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Asus is quite succeeded in making affordable smartphones in the past couple of years in India. The company has also launched few premium models too which made a great noise in the country market. And now, Asus has come up with Zenfone 3 Max with an excellent battery to offer users much more for their bucks.

Interestingly, The Taiwanese PC manufacturer has launched the Zenfone 3 Max in 2 variants and let’s get into the Asus Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL) review, a 5.5-inch variant which is bigger among the offerings. The handset maker is trying to provide the best smartphone in the selling point since its launch of Zenfone range.

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The fact is that Asus users are a bit disappointed with the prices of Zenfone 3 series this year. And in this Asus Zenfone 3 Max review, let’s get to know about did it really put the disappointment to an end? Or do we need to spend the money just for the battery alone?

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Design:

Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC553KL design is pretty good and gets a premium look of the latest smartphone. It didn’t lose the design principles of the typical Asus smartphone which most of the fans like about. All of surprise, the regular plastic body is replaced by the full metal body with the light weight of 175 grams which stands as one of the stronger points.

New Zenfone 3 Max employs a hybrid SIM tray which accommodates a micro SIM, or a nano-SIM at a time.You can also choose to have a MicroSD card replacing the dual SIM feature. A fingerprint scanner is adjusted on the rear panel for quick access to unlock the phone. Volume rockers and Power button are placed on the right edge of the device. On the left side, Hybrid SIM slot makes in presence.

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An oleophobic coating on the display glass ensures you a smudge proof usage. You may notice a bit slippery experience bit it’s quite a good phone with the slim bezel to use it with one hand.

Display:

Coming to the display, the 5.5-inch variant of the Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL) sports an IPS capacitive touchscreen with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution and 2.5D glass. A thin 2.25mm bezel and 73% screen-to-body ratio cuts down the stupid bulk and gives you more display.

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Intense 450nits brightness on the specs sheet is supposed to provide a great viewing experience, which it has failed to in real time. Another remarkable feature in Zenfone 3 Max display is it generates too much of reflection.

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Images look excellent with the vibrant display, and the phone handles high-bit rate videos of 1080p just fine. Colors aren’t accurate and seem dull and lifeless lacking in contrast. Another flaw is Asus offering an IPS display is disappointing again which rest in the price segment are serving a better display.

Specs review:

Sadly, Asus has gone with the octa-core Snapdragon 430 processor for Zenfone Max 3 which comparatively low to Snapdragon 615 SoC in Zenfone Max. The chip lacks punch when it comes to heavy apps and games and handles the day-to-day tasks pretty well. Even Asus’s ZenUI keyboard is found not up to the mark and starts lagging after a while.

3 gigs of RAM and Adreno 505 GPU is also a failure, and you’ll find a frame drop outs and lag issues during heavy gaming. 32 GB of internal storage is provided which is expandable up to a maximum of 256GB. Asus Zenfone 3 Max ensures an excellent connectivity with Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, VoLTE, 4G, and FM radio.

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Overall the phone doesn’t have any significant issues and runs pretty smoothly for general tasks and some multitasking. It doesn’t have any heating issues either even in heavy gaming, and the sensor department is also found right in its range.

In benchmarks, the ZenFone 3 Max achieves similarly to its predecessor. We got 9326 points in 3DMark Ice Storm, 43,573 points in AnTuTu and 16fps in GFXbench’s T-Rex graphics test.

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Software:

Asus Zenfone 3 Max runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0 skin. The skins are a bit annoying as you see the bubbled up but the ‘Themes’ app has got some decent free themes to choose. There are also many utilities which come preinstalled and are nearly identical to Zenfone 3. The Mobile Manager app lets you manage notifications, clean up unused files and manage permissions for apps.

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You also get some pre-installed apps and games like Puffin and Instagram Need for Speed. Game Genie toolbar is equipped in ZenFone 3 Max which activates automatically in the game you choose. You can make use of the close background apps for better framerates and to record or stream gameplay live on Youtube.

Camera:

Asus ZenFone 3 Max is equipped well in the camera department. A 16 Megapixel sensor of f/2.0 aperture with dual tone LED flash and PDAF is provided on the rear is good at its Job in daylight usage. Colors are accurate and images could have been sharper.

Low-light shots are acceptable with little noise and the low-light mode employed really helps here. 8MP front facing the camera with a f/2.2 aperture is fair enough for selfies and video calling under good lighting conditions.

records quality videos up to 1080 pixels but the electronic stabilization for video works only till 720p resolution. Manual shooting mode allows you push the shutter speed up to 32 seconds.

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Battery:

Battery life is an outstanding feature in the series and ZenFone 3 Max continues it with massive 4100mAh battery. The battery served for more than 14 Hours in HD video loop test which is quite an impressive thing. On a heavy usage, it will easily get through up today and a half.

Customizable power modes allow you to kick in at designated times of the day automatically. ZenFone 3 Max lacks fast charging support, and as a result, it takes over 3 hours of time to the battery back to full charge. Reverse charging option is also enabled in the ZenFone 3 Max which is possible with the OTG adapter bundled with it.

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Pros:

  • Good design
  • Vibrant display
  • Capable cameras
  • Good battery life
  • Audio quality

Cons:

  • Fingerprint sensor not so good
  • Weak gaming performance
  • No Gorilla Glass
  • A bit expensive for this specs

Verdict:

Asus ZenFone 3 Max is an attempt to offer one stop solution for entry-level smartphone buyers. ZenFone 3 Max is essentially a battery centric device with premium looks and improved display and cameras. This could be a perfect competitor in the range and is definitely a better model than its younger sibling.

Where the question arises is that all what you get for a Rs.17,999 phone? Do we really need to comprise in all most all aspects in spite of paying that amount? Employing an entry-level SoC processor for this phone is the biggest mistake Asus could ever do.  Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL is still a good phone if you are looking for an essential functions smartphone with a good battery.