inch Full HD+ display, which is good for watching videos given the extra real-estate. But the display quality and colours could have been better.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, and our review unit had 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, which costs Rs 14,999. For its price, the performance is smooth and fast. The device has no issues with multi-tasking, running high-end games like Asphalt 9, managing multiple notifications, etc. Keeping multiple tabs open on Chrome did not cause any lag either.
We did not experience any heating issues either, while gaming on this phone. Call quality and audio quality are also good for the price of the new variant.
This one also runs stock Android with Android Oreo 8.1, though an Android Pie update is promised. The stock Android is definitely an advantage over the previous ZenUI, and ensures a much cleaner interface. There’s no bloatware either, which is good to see. The fingerprint sensor and the Face Unlock feature both work accurately on this device.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 has an impressive camera for its price. Compared to previous Asus budget phones that I have tried in the past, I would say the camera technology on the company’s devices have certainly improved.
The colours are not washed out, even reds, which can be tricky for budget phones. The camera is quick to take a photo, there’s no shutter lag as such, and the bokeh mode is also impressive, both with people and objects.
While low-light mode still needs improvement as photos lack details when taken at night, I feel this camera is one of the better camera phones in the budget category.
The highlight of this phone is the 5000 mAh battery. It will easily last more than 24 hours with heavy-duty usage, which involved gaming, watching videos for long hours, and incoming messages on WhatsApp, etc for us. The battery life should keep most users happy.
It takes more than two hours to charge, but then again, the advantage is that the battery will last more than a day, even if you do not get time to charge it to full.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) review: What’s not good?
The noticeable weak point of the Zenfone Max Pro (M2) would be the display in my opinion, especially if I compare with the competition. In sunlight, the performance could be better and I find myself keeping the brightness at full, no matter what the external lighting conditions. The colours could be better on this display as well.
The new Zenfone Max Pro (M2) has a notch as well, which is hard to ignore in regular usage. There are no settings to turn off the notch either; unless you go for developer settings on Android.
I was also unable to run Antutu benchmark, as the 3D benchmark app, which ranks the display showed as not compatible. This has not really happened on a phone before and I’m not sure why this problem occurred.
One issue I did notice with the camera was with the auto-focus, which would not latch on at times. In low-light, the device struggled with focus as well. Hopefully, Asus can fix the focus problem with a software update.
While the selfie camera manages to keep details in photos, the tendency to brighten skin, even with beauty mode turned off. One tends to look very sickly pale in some of the selfies, which is not ideal.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) review: Verdict
There’s no doubt that Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M2) builds on the success of its earlier variant. The starting price is Rs 12,999 for the 3GB RAM option, though we had the 4GB RAM option for review. Asus is also offering a 6GB RAM variant at Rs 16,999 for those who are interested.
During the course of our review, the phone’s battery life, performance, camera and design were all positives. The phone’s display could be better, and low-light performance still needs some tweaks. Still, this is a good challenger for the Redmi Note 6 Pro, Realme 2 Pro in the market.
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