The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 proved to be a huge success for Asus, and it helped the brand gain back its lost traction in the Indian smartphone market. The Max Pro M1 did not have any fancy features that were trending in the smartphone industry at the time, such as a glass design and a notched display. Instead, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 focused on the basics. It had a large battery, a powerful processor, and stock Android OS. These are actual features that matter (to most people). As a result, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 became an immediate hit upon its launch and was sold in high numbers.
Asus has now launched the Zenfone Max Pro M2, which is based on the same formula as its predecessor. It starts at INR 12,999 for the base variant and goes up to INR 16,999 for the top of the line variant. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 offers the most powerful processor in its price segment, the Snapdragon 660. It is also the first smartphone at this end of the market to offer Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection over the display. It carries over the same massive 5000mAh battery and stock Android OS from its predecessor. On paper, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 certainly looks promising. Let’s see if it has what it takes to become the next budget champion.
[P_REVIEW post_id=145248 visual=’full’]
In the Box
- 10W Charger
- MicroUSB Cable
- Silicone Case
- SIM Ejector Tool
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2: Design and Build Quality
The first thing you’ll notice when you hold the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is how lightweight the device is in spite of its massive 5000mAh battery. It weighs just 175 grams, which is significantly lower than most other smartphones with a similar battery pack. Due to its lightweight design, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 feels very comfortable to hold.
Moving on to the design, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 looks nothing like its predecessor. It has a bezel-less display, and a glossy finish on the back panel, giving the device a modern outfit. However, don’t let the glossy back confuse you with a glass back. This one is just a finish over a plastic panel, and unlike real glass, the glossy finish is very much prone to scratches.
I use smartphones very carefully, and even then, the glossy back panel of the Zenfone Max Pro M2 took no more than a day to get scratched. Using a case won’t help you either. Even the tiniest dust particles that get between the case and the device can scratch the glossy back panel of the Zenfone Max Pro M2. I think Asus should have just stuck to the metal back panel. That being said, the device at least feels solid in hand and gives you a premium feel. The placement of buttons and ports is ergonomic as well.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Display
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 6.26-inch IPS LCD with Full HD+ resolution. This time around, Asus has given the display a nearly bezel-less design to make the device look modern and to keep its design in line with its competitors. As you might expect, there is a notch at the top of the display. Fortunately, the notch is smaller than what most of its competitors have. Take the Motorola Moto One Power for example. It has a large notch, due to which it does not have enough space to show VoLTE, as well as, other notification icons. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 does not suffer from that problem.
Although the nearly bezel-less design and a smaller notch are great, they aren’t the most interesting part of the display. The most interesting part is that the screen has Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection. Usually, only high-end smartphones have this feature, but Asus has somehow managed to pack it in this affordable device. The Gorilla Glass 6 is a lot more impact resistant than the Gorilla Glass 3 that you find on most budget smartphones. During the review period, I dropped the Zenfone Max Pro M2 accidentally a couple of times, but the device stayed intact. I am not saying it was because of Gorilla Glass 6, all I am saying is that it survived those minor drops, and I am sure it can survive a lot more. Let’s look at display quality now.
The display has a good amount of brightness, Therefore, viewing it under direct sunlight is not an issue. The color tone is on the vibrant side, which makes the display look appealing to the eyes. Being an IPS panel, the viewing angles are superb. Although the display quality of the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is similar to its competitors, the fact that it has Gorilla Glass 6 protection gives it an edge over the others. Hence, I think it is safe to say that the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has the best display in its price segment.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Camera
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 12MP + 5MP dual-camera at the rear. The camera hardware is slightly upgraded as compared to its predecessor. The 12MP camera has f/1.8 aperture and 1.25µm pixel size as opposed to f/2.0 aperture and 1.12 µm pixel size of the 16MP camera in the Zenfone Max Pro M1. The 5MP depth-sensor, however, remains unchanged. Theoretically, the increased aperture and pixel size should result in brighter images and overall quality improvement. Let us see if that holds in reality.
The daylight images taken with the primary camera of the Zenfone Max Pro M2 are decently bright, they have an acceptable amount of details and dynamic range, and the colors are fairly vibrant, but that is all. The daylight image quality is just average for the price. We expected the images to have more details, brightness, and dynamic range. We expected the Max Pro M2 to blow out the competition, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
The lowlight image quality of the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is not impressive either. The camera keeps the shutter speed slow to take brighter images, but that makes the moving objects blurry. Sometimes, due to the slow shutter speed, the whole image comes out blurry as the camera registers even the tiniest shake while taking the photo. The dynamic range also goes for a toss during lowlight condition. As for the good bits, the noise is contained well, and the images have a decent amount of details.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 doesn’t have an auto HDR mode; you will have to switch to the HDR mode manually to take HDR images. The images taken in HDR mode do come out with a better dynamic range, but taking images in HDR mode also introduce some noise into the photos, doesn’t matter if it is daylight or lowlight. Therefore, I think it is best to stick to the auto mode. As for the portrait images, they have excellent background blur and edge detection. They are on par with the portrait images from other smartphones in the price range.
