Last year, Asus got back into the entry-level smartphone market by introducing the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 with aggressive pricing, great hardware and Android Stock Android operating system (Read Review here). Now, they are back with the second generation in Max Pro M series with Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2. We have used the device for a full two weeks for this review and we will see if it manages to create the same buzz as we saw with the first generation.

Check out the hardware specifications of the phone before we dive into the review of the device:

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M2 technical specifications

  • Display: 6.3-inch Full HD+, 2280 x 1080 pixels, IPS LCD, Notch design, 19:9 aspect ratio, Gorilla Glass 6
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB + dedicated microSD card slot
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
  • Rear Cameras: 12MP Sony IMX 486 sensor, an f/1.8 aperture + 5MP, 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
  • Model number: ZB631KL
  • Dimensions: 157.90 x 75.50 x 8.50 mm
  • Weight: 170g

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Design and Build Quality

Zenfone Max Pro M2 brings the usual notch display having the screen size of 6.3-inch. IN terms of design, it manages to offer slightly premium feel with a glossy resin-based exterior which in fact is made of plastic but comes with a shiny reflective surface. The rear panel though is a fingerprint magnet and can easily get dirty if not used properly. The size of the phone may appear too big for many users and may not be suitable for one-handed use. Yet after using it for 1-2 weeks, you may find it convenient enough.

The dual camera module aligned on the top left side with LED flash may give some a false impression of a triple camera module. The fingerprint sensor is placed in the middle i.e. the usual position for the fingerprint sensor, with Asus branding beneath. On the front, you get the notch display with on-screen navigation buttons with negligible bezels at the side while narrow bezels at the bottom. Asus is offering the Gorilla Glass 6 protection for the display which is rare for entry-level smartphones.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Performance, Battery life

We already had a fair idea in terms of performance of the phone with Snapdragon 660 SOC chip and stock Android operating system. Snapdragon 660 is one of the best mid-range processor available today and was clearly visible in the performance. Thanks to Android 8.1 (Oreo) stock android with no bloat or custom UI on top, 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. Asus appears to have made it incompatible probably to block the leaking of Benchmarks ahead of official launch. Anyway, we did manage to install Antutu Benchmarks by using the APK files and the results revealed an Antutu Score of ~130K for Zenfone Max Pro M2 which is a bit higher than the usual score for any Snapdragon 660 smartphone.

Coming to gaming performance, we managed to play PUBG without any issues with the graphics set at Balanced and frame rate set to Medium. PUBG did that as default setting based on the hardware when we first installed the game. As we are not such avid gamers, we played it for 15 minutes for few times without any issues or lag.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Camera

It features a dual-camera module on the rear with a 12MP primary Sony IMX486 sensor with 1.25micron pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, EIS, PDAF & 4K video + 5MP depth sensor for Bokeh effect. On the front, it features a 13MP sensor with soft LED Flash, having 1.12-micron pixel size having f/2.0 aperture. Even though Asus has managed to offer a much better camera app with more features, yet there are some serious issues are there 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.

The photos shot from the phone offered good colour reproduction and details during normal daylight conditions. Even during the low light conditions, it managed to offer better shots with lesser noise though a lot needs to be done. But again, for an entry-level or mid-range smartphone, these shots are good. The Bokeh portrait images shot from the phone did look great, yet you need to practice a bit before you can get used to using it efficiently. The selfie camera too produced some good images with Bokeh or depth effect. Presence of LED flash does help if the lighting conditions are not good.

Camera Samples

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Software

The phone 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. We have always been biased in favour of stock Android, so we love it. But yes, we do miss some of the Asus apps from ZenUI, especially the battery saving optimisations where you can use the phone under different Modes. Even though the Camera App is much better than what we have seen in Zenfone Max Pro M1, yet it needs improvement. Apart from these exceptions on the software side, we love the stock Android.

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) is live already and you can download it if you are impatient. The Faceunlock works most of the time without any issues and it is fast indeed.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Battery life

Thanks to the massive 5,000 mAh battery, the phone performs great in terms of battery life. It managed to last for more than one and a quarter day even with aggressive usage with a hotspot for an almost 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 two days easily. Still, we believe that if Asus does a bit of optimisation then it can last more.

Conclusion

With Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2, Asus has managed to offer better value for money by fixing some of the issues that we saw in Zenfone Max Pro M1. It is a strong buy at the existing price point with Stock Android, Good camera, Good Battery life and great performance. Coming to drawbacks, Asus seriously needs to fix the camera app which ruins the camera performance sometimes.

Pros:

  • Stock Android with future Updates Guaranteed
  • Good Build and Design
  • Good camera
  • Good Display and Performance
  • Aggressive Pricing
  • Big Battery
  • Dedicated MicroSD Slot
  • Face Unlock that works
  • Fast Fingerprint sensor

Cons:

  • Camera App issues
  • No Battery Saving modes
  • NO Fast Charging support
  • No Earphones in the Box

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