Earlier this year, Asus tried to reshape the entire budget segment scenario by taking a page out of Xiaomi’s own playbook. The result – the Zenfone Max Pro M1 (Review) – company’s most popular smartphone yet with aggressive pricing and competitive specifications. Like its predecessor, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is made up of the very same ingredients but with several noticeable changes.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 flaunts the overall refined user experience, beefy battery, improved cameras, newer hardware and relatively recent design. At the launch event, Asus claimed that the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a ‘people’s’ phone since it was made after listening to the feedback from fans as well as the tech reviewers. Since then, Asus has sent numerous software updates to improve the overall experience. So, here is our take on the Zenfone Max Pro M2 after updates.
With Xiaomi’s latest Redmi Note 7 Pro offering, Is Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 still a budget beast? Let’s find that out in our extensive review, shall we?
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Key Specifications
6.26-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display, 1080 x 2280 pixels, Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Snapdragon 660 SoC, up to 6GB RAM, up to 64GB internal storage
Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box (upgradable to Pie)
Instead of dull and boring aluminium metal look, Asus this time decided to put in contemporary “glass looking” design. By glass looking, I mean that the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with a special polymer which is tailored to give a glass-like appearance. If you rotate the phone at several angles, you’ll notice different wave patterns at the back (you can even see that in the above image). The phone spreads the light in an interesting and premium fashion.
Weighing 175g and measuring 8.5 mm in thickness, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 creates a perfect well balanced in-hand feel. For a device carrying 5,000 mAh battery, this is a very slim form factor. Thanks to the slight curve design at the back, the phone is pretty much comfortable to use. Although I did take some time to get used to the massive size. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 does have a thick chin at the bottom but on the other hand, has a narrow notch which according to the company is a fully-functional unit. We’ll talk about that a little more shortly.
At the back, you’ll find a dual camera module positioned vertically and a fingerprint sensor. The back is very much prone to fingerprint smudges so you might have to clear it off from time to time. Asus is also providing a TPU cover inside the box which can give your device a nice layer of protection. Speaking of protection, the phone comes with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 6. The only closest phone packing the same Gorilla Glass is from the OnePlus.
The latest Zenfone Max Pro M2 does look much attractive than its predecessor. On top of that, the addition of Gorilla Glass 6 makes it the most durable option right now in the budget segment market.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Display
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 sports a massive 6.26-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19:9. There is a 2.5D glass panel with a pixel density of 403ppi and a screen-to-body-ratio of 82.0 percent. Asus tried to offer bezel-less design on the front to give it a more modern appearance. Like any other budget phone, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is equipped with a notch but fortunately, it is a narrow one.
While consuming entertainment, we got some wide view angles, high brightness, vivid colours and pretty solid contrast. The adaptive brightness on this device works like a charm. In my 2 week usage, I rarely triggered the brightness manually. Although the sunlight brightness could have been better, it will still do a superb job most of the time. The fact that the Max Pro M2 has a Gorilla Glass 6 protection gives a solid edge to the phone over its competitors. We can say that the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 has the best display in this segment.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Camera
Now here we are at the cameras at last! To be honest, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 was a bit of a bummer camera wise. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is more interesting because it’s actually a bit better. The phone comes with a dual camera setup at the back with 12MP and 5MP camera sensors. The 12MP camera has f/1.8 aperture and 1.25µm pixel size while the 5MP sensor remains the same as its predecessors.
When it comes to the daylight shots with the primary camera, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 did a fairly nice job. The daylight images turn out to be bright with a good amount of details and dynamic range. In landscape shots, the camera was able to handle blue of the sky pretty well. With HDR mode on, I was able to get rid of small problems with the Sun and the faulty dynamic range.
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Although I was expecting the cameras to clear out the competition but instead left disappointed. Of course, there is a major improvement in cameras when compared to its predecessors but still, the phone could have done much better.
Coming to the selfie camera, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 13MP selfie snapper with an aperture of f/2.0 and a pixel size of 1.12µm. Accompanying the selfie camera, you will find an LED flash inside the notch. You do get a beauty mode which I personally am not a big fan of since it makes you look quite artificial but hey that’s just my personal opinion. On the other hand, the group selfie feature is a nice thing to have and it seems to work pretty well too.
You can shoot video at 4K resolution but since the phone doesn’t have any stabilisation, the video comes out to be a little shaky. At Full HD video recording, the phone makes use of EIS, therefore, resulting in less shaky videos. Overall, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 clearly shows bits of improvement in the camera department.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Software & Performance
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset coupled with Adreno 512. Even though the processor is a proper upgrade over the predecessor, the phone is still not able to blow out the competition. For instance, Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro packs in much powerful chipset. The internal memory goes up to 6GB and the onboard storage goes up to 128GB. The unit which we’re using comes with a 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory.
I tried playing various graphic demanding games like PubG and Asphalt 9. The Adreno 512 GPU handled all the power hungry games pretty well. In terms of performance, there is literally nothing to complain about. Asus once again went with the stock Android experience which is a fantastic decision. The bloat-free UI makes the phone very responsive and quick. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box but you can upgrade to Android 9.0 Pie.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Battery Life & Audio
The thing which sets the Zenfone Max Pro M2 apart from the competition is the massive battery inside. The phone is fueled by 5000mAh battery which still used USB 2.0 sadly. The device takes about 2 hours and 57 minutes to completely charge but is well worth it for the time you get. For me, the phone lasts for 2 days on a regular usage which is insane. I did miss the USB Type C port as well as the fast charging feature.
Coming to the acoustics, we’re dealing with a singular speaker with five magnets at the bottom. The audio coming out of the phone is louder and doesn’t distort at all. Also, the case doesn’t vibrate excessively which is a good thing.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Verdict
It’s time for the verdict. The things at which the previous Zenfone Max Pro M1 was falling behind, the latest Max Pro M2 seems to pick up the pieces. The design is sexier even though it’s not glass, the massive battery lasts for solid duration and the cameras are definitely upgraded. The only drawback here is the lack of USB Type C port and a fast charging feature. If you can somehow manage living without it, then Zenfone Max Pro M2 might be a decent choice for you.
The foremost question is how well Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 performs when compared with the ultimate Redmi Note 7 Pro. Well, that’s the question we still can’t give an answer to yet. We will definitely be reviewing the Redmi Note 7 Pro soon and hopefully will try to cover a comparison too. You can keep checking the Review space till then.
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