2 weeks ago, the ZenFone Max Plus graced the local shores for 11,995 and some freebies. Last year, we have had two notable battery monsters – the ZenFone 4 Max and the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. The ‘Plus’ suffix can be a bit misleading as it only carries a 4000mAh pack compared to the 5000mAh that the OG ZenFone 4 Max has. Updates and everything, what can this Max Plus variant do against the Mi Max 2?
|SPECS||ASUS ZenFone Max Plus||Xiaomi Mi Max 2|
|Display||5.5″ 1080 x 2160 IPS LCD (~424 ppi)||6.44″ 1080 x 1920 IPS LCD (~342 ppi)
Gorilla Glass 3
|Dimensions & Features||152.6 x 73 x 8.8 mm, 160g
Dual-SIM + microSD tray, metal unibody
|174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6 mm, 211g
Hybrid SIM tray, metal unibody
|Chipset||Mediatek MT6750T||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625|
|CPU||Octa-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53||Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|Memory||3 GB RAM, 32GB + microSD||4/6GB RAM, 64/128GB internal|
|Connectivity||LTE Cat. 16, 802.11ac, Wi-Fi Direct, BT 5.0, GPS, Stereo FM, USB 3.1 Type-C 1.0, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack (ESS Sabre ES9218P DAC)||LTE Cat. 5/4, 802.11ac, BT 4.2, GPS, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack|
Dual: 16 MP (f/2.0, 35mm) + 8 MP (17mm, no AF), phase detection autofocus, LED flash[Video]
2160p@30fps, Cine Log FormatFront:
5 MP (f/2.2, 1/5″, 1.12 µm)[Video]
Dual: 12 MP (f/1.6, 27mm, OIS) +20 MP (f/1.6, 27mm), 2x lossless zoom, Leica optics, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash[Video]
8 MP, f/2.0[Video]
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Po 3300mAh||Non-removable Li-Ion 4000mAh|
|OS||Android 8.0 (Oreo)
LG UX 6.0+
|SRP||PhP 42,000.00/$840||PhP 38,990/$660|
The most noticeable difference would be the form factor. The Mi Max 2 is more of a phablet than a smartphone with its humongous display to fit the large battery pack which we’ll get to later. The ZenFone Max Plus retains the shape of base Max design.
The “upgrade”, which may not be for everyone, is the move to an 18:9 display. With this, the recessed fingerprint scanner is moved to the back. The Max Plus is still as thick with all the necessities. The faux-stereo setup is still there with a microUSB port. Thankfully, there is still a 3.5mm audio jack on top along with the other mic.
The Mi Max 2 incorporates a stealthy design with a flat finish and less-protruding buttons. Apart from the Type-C port, there is also an IR blaster.
With the displays, the Mi Max 2’s FHD resolution is appropriated for its 6.44-inch display which dwarfs the ZenFone Max Plus’s HD 5.5-inch display. Watching them side-by-side, the Mi Max 2’s IPS LCD is more vibrant and has more contrast compared to the ZenFone Max Plus’s. Generally, viewing videos, playing games and the like are better on the Mi Max 2. The major downside that I have experienced with it is when it is used lying down due to the sheer size of the phone. That aside, the ZenFone Max Plus still produces great colors, making it suitable for the price that it is being offered for.
The MIUI 9 update made it into our Mi Max 2, and honestly, it is far better than the ZenFone Max Plus’s ZenUI 4.0. Sure, we have reviewed the ZenFone 4’s of last year, but this was a total outlier in terms of response. I have no gripe with the design, then again, once you look into the MIUI 9 with the Mi Max 2, it’s responsive, intuitive, and more animated.
The one possible reason that I could come up with at the moment is that ASUS has not optimized ZenUI on Mediatek since their releases last year were purely on Snapdragon’s SoC’s. It might take some time before this becomes optimized, but overall, the Max Plus is still a great phone on its own.
As for the cameras, the ZenFone Max Plus redeemed itself with decent color capture and contrast ratios. Photos are best when taken midday and seem to be on par with the Mi Max 2’s. As for the wide angle lens, they are not the best, but it does the job.
The selfie camera on the Mi Max 2 is better in a lot of scenarios, being careful enough to not overexpose areas of the subject’s face. That being said, the ZenFone Max Plus’s is also decent but tends to overcompensate especially in low-lighting.
I have mentioned earlier that ZenUI 4.0 or Nougat itself is a mess on the ZenFone Max Plus at the moment, and this translated to having less synthetic scores compared to the Mi Max 2. Sure, some of you might argue that it is just because that the Mi Max 2 has a Snapdragon 625 chipset in it, but we have definitely seen the 6750T chipset perform better in the likes of OPPO’s F3.
|Device||AnTuTu||PCMark Work 2.0||Geekbench||Androbench|
|ASUS Zenfone Max Plus||42351||2817||SC: 615
|Seq. Read: 272.12MB/s
Seq. Write: 73.46MB/s
Ran. Read: 36.94MB/s
|Xiaomi Mi Max 2||63838||4707||SC: 867
|Seq. Read: 270.35MB/s
Seq. Write: 140.77MB/s
Ran. Read: 37.46MB/s
Even if the large pack that the Max Plus carries is paired with a low-power chipset, this is the third time that I’m going to say it, but this time, directly – ASUS, fix this quick. The Max Plus holds so much potential in this market and it would be a shame if this would fall on deaf ears. The Mi Max 2 on the other hand, lasted shorter than it did on MIUI 8, but that’s the price of upgrading to Nougat even with its long list of further optimizations.
|Device||Battery||MS Battery Rating||Charging-Time (0-100)|
|ASUS Zenfone Max Plus||4130mAh||29h 48m||2h 15m|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 8||5300mAh||64h 13m||2h 29m|
The Mi Max 2 also has the same faux-stereo holes on the bottom but the earpiece actually works as a tweeter for a separated effect but with a mono output. Clarity goes to the Mi Max 2 but the Outdoor Mode on the Max Plus actually makes it more viable for room volume.
With a headphone plugged in, the Max Plus takes the lead with its AudioWizard. It’s not for enthusiasts, but its better than having nothing for tuning your audio the way you like it for long commutes and work sessions.
Cop the ZenFone Max Plus for its:
- Pocket-friendly size
- Lower price
- Support + Warranty
And for the Mi Max 2, get one if you’re into:
At the moment, it’s quite hard to make a call on which phone to pick over the other since the ZenFone Max Plus still holds potential in the software department. That – time will tell.