Home Tech Editorials ASUS ZenFone Max M1 Review – Battery King?

ASUS ZenFone Max M1 Review – Battery King?

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ASUS ZenFone Max M1 up for a review!

The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer ASUS released another handset which the company claims as a “Battery King”. This new ZenFone is actually a toned-down version of the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 that the company launched last January. With a more affordable price than its bigger brother, can we really call it a Battery King?

SPECSASUS ZenFone Max M1
Display5.5-inch HD+ IPS LCD display (1440×720 resolution), 292 ppi
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor
GPUAdreno 505
Memory3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage (up to 2TB via microSD card)
Rear Camera13-megapixel rear camera, f/2.0 aperture + 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with 120-degree FoV
Front Camera13-megapixel front camera, f/2.2 aperture
ConnectivityWiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Fingerprint Scanner, Face Unlock
Battery4000mAh battery with Asus Boost Master
OSAndroid Oreo 8.0 with ZenUI 5.0
PricePHP 8,995

Design

The new ASUS ZenFone Max M1 has a similar design and structure with its bigger sibling, a polycarbonate plastic build with a metallic finish. It measures 147.3 x 70.9 x 8.7 mm and weighs 150 g. It is pretty thick when you compare it with another midrange smartphone launched this year but it’s light when holding it. It also doesn’t have a notched-display like the recently launched ASUS smartphone, the Zenfone 5.

On the front side of the handset, there’s the 5.5-inch 18:9 HD+ display, a 13MP front-facing camera, the earpiece, and some sensors. Going to the rear, the dual cameras are positioned vertically at the top left together with its LED flash. There’s also a fingerprint sensor at the center. The ASUS logo is visible at the center rear part of the handset, just below the fingerprint scanner.

The volume rockers and power button are located at the right side and the hybrid slot at the opposite side. On top, there’s a headphone jack and a microphone. The speaker grilles, microphone, and micro USB port are positioned at the bottom bunk of the smartphone.

Display

Since this handset only comes with a resolution of 1440 x 720p, this may not be for people who love to watch movies in higher resolution. Going to its color vibrancy and accuracy, though it has low resolution it was able to show decent accuracy and color representation. Well, it offers good viewing angles for its price, thanks to the IPS panel.

We watched some music videos and movie trailers on this smartphone and it was able to take the colors well despite its resolution. It also doesn’t offer the brightest display in its price range. But when we took out this phone outside to shoot some photos, we didn’t encounter any viewing problems.

Camera

In the camera department, it comes with a 13 MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and spotlight LED flash. For taking selfies, it has an 8 MP snapper with 120 wide angle feature.

The first sample shot was taken on our verranda. The details are not that sharp and colors aren’t vibrant as well. The blues on the sky didn’t pop out – making the sky look dull.

This ASUS ZenFone handset also has a wide-lens option that lets you capture not just whatever’s in front of the camera, but also the bigger, wider space that used to be left out at the side of your photo due to lack of space. This feature is great if you want to capture wide shots but take note that the grains are noticeable on the wide shots from this smartphone.

Nighy-lit assisted shots aren’t great either. Some shots were okay but mostly were overexposed. Some night-lit assisted shots can be fixed through post-processing or just take photos using the Pro Mode.

The selfies, on the other hand, gave a bright and vibrant result. The beauty mode didn’t beautify the face in a weird way, instead, it slimmed down the face and made the subject’s face fair and smooth.  Users can also customize this feature – Soften skin, Brighten Skin, Enhance Eyes, and Thin Cheeks.

The portrait mode also doesn’t look artificial at all. It has a balance and right amount of bokeh effect. In addition, night-lit assisted selfies also looks decent. It produced balanced-tone selfies – not too bright and too dark results. What do you think?

Video recording can go up to 1080p at 30fps. The autofocus has a bit of a problem though color representation is the same with its rear shots. Not the best quality and color vibrancy but decent for its price.

Features/User Experience

It is powered by Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430 with Adreno 505 GPU, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. This smartphone runs on Android 8.0 (Oreo) with ZenUI 5.0.

We won’t say that this handset will give you the best graphics in gaming because it won’t but it can run light games that you would ask for smoothly. We played several games on the device, some of them were Counter Terrorist: Strike War, Asphalt 8, and PUBG. We encountered a few frame lags. In addition, the device heats up fast when playing Asphalt 8: Airborne.

We also had problems with its Face Unlock. It doesn’t work. We tried so many times just to make it work but failed. We thought that maybe the face wasn’t registered correctly so we did it again, then tried unlocking the phone again but still no luck. Our team did this for about 5 times just to make sure if it is really defective – the answer is yes, it is defective.  The fingerprint scanner, on the other hand, works decently.

Mundane tasks such as social media usage, browsing, text messaging, and phone navigating works smoothly and without hindrances. Multi-tasking on this device works like a charm as well. It also has features like kids mode, smart gestures, one-hand operation, power boost, and power master.

Benchmark

We tested the ASUS ZenFone Max M1 handset using the following benchmarking tools and here are the results:

BenchmarksASUS ZenFone Max M1
Antutu58138
Geekbench (single-core)669
Geekbench (multi-core)2483
PCMark Work3687

Battery

It carries a 4000mAh battery pack with Asus Boost Master. We’re a little disappointed in the battery department. Again, the company claims this smartphone as a “Battery King” but failed to show what was expected. We tested its battery life and expected the juice will last for a whole day since we just used it for taking photos and light social media usage – but it didn’t. After 10 hours of light usage, the power juice already ran out, which is disappointing considering the huge battery capacity.

BatteryASUS ZenFone Max M1
Battery4,000 mAh
Battery Life (Light usage)10 hrs 30 mins
Charging Time (20-100%)1h 38m

Audio

The ASUS ZenFone Max M1 has decent audio. It is loud enough considering its price. However, the sound gets scratchy when the volume is maxed out. Listen for yourselves.

Verdict

Unfortunately, this new ASUS ZenFone Max M1 did not meet our expectations, especially in the battery department. ASUS claims it to be a battery king but didn’t deliver its promise of long battery life. On the bright side, it was able to take great selfies even in low lighting conditions. It also has decent display despite its low resolution, and can play games smoothly. With its PHP 8,995 price tag, is this smartphone worth it?  If you ask us, it could’ve been better if they toned-down the price a little bit more since numerous smartphones from other brands offers greater performance in this price range..But it’s till up for you to decide. Will you get yourself a new Asus ZenFone Max M1? Or if you already have one, did you encounter the same difficulties like we did? Comment down below!

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