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Taiwan is seeming more and more of a contender in the smartphone market as they release another entrant into the mid-range department. Do they have another convincing offer? Let’s find out.

In an attempt to win over more of the many-in-one market share, Asus unveils the Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 not to be confused with the Zenfone 3 Max and the Zenfone 3 Laser.

Design

This beefier brother of the Max is clad in metal with plastic caps for the top and bottom backing to make way for signal reception. No camera hump here as Asus decided to fill the remaining space in battery which we will get to in a while. The finger print sensor can be found right below the rear facing camera setup.

The backing rounds out towards the front to meet the 2.5d curved Gorilla Glass 4.

The power button can be located on the right side below the volume rocker and the opposite end houses the hybrid dual nano SIM slot. It’s non back-lit capacitive keys for navigation.

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On the other hand, the Huawei P9 Lite shares similar qualities only that it is clad in plastic that meets a rounded chamfered metal frame. The Camera is positioned at the top left corner emulating some cues from its bigger sibling. The upper middle portion houses the fingerprint scanner.

It’s all flat front protection with a chin that houses the Huawei logo which means on-screen navigation for this phone.

Both units will be housing the 3.5mm headphone jack up top and the speaker grill with the micro-usb port at the bottom.

Though Huawei’s design look good from afar, we have to give props to Asus with a cleaner look overall and utilizing the chin space apart from brandishing a logo.

Display

The main difference of the display of both our contenders will be the size where the P9 Lite will be sporting a 5.2 inch IPS LCD display compared to the 5.5inches of the same for the Zenfone 3 Max. This will mean it will only be 401 ppi for the Max compared to the 424ppi for the P9 Lite though the difference is hardly noticeable except when zoomed in to the image.

It’s a touch brighter for the Max with colors leaning towards yellow compared to the P9 Lite with a reddish hue overall. Both will still be legible even when being used in broad daylight.

We’re giving this one a tie.

Camera

The improved Zenfone 3 Max will be utilizing a 16MP camera set at f/2.0 into the fight over the 13MP at the same aperture for the P9 Lite. What may seem like a big advantage on paper does not necessarily mean better quality overall.

Both can perform reasonably well with day-lit shots but the Zenfone 3 Max had a little bit of struggle in capturing more details seen here compared to the dynamic range and better color reproduction on the P9 Lite. Another outdoor shot resulted in paler version for the Zenfone 3 Max compared to the color accurate version for the P9 Lite.

Indoor shots with decent lighting was even more of a struggle for the Max that resulted in grainy images seen here with some troubles in focusing compared to the P9 Lite that did very well.

Low light scenarios resulted in the same grainy foreground for the Zenfone 3 Max compared to better handling on the P9 Lite.

Filling the image with flash took in more details of the photo from the P9 Lite compared to a rather soft tone for the Zenfone 3 Max.

Selfies are softer on the Zenfone 3 Max with some loss on sharpness due to post processing compared to a slightly pale version of my face but with better details overall on the P9 Lite

Both units can record up to 1080p at 30fps with better processing overall for the P9 Lite clad in digital image stabilization.

The clear winner here will be the P9 Lite.

PERFORMANCE

Antutu benchmark shows that P9 Lite’s HiSilicon Kirin 650 pulls ahead of the Zenfone 3 Max’s Snapdragon 430 by about 6k points. The same can be said in playing graphic intensive games like Assassin’s creed pirates , nova 3, and dead trigger 2 with settings maxed out where the P9 Lite resulted in smoother gameplay while the Zenfone 3 Max had the occasional frame drops. A good example of the P9 Lite’s capabilities shone through in playing Real Racing 3 that was a big struggle for the Max.

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The clear winner here will be the P9 Lite.

BATTERY

The headliner for the Zenfone 3 Max will be in the endurance department what with its 4100mAh of long lasting capabilities.

With no support for quick charge or fast charging in either devices, both will require at least 3 hours to fully recharge from 0. Keeping in mind that the battery difference clocks in at about 1100mAh more in favor of the Zenfone 3 Max.

Screen-on-time was a bit of a head scratcher as the P9 Lite clocked in 4.5 hours over the 4 hours for the Zenfone 3 Max. We reached out to Asus and said this can be addressed in the next software update.

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Additionally, the Zenfone 3 Max can double as a powerbank with its proprietary reverse charging dongle from micro USB to USB A.

The winner here will be the Zenfone Max 3.

PRICING & VERDICT

The Huawei P9 lite is priced at P11,990 or $250 while Asus Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 is estimated to arrive at P12,995 – P13,995 pesos or about $300 USD.

At about an estimated PHP 1000 difference, it’s difficult to dismiss the Zenfone 3 Max as a reliable powerbrick of a phone.

What do you think of our contenders this round? Let us know at the comments section below.

Mabuhay, Manila.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/4JMwsWnufaA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 vs Huawei P9 Lite Comparison + Video Review

Full Specs

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.5

Huawei P9 Lite

Display5.5-inch 1080p Full HD, 401pi5.2-inch Full HD 1080p IPS LCD, 424ppi
DesignMetal + 2.5D curved glassUnibody metal, scratch-resistant
ChipsetSnapdragon 430 (2016 mid-range chip)HiSilicon Kirin 650 (2016 mid-range chip)
CPUocta-core at 1.4GHz speedOcta-core Cortex A53 @ 2.0GHz speed
ChipsetAdreno 505 GPUMali T830 MP2 graphics
Memory3/4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, dedicated microSD card slot3GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, hybrid microSD card slot
Camera16MP, f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, laser focus assistance, 1080p video13MP f2.0, dual tone LED flash, 1080p video
Selfie8MP f2.28MP f2.0
Connectivity4G LTE Cat. 6 at 300Mbps speed, dual-SIM (hybrid), GPS, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.1Dual SIM, 4G LTE, WiFi n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC
SecurityFingerprint scannerFingerprint scanner
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUIAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow, Emotion UI 4.1
Battery4,100 mAh, reverse charging3000mAh battery capacity
Ports and chargingmicroUSB 2.0, USB OTG, 3.55mm headphone jackmicroUSB 2.0, USB OTG, 3.55mm headphone jack
AudioMono speaker, standardMono speaker, high-res 24bit
Release Dateestimated November 2016 availability ZC553KL in the Philippines, India, China, IndonesiaJune 2016 availability in the Philippines
Official priceofficial 10,995 pesos SRP or $300 to $220 USD via Asus PhilippinesP11,990 ($250US) pesos

4 COMMENTS

  1. nice review dude. shame on asus. di ko inaasahan yung screen on time na yun. at 12k price tag dpat na utilize na nilang mabuti yung software. ang problema ko lang sa huawei e yung chin niya na wla namang purpose. kung may on screen buttons naman sna tinapyasan nila yung chin. mas prefer ko smaller screen at thinner body

  2. The Zen3 Max 5.5 has already had 2 updates since. Those 2 updates
    both had camera performance enhancements. It would be nice to have this review updated. And I also get about 10 hours screen time on wifi, 8 hours on data.

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