Asus Zenfone Max M2 review: Close but not cigar
It might have been a late entrant in the hyper-competitive budget smartphone market but Asus seems to be determined to make a statement. In early 2018, it launched the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 in early 2018. The smartphone gained popularity among the smartphone users in the country. The company then introduced Asus Zenfone Max M1 in the sub-Rs 10k category. The Taiwanese smartphone maker now has a new offering in this price segment. It has launched successor to Zenfone Max M1.
Called the Asus Zenfone Max M2, the handset comes with a starting price of Rs 9,999. The smartphone comes in two different variants – 3GB RAM with 32GB storage and 4GB RAM with 64GB internal storage. Asus Zenfone Max M2 comes in two colour options- Blue and Black. We used the Black colour variant for quite some time and like every smartphone, it too comes with both pros and cons. Here’s our detailed review.
Asus Zenfone Max M2 : Design and display
At first glance, the Asus Zenfone Max M2 looks very similar to the Asus Zenfone Max M1, except that the screen is bigger and comes with a notch. The smartphone comes with plastic body and a metal panel on the rear side. Though the front display is not smudge free and one has to rub off the fingerprints, the back side is relatively less messy when it comes to cleaning (that’s probably just because of the plastic frame).
Compared to its predecessor, Asus Zenfone Max M2 feels bigger in the hands. Its side bezels are relatively thinner, while there is a chin at the bottom of the phone. On the top of the device is the popular notch housing the front camera, earpiece and LED flash. There is notification LED as well. Continuing the top march, one will find the 3.5mm headphone jack placed at the top-left side of the phone.
To the right side are the volume rockers along with power button placed below it. On the left side is the SIM tray card which comes with triple card slot – 2 SIM and 1 micro SD card.
At its bottom side is the micro USB charging port and single speaker vents. The rear side flaunts the vertically aligned dual camera setup. The LED flash is placed right below the camera. There is also the fingerprint sensor at the back with Asus branding done below it.
As stated previously, except for the larger screen and notch, the phone is similar to its predecessor Asus Zenfone Max M2. It scores average in looks like any budget smartphone.
Asus Zenfone Max M2 features a 6.26-inch HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. Users also get iPhone X-like notch on the top. The display quality is quite satisfactory, specially at the given price. Using it in daylight was easy, thanks to the adaptive brightness. Watching videos on the big screen does add to the viewing experience when compared to the predecessor Asus Zenfone Max M1.
Asus Zenfone Max M2 : Performance
Coming to the performance, Asus Zenfone Max M2 with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset will not disappoint you. In its price segment, the handset just delivers fine performance. Multitasking for regular smartphone usage like WhatsApp, social media browsing or camera was smooth and we did not encounter any problem. The apps launched quite well on time. You may encounter some staggering while using heavy apps, but for an average user, the phone is a satisfactory performer.
The user interface was smooth and easy. Asus Zenfone Max M2 runs on stock Android which is good for a user with minimalistic needs. But those wanting more from their smartphone may find the stock Android less useful. The handset runs on Android Oreo. The company has promised Android Pie update and may announce the roll out soon this year
Besides, the phone features both face unlock and fingerprint sensor for security. The response time was pretty fast for both face ID and fingerprint reader in unlocking the phone. Notably, the face ID work well in low light areas as well.
We did not encounter any network problem or issues like call drops while on call. Audio quality was fine too. We ran a couple of benchmark tests on the device. It scored 1,200 and 4,467 scores in single-core and multi-core tests, respectively on GeekBench. AnTuTu could not be installed on the device.
Asus Zenfone Max M2 : Camera
Asus Zenfone Max M2 offers a 13-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture at the back. There is also a secondary 2-megapixel depth sensor with LED flash. On the front, there is an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash for selfies. We were a bit disappointed with the images captured by the phone. The colours look faded and objects lack in detail. The camera filters images to the extent that they lose their originality and seems superficial. The depth effect, on the other hand, was just about average. In fact, it makes images look very unrealistic. This was for the daylight shots. Coming to the night shots, the phone struggled to lock shots in low-light conditions. Again the quality of images was not that impressive. Instead, images were blurry and lacked detail.
The selfie lovers, though may not be that disappointed with the front camera. It clicks reasonably good photos that are likeable enough to share on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and more. Different modes that the front camera come equipped with are Beauty, Portrait mode and depth effect mode and EIS support.
Asus Zenfone Max M2 : Battery
One thing that Asus smartphones are best known for are the battery backup. We can safely say that the same holds true for Asus Zenfone Max M2. It houses a 4000mAh battery and with moderate usage, it lasts about a day and a half. The battery life reduces to a day with heavy usage. The handset takes near two hours to get fully charged. At its price segment, the battery offered by it is more than satisfactory.
Asus Zenfone Max M2 is definitely a good upgrade to its predecessor Zenfone Max M1. With bigger display, and faster processor, the phone is a good buy in the sub-Rs 10,000 price segment. The phone is easy for single hand use and looks decent. The quick and effective security features are add-ons that may attract buyers. The only disappointment can be the camera.
The smartphone with its price tag of Rs 9,999 faces competition from Xiaomi Redmi 6, Redmi 6 Pro, Realme 2, Honor C and Vivo Y9.