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 can record videos up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second. The 4K videos taken in the daylight have a good amount of details, vibrant colors, and most importantly they are jitter-free. The videos are smooth even in lowlight. However, they are not bright enough and therefore, you don’t get as many details, but that is the case with every other smartphone in the price range. Overall, the video quality is excellent and one of the best among its competitors.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a 13MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture. The images taken from it in the daylight come out bright, detailed, and vibrant. The dynamic range is good as well. The pictures taken in lowlight are also bright and vibrant. However, there is a fair amount of noise due to which you get as many details as you do in daylight. Even though, the images are still as good as you get from any other competing smartphone. The front-facing camera, however, does not have portrait mode. I don’t have a problem with it, but for those who need portrait mode should look elsewhere.
The front-facing camera of the Zenfone Max Pro M2 can record Full HD videos at 30 frames per second. There is also an EIS option available with the Full HD videos. Thanks to it, the videos come out very steady. These videos have an excellent amount of details. The brightness, color vibrancy, and dynamic range are good as well.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Performance
The most interesting aspect of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is that it comes with the Snapdragon 660 processor, making it the most powerful smartphone in the segment. To make things even better, you get the same stock Android experience as its predecessor, meaning, there is no bloatware of any kind to slow-down the smartphone. Both combined, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has an excellent performance.
The smartphone is fast and offers smooth animations. It does not lag or jitter even under heavy multitasking. In my opinion, the Max Pro M2 is as smooth as some of the high-end flagship smartphones out there. The gaming on the device is also very smooth. Most graphics intensive games run without any frame drop. Also, the device does not overheat even during long gaming sessions.
The device that we are reviewing has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. However, we have also used 3GB RAM and 6GB RAM variants. The 3GB RAM variant does hiccup sometimes. As for the 6GB RAM variant, it felt similar to the 4GB RAM variant.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo OS. As I’ve mentioned earlier, you don’t get any bloatware or third-party applications with the device. However, at the same time, you miss out on some of the features that you get with customized UIs, such as, application lock, dual-apps, dark mode, etc. That being said, I think having a bloatware-free stock Android OS is worth sacrificing those features. I wish the device had Android 9 Pie, but Asus has promised to roll out the update soon, so there is no reason to complain here.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Connectivity, Audio, and Security
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 still uses the old microUSB port instead of the new USB Type-C port. People had the same complaint with the Zenfone Max Pro M1. I thought Asus would fix it with the Zenfone Max Pro M2, but it didn’t. It is not like the USB Type-C port costs more; it has the same manufacturing cost as the microUSB port, but for some mysterious reason Asus didn’t opt for it. Anyway, I am disappointed due to the lack of USB Type-C port.
Moving on to the other connectivity options, the device supports VoLTE on both SIM cards simultaneously. There are no issues with network reception. The earpiece and microphone work without any problems too; people on either side of the call could hear properly. The device has dual-band Wi-Fi ac, GPS, and Bluetooth v5.0, all of which work as they should. There is also a hybrid microSD card slot to expand the storage.
Coming to the audio, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a bottom mounted speaker and a 3.5 audio jack. The sound from the bottom mounted speaker is loud and clear; similar to most competing smartphones I would say. As for the 3.5mm audio jack, I was quite impressed with its performance. It has high volume levels, and the audio quality itself is excellent. Although I am not an audiophile, I know the difference between good and bad sound quality, and in my opinion, the audio from the headphone jack is balanced. The same cannot be said for most other smartphones in the price range.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. It is fast, accurate, and very consistent. Unlike many new smartphones in the price segment, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 does not feature face unlock. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter, because the face unlock is not a secure option to unlock your smartphone.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Battery
One of the main reasons why people loved the Zenfone Max Pro M1 was its massive 5000mAh battery. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 is no different; it has the same 5000mAh battery pack as its predecessor.
During the review period, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 offered me about 36 to 40 hours of battery backup with about 6 to 7 hours of screen on time. These figures are slightly lower than what the Zenfone Max Pro M1 offered, and I think the main cause behind it is that the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a more power-hungry processor than its predecessor. Even though the battery backup is lower than its predecessor, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 still offers one of the best battery backups in the smartphone market.
There is however one major drawback with the battery section, and that is, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a very slow charging speed. It still charges at a rate of 10W just like its predecessor. It takes almost 3 hours for the device to charge from zero to hundred percent. Many other smartphones in the same price range have a faster charging option. Take the Motorola Moto One Power for example; it features 15W fast charging. Even the more affordable Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro features 18W Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging. This lack of fast is not a deal-breaker, but it would have made the overall user experience even better.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Review: Verdict
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 offers the fastest and the smoothest performance in its price segment. The device also has one of the best battery backups among all the smartphones. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 may not be the segment leader when it comes to cameras, but it definitely has one of the best performing cameras in its price. Then there is also an excellent display, bloatware-free stock Android UI, and an excellent audio quality. Considering all this, it is safe to say that the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is the best smartphone in its price segment.
Sure, it has a couple of drawbacks, such as, the lack of USB Type-C port, the absence of fast charging, and a glossy back that is prone to scratches, but at this price, one device cannot have it all. You will have to choose the one that offers the best combination of features, and the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is that smartphone.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2₹12,999
Design and Build Quality8.0/10
Value for Money9.0/10
What Is Good?
- Segment-leading performance
- Bloatware-free stock Android UI
- Great battery backup
- Excellent display
- Great value for money
What Is Bad?
- Lacks USB Type-C port
- Lacks fast charging
- Rear panel prone to scratches