You can call Asus ZenFone Max M2 as the younger sibling of Zenfone Max Pro M2 and the successor of ZenFone Max M1 (Read Review). ZenFone Max M series brought back Asus to the smartphone market with a bang and they are in no mood to let it go. We have already reviewed the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 (Read Review) and here is the review of the younger sibling. As with all of our reviews, We have used the device for more than a week as our primary device.
Check out the hardware specifications of the phone before we dive into the review of the device:
ASUS Zenfone Max M2 specifications
- Display: 6.26-inch HD+, 1520 x 720 pixels, IPS, Notch design, 19:9 aspect ratio
- Memory: 3GB/4GB RAM
- Storage: 32GB/64GB ROM + dedicated microSD card slot
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
- Rear Cameras: 13MP + 2MP , LED Flash
- Selfie Camera: 13MP
- Battery: 5,000 mAh
- Connectivity: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB, WIFI 802.11b WIFI 802.11g WIFI 802.11n Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- Security: Fingerprint scanner
- Dimensions: 158.41 x 76.28 x 7.70 mm
- Weight: 160g
Asus ZenFone Max M2 Design and Build Quality
Zenfone Max M2 brings the wider notch with the HD+ display with a screen size of 6.26-inch. We would have preferred a Full HD+ display instead of just the HD+ Display. In terms of design, it looks just like most smartphones in this price range, yet it appears decent. The rear panel though is a dust/fingerprint magnet and can easily get dirty. The dual camera module aligned on the top left side with LED flash looks sleek. The fingerprint sensor is placed in the middle i.e. the usual position for the fingerprint sensor, with Asus branding beneath. On the front, there are on-screen navigation buttons with small bezels at the side while a bit big bezel at the bottom. Unfortunately, Asus is not offering the Gorilla Glass 6 protection as it did for the Pro variant.
Asus ZenFone Max M2 Performance, Battery life
Zenfone Max M2 is powered by the decent Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 which offers good performance coupled with stock Android operating system. The Pro variant comes with Snapdragon 660 and if you have used it, you can feel the slight difference in performance. In spite of that, the performance of the phone was snappy and we used it without any issues during our entire review period of two weeks.
Coming to Benchmark Scores, we were unable to run Antutu Benchmark on the phone as we were unable to install the app from Google Play store. As it happened with the Pro variant, Asus appears to have made it incompatible probably to block the leaking of Benchmarks ahead of official launch. We did manage to install Antutu Benchmarks by using the APK files and the results revealed an Antutu Score of ~103K+ for Zenfone Max M2 which is on the expected lines for Snapdragon 632.
Coming to gaming performance, we did manage to play PUBG with the graphics set at Balanced and frame rate set to Medium though it was not as smooth as the Max Pro M2.
Asus ZenFone Max M2 Camera
It features 13-MP primary sensor at rear with an f/1.8 aperture which is great if you just look at the f/1.8 aperture and should produce some good low light shots. There is a 2-MP secondary sensor which acts as a depth sensor accompanied by a single-LED flash. On the front, there is an 8MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture. As we said with Max Pro M2 review, there are some serious issues with the camera app when it comes to touch to focus feature. During our review, most of the time the touch to focus didn't work, both for front and rear cameras. The app though did come with a Pro Mode, HDR Mode, Sports Mode and Night mode.
In spite of that, the photos shot produced good colour reproduction but lower details. During low light conditions, it managed to offer better shots thanks to the f/1.8 aperture but there was still a lot of noise with low details. But again, for an entry-level smartphone, these shots are good. The Bokeh portrait images shot from the phone need practice before you can use it efficiently. The selfie camera too produced decent selfies for using it on social media channels.
Asus ZenFone Max M2 Software
As with Pro M2, this too runs on Android 8.1 (Oreo) stock Android operating system with no bloat or custom UI on top making it smoother than usual custom UI devices with the same hardware. As we have said often, We are biased towards stock Android. Even though the Camera App is better than what we have seen in Zenfone Max Pro M1, yet it needs a load of improvement.
We would have loved it more if it came with Android 9.0(Pie) but we assume that Asus may roll it out soon as OTA update as the Beta testing for the Android 9.0(Pie) for the Max Pro M2 is already live and may follow soon for the younger sibling.
Asus ZenFone Max M2 Battery life
Thanks to the 4,000 mAh battery, the phone performs great in terms of battery life. It manages to last for more than one day with aggressive usage that includes hotspot for a full day along with other usage include social networks, Gmail etc. along with some voice calls & camera usage. For average usage, it may easily last for one and half day. Still, we believe that if Asus does a bit of optimisation then it can last more.
With Asus Zenfone Max M2, Asus has managed to hit the right spots for an entry-level smartphone. In our opinion, the launch price of Rs. 9,999 was a bit on the higher side, but with the recent price reduction to Rs. 8,499 is a great buy. It offers an entry-level smartphone with Stock Android, Decent camera, Good Battery life and good performance.
- Stock Android
- Good Build and Design
- Good camera
- Big Battery
- Dedicated MicroSD Slot
- Camera App issues
- No Battery Saving modes
- NO Fast Charging support
- No Earphones in the Box