This Taiwanese company has been on a roll in India.
While reviewing the two new Asus smartphones, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Max M2, I observed a change in my daily pattern—I stopped carrying the phone charger to office. This Taiwanese company has been on a roll in India. In 2018, it launched seven major smartphones, including the class-leading Zenfone 5Z. And with the Max Pro series, it hit the right chord as far as pricing, performance, battery life and features are concerned, with the Max Pro M2 and Max M2 the latest in the series. But are these the best phones in their respective segments?
Max Pro M2
Strength: It’s the first phone in its segment to use the flagship-grade Corning Gorilla Glass 6, and claimed to survive 15 consecutive one-meter drops onto rough surfaces. This makes the Max Pro M2 the only smartphone under Rs 20,000 with the capability to endure multiple drops. But remember, no phone is unbreakable.
Power: It is powered by the energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 mobile platform with AIE (artificial intelligence engine), and is loaded with stock Android version Oreo 8.1 (the company says it’ll be upgraded to Android Pie in early 2019).
Camera: Good cameras are a given in modern-day smartphones. The Max Pro M2’s main camera is the F1.8 12MP Sony IMX 486—touted to be the best Sony sensor in a phone under Rs 15,000. The secondary rear camera is a 5MP depth sensor that helps click good portrait shots. And the F2.0 13MP front camera is good for selfies in both daylight and low-light conditions. For its price, the camera performance is decent—if there’s enough light, the photos produced are good, but in low-light conditions you cannot really rely on midlevel smartphone cameras, including this one.
Stamina: That’s where this phone stands out. It’s got a high-capacity 5000mAh battery that, on a full charge, is claimed to last for up to 45 hours of 3G talk time, and up to 35 days of 4G standby. And I can vouch for that—during my two weeks of using this phone, the battery easily lasted a day and a half of heavy usage, and sometimes even two days on a single charge.
Convenience: It’s got a high-contrast, all-screen 6.26-inch FHD+ display, which makes the phone look far more expensive than it is. Its compact body appears almost as small as many five-inch phones; this means it’s easy to use with one hand. Sound quality is good, and the phone has a multifunction notch that includes front camera, LED flash, sensors and notification LED. Overall, while it’s not a path-breaking phone, or the best in its segment, what helps it stand out is the price at which all these features are being offered—3GB/32GB for `12,999, 4GB/64GB for `14,999, and 6GB/64GB for Rs 16,999, on Flipkart.
Stamina: Battery performance is in the DNA of the Zenfone Max series—the M2 has a high-capacity 4000mAh battery. It, too, lasts almost two days of usage on a full charge. The phone gets the 14nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 mobile platform with up to 4GB of RAM.
Camera: Like the Max Pro M2, the M2 also has a dual rear camera system—the 13MP F1.8 wide-aperture main camera supported by a 2MP dedicated portrait camera. In bright conditions, it clicks good photos, and can also shoot 4K videos. The front is a F2.0 8MP camera along with LED flash. It is equipped with electronic image stabilisation functionality, which means you can shoot shake-free selfie videos.
Entertainment: We consume a lot of multimedia on smartphones. For such users, the M2 comes across as a good device—one, the sound it produces is almost distortion-free, courtesy the NXP amplifier; two, its 6.26-inch all-screen display is slightly bigger than that of some other phones in its segment; and three, the long battery life means you can watch YouTube videos the entire day (depending, of course, on your data plan).
Security: It gets a rear fingerprint sensor with 5-finger recognition, and has a face unlock feature (in the device I used, it worked 8 times out of 10). The phone has a triple-slot tray, combining dual 4G VoLTE SIM slots (dual SIM/dual standby) with a microSD card slot that allows storage expansion up to 2TB. It’s priced `9,999 for the 3GB/32GB variant and `11,999 for the 4GB/64GB variant, on Flipkart.