Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review: “A Shift in Paradigm”

Asus Zenfone 3s Max was revealed in the beginning of this year. Asus Zenfone Max series is very well…

Asus Zenfone 3s Max was revealed in the beginning of this year. Asus Zenfone Max series is very well known for better battery capacity so does this new successor of Asus Zenfone 3 Max. This time we are talking about big whopping 5000 mAh battery capacity in a not so thick device. Asus Zenfone 3s Max has raised the bar for Asus’s Max series.

(Also See: Asus Zenfone 3 Laser Review: “Well made but highly priced”)

Normally, you don’t see successors of mid-range devices but this time Asus is attempting a different approach with this device. Now apart from the battery, we want at least good performance. Asus Zenfone 3 Max, the predecessor, has already disappointed us in terms of performance.

Before jumping right into the review, let’s have a look at the specifications. 

First, let’s take a look at the specifications of the ZenFone 3s Max.

  • Display: 5.2-inch, 1280 x 720 pixels resolution
  • Processor: 1.5GHz Octa-core MediaTek MT6750 processor
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB (available storage around 24GB)
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat, ZenUI 3.0
  • Rear camera: 13-megapixel, Dual LED flash, F/2.0 aperture, phase detection AF, two-tone LED flash, 1080p@30fps video
  • Front camera: 8-megapixel
  • Battery: 5000 mAh non-removable
  • Sensors: Fingerprint sensor, Proximity, Orientation sensor, Magnetometer, Accelerometer, Light sensor

Asus Zenfone 3s Max is priced at INR 14,999. On paper, the device’s performance looks promising. The device comes in two colours black and gold. We have, as usual, gold review unit with us but now doubt black one looks quite appealing. What justice has Asus done with this new mid-range device? Find out in this comprehensive review.

Build and Design

Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review

The thing which differentiates Asus with other competitors is its design and build quality. Look at the other competitors, they will give you great specs but not so great build. I always give more weightage to design while choosing a smartphone. If you look at the sub 15k category, you see same boring design in every single smartphone.

Asus Zenfone 3s Max design feels premium with 2.5D glass on the front and a well-rounded, sandblasted, matte finished metal back. It is, of course, heavy but its weight adds up to the premium in-hand feel and is more comfortable.

Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review

You will now find the fingerprint sensor on the front which I, by the way, appreciate more. The capacitive navigation buttons are pushed into the display area. You need to press and activate the home button first to register the fingerprint and unlock the phone. Also, the same physical buttons work as a home button.

At back, you will see the metallic design which is implemented in a unique way. Generally, you will see two plastic caps on top and bottom on most of the devices. There is no top plastic cap at all and the one at the bottom has a really good fit.


Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review

Asus Zenfone 3s Max comes with 5.2-inch HD IPS LCD display with pixel density of 282 ppi. There is nothing new in the display than the rest of the Asus devices which we have reviewed. One thing which you should know is that the display is not 1080p but I guess that is done to give more battery to the consumers.

You’ll find a very decent, colourful and neat display that has a good sunlight legibility, though not offering the best to read under direct sunlight conditions.

Interface and Performance

Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review

Asus Zenfone 3s Max comes with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and the ZenUI 3.0 is layered over it, as usual. There’s nothing new here, you will find the same UI on every other device of Asus. But, Android Nougat does make things a little bit better. Thanks to its feature to kill anything that might use the battery when the device is resting.

Asus ZenUI has always disappointed us in terms of pre-installed apps. You will always see the huge amount of preloaded apps which are literally useless. With Android Nougat, Asus has decreased this junk load of apps but still, you will encounter around 10 pretty useless apps. There are still tons of features, customization options and of course Asus Zen motion. All the customization options do improve the interface.


Talking about the performance, This successor has not failed to do its job. Like Asus Zenfone 3 Max, Zenfone 3s Max is not sluggish. We didn’t find any issues with the performance of this device. I am using this device for a month now, I am a heavy multitasker and found no problem in multi-tasking. Although on intense usage, the device will start to lag a little bit. But for an average consumer, the device will do a pretty good job.

Asus should have gone for Qualcomm chipset with this one. Instead, they chose to go with Mediatek which is not good in terms of performance. That’s a bad move Asus.


Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review


In terms of camera, on paper specification looks pretty good but it is not really. There are other smartphones which are offering amazing camera performance without asking you to spend extra bucks. Honor 6X is still holding best camera under the 15k category. This device has not done great in camera. With 13 MP rear camera, the pictures quality are average. In low light conditions, you will often get blurry images and sometimes even in daylight conditions.

The device has 8 Megapixel front camera which also faces the similar problem of getting blurry images. Image processing in this device is awful. But if you know what you’re doing with the camera, you will get good pictures.

Again, the camera still performs well but not that good if you compared it with the competitors. If you are looking for a device with a great camera then you have to look somewhere else.

You can have a look at the below camera samples to get an idea

Battery Life

Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review

Now, let’s talk about the unique selling point of this device i.e. battery. Asus has fitted 5000 mAh of battery in this device. With a single charge, I was able to get a day battery backup. All of the time, the device was connected to Wifi or sometimes mobile data and with sync always on. The battery works pretty well. If you are not a heavy user, you might be able to run this for some more time.

Final Verdict

Asus Zenfone 3s Max Review


Asus Zenfone 3s Max, no doubt, gives good battery life but on other aspects failed to justify its pricing. With too much competition in this price range, only great battery is not enough. All Asus Zenfone 3s Max misses is a good camera at least equivalent to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. Most of the Indian consumers wants value for money. I still enjoyed using this device. If you want good build quality and long-lasting battery, you can go for this. But, you have to compromise on camera.

Update (17/5/2017): You can purchase this device from Amazon for INR 14,490 (Black Color) and for INR 13,359 ( Gold Color). 

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    1. Hi, Thanks for the feedback. We are trying to produce more content covering wide ranges of products. More different products will be reviewed soon. Stay tune. 🙂

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