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Asus has today announced its contender for the mid-range price segment in the Indian market. The new ZenFone is priced at Rs. 12,999 for the 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM variant, while the 4GB Ram + 64 GB ROM variant and 6GB RAM + 64 GB ROM variant will sell at Rs. 14,999 and at Rs. 16,999 respectively on Flipkart.com. Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 starts a new battle in the sub Rs. 15k price-point in the Indian market. The smartphone will compete with the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Honor Play and other similarly priced handsets.
Like its predecessor, the new ZenFone also runs on the stock Android and is backed by a massive 5,000 mAh battery unit. It is also the most affordable smartphone to offer Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection for the screen. Besides, Asus has also provided a triple-slot hybrid card to accompany two nano SIM cards and one microSD card at the same time. Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 with AIE, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 offers brilliant on-paper specifications that can give all other sub Rs. 15k smartphones a run for their money.
But, as we all know that good specifications not always translate to best-in-class performance, we used the handset for a day to understand its performance output. Here we are sharing our experience with the new budget ZenFone. This is just the first impressions of the ZenFone Max Pro M2 and a detailed review will follow soon on Gizbot.com.
Design: Sleek and lightweight
Despite carrying a large 5,000 mAh battery cell, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 is very sleek and surprisingly lightweight. This is due to the fact that the company has used fiber-glass in designing the handset which has kept the overall weight in check. Importantly, the fiber-glass material does not make the new ZenFone look cheap by any means. It is strikingly appealing and feels robust in hands. The rear panel has been given a highly polished glossy finish which makes it a fingerprint magnet. The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side and the triple-slot hybrid card is positioned at the left side. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is placed slightly upwards from my liking. You might also find it a bit inconvenient in everyday routine to unlock the device, especially if you have smaller hands. The 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB 2.0 charging port, and a bottom firing speaker unit is placed in the standard configuration at the bottom. Overall, Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 looks premium and get most of the things right in the design department.
Display: 6.26-inch FHD+ screen with Gorilla Glass 6
Coming on to the front, the handset sports a big 6.26" FHD+ (2280x1080) Notch Display. The screen offers 94% NTSC Colour Gamut and 1500:1 contrast ratio. The screen comes in 19:9 aspect ratio and has 450 nits brightness levels. The display is bright and vivid and the notch cutout at the top is also comparatively smaller than other smartphones in this price-point. Moreover, Asus has also offered Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for protection which makes ZenFone Max Pro M2 the most affordable smartphone with the latest screen protection standards.
Camera: Dual-lens camera setup (12MP+5MP)
As far as cameras are concerned, the smartphone boasts a dual-lens camera at the back panel. The camera setup comprises of a 12MP Sony IMX486 sensor working on f/1.8 aperture. The company has used a 6p lens with 1.25µm for bright image output. The primary lens is paired with a 5MP depth sensor, which supports EIS. The camera setup can also record videos in 4K format. During our initial testing, we found that the camera setup creates a good bokeh effect and also offers crisp shots in favorable lighting. However, the phone struggled during focusing on subjects placed closer while taking macro shots. We are yet to test the low-light performance of the camera setup to better understand the camera output. The camera UI is pretty clean, easy-to-use and offers all the required features like HDR, Panorama, Portrait, Filters, Beautify mode and AI mode. For selfies, Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 sports a 13MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture. The front camera is also paired with an LED Flashlight to brighten up the selfies in low-light.
Hardware and Software
The stock Android UI combined with the snappy and efficient Snapdragon 660 chipset makes ZenFone Max Pro M2 quite fluid and responsive. The smartphone did not give us any reasons to complain so far even during resource intensive tasks. We will push the handset to its limits in the coming days to give you our final verdict on the processing, gaming and multitasking performance. We will also pit it against the closest rival Redmi Note 6 Pro to evaluate the performance differences.
Battery and Connectivity
Like its predecessor, the new ZenFone Max Pro M2 is also backed by a massive 5,000 mAh battery unit which combined with the energy efficient Snapdragon 660 CPU can last for one full day on heavy usage. For connectivity, the Max Pro M2 offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, two nano SIM cards with Dual 4G VoLTE support and a dedicated microSD card slot that will let you expand the storage to up to 2TB.
The launch of Asus ZenFone Maxx Pro M2 has once again made things quite interesting in the sub Rs. 15k price-segment in the Indian market. The smartphone offers solid on-paper specifications and can prove as a real threat to the Xiaomi's recently launched Redmi Note 6 Pro. We will test both the handsets side-by-side to give you a better understanding of their everyday performance. Stay tuned on Gizbot.com to find out which handset wins the title of best sub Rs. 15k smartphone in India.