Predominantly known for their notebooks and motherboards, Asus also has Android-based smartphones, known as the ZenFone series.
My last Android phone was a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, after which I made the switch to Apple and never turned back since. Being able to use an Android phone again was mildly nostalgic, and reminded me of the days I used to have fun downloading phone themes.
1080 x 1920 pixels
*My test unit runs Android 7.1.1
The unit I received was in Deepsea Black, a stylish navy blue which I really liked. This phone offers 3 different colours to choose from, the other two being Sunlight Gold and Rose Pink. The twin rear cameras protrude slightly on the back of the phone, but isn’t much cause for concern. It is rather light to hold and easy to grip, weighing in at only 181g despite a really huge 5000mAh battery.
With its thicker bezels, the ZenFone 4 Max Pro does look slightly dated when compared other flagships with their shrunken bezels. The power button and the volume rocker is also situated to the right of the screen.
With a resolution of 1080 x 1920 for a 5’5 screen, the ZenFone’s display works rather well, but is not as crisp as I would have liked it to be. As someone who watches videos on my phone pretty often, the experience was rather unintrusive. I noticed, however, that smaller text and images are rendered blur sporadically.
I ran the phone through a few performance test applications, one of them being AnTuTu.
Its CPU performance score is rather low, but generally still good enough for normal use. I played a game of Scrabble and the experience was rather smooth, with no lagging at all. I’m not really sure about action games though.
The Zenfone 4 Max boasts a 16MP, 120° wide-angle back camera that should have been the main highlight. I had very high expectations and was really looking forward to testing this out because I take lots of photographs with my mobile phone.
However, my experience using the Zenfone 4 Max Pro’s camera fell a little flat. I was not very impressed with the image quality, focusing and white balance. As an example, here is a side-by-side comparison of the photos taken by the Zenfone 4 Max Pro and my iPhone, taken under the same conditions in auto mode. I would say the Zenfone’s photo is quite sharp, but you can see that there is a blue cast.
Another camera feature that Asus focuses on for this model is the 16MP front camera, which comes with a Softlight LED flash and Beautification mode, so that you can take flawless selfies even in terrible lighting conditions. While I’m not too keen on posting my selfies in this review, I think this would be a pretty good feature to have in your phone if you take a lot of selfies (in the dark) and want to save the time taken to edit them using MeituPic.
My favourite feature of the Zenfone 4 Max Pro is definitely the battery. I’ve never used a phone that has a battery that lasted so long – not even back in the days when I wasn’t actively using the Internet on my Android phones, and definitely not any of my iPhones.
If you see the screenshots below, at 88% the battery was estimated to last for 2 days; at 86%, it increased to 3 days. My battery actually ended up lasting around 3 and a half days before going completely flat.
In addition, you can make full use of the amazing 5000mAh battery and the reverse charging capability to charge other devices e.g. portable charger, other people’s phones. Although this is not a new feature (you can also find this on the Zenfone Max 3), this really caught my attention out of all the tech specs. I’ve found this to be a very useful feature – though you may be constantly bugged to convert your phone into a portable mobile charger for other people.
The Zenfone 4 Max Pro also comes with a double battery lifespan feature so that you can reduce loss of battery capacity by half and lengthen your battery life. I haven’t used it long enough to see how long the battery life can be, but it is definitely a plus point.
As someone who starts panicking when the battery level falls below 69%, yet finds it incredibly frustrating to have to bring a portable charger all the time, I deeply appreciate the Zenfone’s battery capacity.
|The Good||The Bad|
Retailing in Singapore for SGD 258, this is certainly a steal. My experience using it has been smooth, with no major complaints. Although I do express disappointment in the cameras because they were supposed to be one of the main selling points, I am truly convinced that the impressive battery more than makes up for it. To be fair, I think the cameras’ performance has actually been much better than what you may expect from other phones at that price point.
If you’re looking for a phone that is reliable with not many frills, this will definitely be the one for you. Bonus points if you love taking selfies.