Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Review: A Solid Budget Smartphone

Karamchand Rameshwar - Dec 21, 2018


Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Review: A Solid Budget Smartphone

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 is an all-around upgrade to the Max Pro M1 with stylish, premium design, solid rear camera setup and a competitive price.

The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 is a great work of the Chinese brand. It not only is a worthy competitor to the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro but also helps Asus back to the high-level competition. Only 6 months after releasing the Zenfone Max Pro M1, Asus just launched its successor, the ZenFone Max Pro M2. The new smartphone is to us a significant upgrade to the Pro M1 and will be a force to be reckoned with in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment. The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is available in the Indian market today, and this review will help you to get a good understanding of the phone.

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Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2: Performance and Software

It appears that ASUS has phased out its own ZenUI and replaced it with a stock Android. The ZenFone Max Pro comes with Android 8.1 Oreo and is expected to get the Android Pie update in the next month.

The phone has 2 ZenMotion gestures that allow you to turn off the display or wake it by double tapping the screen, but it is reported to be unreliable, requiring many attempts to make the gestures work. And that was not the only bug we noticed. The shutter button on its camera app was not really responsive and even required me to press a second time. But it is even more annoying when I wanted to view a photo in the photo gallery after shooting some pictures. Doing so would cause the brightness to automatically dim aggressively, and every time I got the bug, I had to raise the brightness manually.

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In the performance department, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 comes with a Snapdragon 660 SoC with three variants, 3GB of RAM/32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM/64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM/64GB of storage. The phone we used to review was the base variant with 53GB of internal storage available out of the box. But don’t worry, you can still expand the storage up to 2TB.

Its powerful SoC and stock version of Android are just a great combination, making the multi-tasking, gaming and interface very smooth. Its fingerprint scanner is pretty fast and also responsive. Besides that, you can also unlock the phone with the Face ID system though it may take you a little more time but it won’t be too long. The phone doesn’t have Infrared sensor so the Face ID feature would be useless under low-light conditions.

One of the most prominent highlights of the handset is its massive 5,000 mAh battery. With that much battery capacity, the phone will likely be able to last in 6 to 7 hours of screen on time on this phone. The phone also managed to last 19 hours and 41 minutes in our video loop battery drain test. Sadly, the phone doesn’t have support for fast charging tech, with the included charger taking almost 3 hours just to fully recharge the phone.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2: Design and display

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 actually has a pretty good design for a budget device. Asus has fully overhauled the metal design on the ZenFone Max Pro F1, and they placed that with a new curved glass back finish. The colour variant of the phone we reviewed was the Blue which is a mix of deep blue and ash grey, and it looks gorgeous.

Zenfone Max Pro M2

Its back panel can reflect light in many patterns, and it was comfortable to use with our hands. Its curves make the phone more grippable than the majority of phones with a glass back I have tried in 2018. But I would say it is still better to put a case on the phone to avoid both mishaps and getting the phone filled with smudges.

There is a dual camera system on the rear placed vertically and a LED flash with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The phone supports two nano SIM along with a microSD slot and a headphone jack. Sadly, Asus still keeps its old micro-USB port, which other phone makers already replace for the new USB Type-C.

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The Max Pro M2 sports a 6.26-inch Full-HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. It also has a small notch on the screen which accommodates a selfie camera, a LED flash, sensors and a LED for notification. Its screen displays deep contrasts, sharp text as well as good viewing angles, making the phone a decent choice for watching video and reading as well. Asus adds an Ambient display feature but only for notification and it can’t work as an always-on display. It also has a unique feature, Gorilla Glass 6 protect, that Asus claims that it is the only device on the budget segment to have it.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2: Cameras

There is a dual rear camera system on the Max Pro M2, including a combination of 12MP f1.8 main sensor and a secondary depth sensor. Its rear camera setup supports 4K video recording, EIS and AI-based scene detection. Users can take selfies with its front-facing camera of a 13MP sensor with an f2.0 aperture. Its camera will have some new features like filters and beauty mode option or shooting mode, but still, its interface is kind of outdated now, with silly-located icons.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 2

In terms of camera quality, the camera setup on the Max Pro M2 is probably the best ones in the budget segment so far. Its cameras can consistently churn out sharp.

In terms of photo quality, the color of the photos are a little bit oversaturated which may bother to some people but should be good enough for regular users who just want to share their pictures on the social media.

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Its portrait mode exceeded my expectation as well. The camera did a good job of detecting edges, and the bokeh photos taken by the phone is impressive as well. Portrait mode pictures were not really grainy also, which is still an issue in some high-end smartphones. In low-light conditions, the photos seem quite noisy but still usable, provided the subject is still as the slightest movement may cause motion blur.

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The selfie camera was quite a let down compared to its counterparts on the rear, with skin appearing whitened and over-smoothened even though we already turned off the beauty mode. The photos appeared to be washed out also in some cases. The camera doesn’t support portrait mode, but Asus promises to deliver the feature along with EIS in a later update.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2: Final thoughts

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is a good upgrade over the ZenFone Max Pro M1 in all aspects. Moreover, it is also a strong contender to the likes of Honor 8x, Realme 2 Pro, and Redmi Note 6 Pro in the budget smartphone segment. Asus offers the Max Pro M2 at a very competitive price -- starting from Rs. 12,999 for the low-end variant and up to Rs. 16,999 for the top-end model. The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is probably the last Asus phone launching in 2018, marking a successful year a for Asus. Hopefully, Asus can keep this streak going to the upcoming year.

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