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Asus ZenFone Max M2 Review: Good battery life and stock Android but underwhelming cameras
The device carries a price tag of Rs 9,999 for the 3GB RAM with 32GB storage variant and Rs 11,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant.
Taiwanese tech giant Asus had a good run in India in the year 2018. The company unveiled some impressive handsets catering to the needs of budget, mid-range and premium smartphone users. The company's handsets- ZenFone Max Pro M1, ZenFone 5Z and the one-of-its-kind ROG gaming smartphone were the headline grabbers last year and have been received quite well by the audience in the Indian market.
- Robust build
- Decent hardware
- Stock Android
- Good Battery Back up
- Average Camera
- Display Maxes out at 720 pixels
Towards the end of 2018, Asus released two new smartphones targeting the budget smartphone buyers in the country. The company introduced ZenFone Max Pro M2 and the ZenFone Max M2 smartphones. We have reviewed the ZenFone Max Pro M2 and today we are focusing on ZenFone Max M2 in this review.
Design: Metallic rear panel encased within a plastic frame
The ZenFone Max M2 looks identical to ZenFone Max Pro M2 smartphone. The device is big and has a notched display up front. Unlike the Max Pro M2, Zenfone Max M2 has a metallic rear panel with matte finish held by a plastic frame. The matte finish gives the device a premium look and it hardly picks up fingerprints which further reduces the need of cases.
Coming to the placement of keys and ports, the SIM card tray is placed at the left panel of the smartphone, whereas, the power key and the volume rockers are placed on the right panel. While the bottom panel of the device stores the microUSB ports for charging and data transfers, the top panel houses the 3.5mm headphone jack for wired headphone connectivity.
The phone has is a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner which has an ideal positioning to unlock the device in a jiffy. The rear panel also houses the dual-lens camera setup stacked vertically at the top left corner. As far as ergonomics are concerned, the button placement is perfect but the Zenfone Max M2 is not an ideal phone for one-hand use. It is tad wider and also feels slippery in hands.
Display: 6.3-inch display with a notch on top
The Asus ZenFone Max M2 comes with a big IPS LCD display panel that measures 6.3-inches and offers a screen resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels. The display has an aspect ratio of 19:9. The display resolution is pretty standard what we see in the affordable smartphones these days. The IPS LCD screen sports a notch on top, similar to the ZenFone Max Pro M2 that houses the front camera paired with an LED flash along with a bunch of sensors including the notification LED.
The LED glows orange while the device is being charged and turns green while receiving general notifications. The display is bright and vivid with the color temperature being slightly on the warmer side. The big display panel does enhance the viewing experience but a higher resolution panel is missed. The only drawback is the display is that it maxes out at 720 pixels while streaming videos online on YouTube and other platforms.
Notably, Asus has not used any reinforced Corning Gorilla Glass protection of the ZenFone Max2. It would have been appreciated if the company has applied any Corning Gorilla Glass protection for the display like it used for the ZenFone Max Pro M2 smartphone.
Camera: Average camera performance
The Asus ZenFone Max M2 sports a dual-lens rear camera module that comprises a 13MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture accompanied by a 2MP secondary lens used for depth sensing. To capture selfies and for video calls, the device features an 8MP front snapper that has an aperture of f/2.0.
The front camera is also accompanied by an LED flash to brighten up selfies in low-light. Speaking about the camera output, the device manages to capture decent images with ample lighting around; however, the performance in challenging light situations is not up to the mark and not at par with the competition. What's truly interesting here is the 4K UHD video recording feature. It's definitely a standout feature for this handset and makes Zenfone Max M2 a good deal for users who prefer shooting videos than taking pictures.
As far as the front camera is concerned, it also delivers average looking selfies but supports AI bokeh mode which can capture some decent shots in good lighting situations.
Hardware and Software: Snapdragon 632 chipset with stock Android UI
The ZenFone Max M2 makes use of an octa-core Snapdragon 632 chipset which is paired with 3/4GB of RAM to take care of the multitasking. This is a significant upgrade from the usual Snapdragon 430 chipset which the predecessor of this device the ZenFone Max M1 packs. The Snapdragon 632 chipset is the recent entry-segment processor which Qualcomm had announced back in June 2018 and it brings over 40 percent improvements over the Snapdragon 626 SoC. The device does not lag while carrying out day-to-day tasks such as web surfing, calling and some light gameplay. Also, we did not experience any noticeable device heating issues with this handset.
Like we mentioned earlier, the ZenFone max M2 features stock Android UI and runs on the Android v8.1 Oreo. The software is the same as we have seen on the ZenFone Max Pro M2 and the device does come with some pre-loaded third-party apps such as Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. One of the major advantages of being a stock Android device is that they come first in line to receive the Android updates and security patches. It is expected that the device will receive the Android Pie flavor sometime in the future; however, there is no tentative date for the same. The software is pretty neat and offers a clean UI with no forced skin on top.
Battery: Big on backup
Just like its sibling, the ZenFone Max M2 also packs a big battery unit. It comes with a 4,000mAh non-removable battery which is bundled with a 10W charging adapter. The battery backup of the device is quite impressive. The device gives a backup of over a day with a single charge and easy-moderate usage such as surfing the internet or watching movies and with some light gameplay which is quite impressive. With extensive usage, you might need to plug the smartphone again towards the end of the day.
The ZenFone Max M2 is a good entry-segment smartphone which not only carries a reasonable price tag but also offers some decent specifications. The device carries a price tag of Rs 9,999 for the 3GB RAM with 32GB storage variant and Rs 11,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant. At this price point, the device competes with Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro, Honor 9N, Realme 2 and others. The device is a perfect deal if you are looking for stock Android, good design and a long-lasting battery backup.