Asus Zenfone Max M2
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About the Phone
- It features a well-built design with a big display and a tiny notch on top.
- It comes with large battery capacity.
- It is devoid of any bloatware.
- You get a stock Android experience under the 10k segment.
- You get the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 at a budget.
- The speakers are impressive.
- It is lightweight.
- It does not have Gorilla Glass protection.
- The camera is the biggest disappointment. In low light, the performance is average for both the rear and front cameras.
- It tends to warm up while gaming.
Looking at the pros and cons carefully, the ZenFone Max M2 appears to be a steal deal under 10k. The powerful processor and battery make it a reliable daily driver. At a price tag of Rs. 9,999, the phone faces competition from the likes of Redmi 6, Redmi 6 Pro, Realme 2, and Honor 8C.
The Asus ZenFone Max M2 cranks up the viewing and gaming experience with a massive 6.26-inch IPS LCD screen and stock Android v8.1 (Oreo) operating system. The display design keeps up with the latest notch-display trend and minimalistic bezels. It has a screen resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19:9. Another notable win for the ZenFone Max M2 is that it brings the powerful octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor within an affordable price tag. Not just that, the phone is also equipped with an Adreno 506 GPU for delivering enhanced graphical performance. As for storage, the phone has two variants – 3GB RAM/32GB internal storage and 4GB RAM/64GB internal storage. The 4000mAh battery promises an excellent battery backup.
The ZenFone Max M2 comes with a dual camera setup in the rear – 13MP primary camera coupled with a 2MP depth sensor and an LED flash. The camera has useful features like Digital Zoom, Auto Flash, Face detection, Phase Detection Autofocus, Touch to focus, Continuous Shooting, and HDR imaging, to name a few. The front display has an 8MP selfie camera, also with an LED flash.
There are two colour variants for the ZenFone Max M2 – Blue and Black. While the price of the 3GB RAM/32GB variant is Rs. 9,999, the cost of the 4GB RAM/64GB variant is Rs. 11,999.
The ZenFone Max M2 looks quite similar to the ZenFone Max Pro M2, as in both have a big notch-display and a Fingerprint Sensor on the rear. However, once you look closely, you can spot the tiny differences. The notch on the ZenFone Max M2 is a tad wider than that of the ZenFone Max Pro M2, and it includes the earpiece in the centre, and not into the frame on top as seen in the Max Pro M2.
Also, Max Pro M2 boasts of a glass-like polished rear panel while the Max M2 has a standard polycarbonate back with metal panelling on the sides. The good thing about this is that Max M2 isn’t a fingerprint and grease magnet.
The phone is tall and slim with minimal bezels on the side and a small chin. Unfortunately, the ZenFone Max M2 does not get Corning Gorilla Glass protection, unlike the Max M2 Pro. The top-notch houses the selfie camera, an earpiece, and an LED flash. On the top-left side, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the right side lie the volume and power buttons. The left side of the frame holds the dual-SIM tray slot and a dedicated microSD card slot. The micro USB charging port and single speaker vents lie on the bottom part of the body.
On the rear, you will find the dual-camera module aligned vertically. Located just below is the LED flash. The Fingerprint Sensor is placed conveniently on the top-middle portion of the back panel.
The Zenfone Max M2 has a 6.26-inch IPS LCD screen with HD+ resolution. It has a screen resolution is 720×1520 pixels and a pixel density of 269 PPI. The display isn’t the best out there, but given the price range, it is not a bad bet. The colours don’t seem to pop, but the brightness levels are decent. Thanks to the adaptive brightness feature, viewing becomes comfortable outdoors. The overall viewing and gaming experience is commendable.
When it comes to performance, the ZenFone Max M2 does not disappoint. It has the same processor as the Honor 8C: an octa-core (1.8 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 250 + 1.8 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 250) Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoC. However, you may face a few hiccups while running the Honor 8C, but not with the ZenFone Max M2. Both the stock Android and the processor perform smoothly to offer best-in-class performance. There is no lag when launching apps, or navigating between apps, or even multitasking.
Moving on to gaming, the phone performs decently. Playing lightweight games like Temple Run and Candy Crush is a breeze; for heavyweight games like PUBG and Asphalt 9, it is best to switch to low-quality settings. Although the visuals won’t be very sharp, the gaming experience won’t be bad altogether, thanks to the Adreno 506 GPU. The good thing is that while playing full-screen games, the notch is masked by default.
As for other features like Face Unlock and Fingerprint Sensor, both work pretty well and are prompt at unlocking the phone. Also, the Face Unlock features works decently even in low light settings.
As we mentioned earlier, the Zenfone Max M2 sports a dual camera set up on the rear – a 13MP primary shooter (f/1.8 aperture) paired with a 2MP depth sensor and an LED flash. In daylight, the camera can capture some impressive shots. However, camera performance remains highly inconsistent. It is slow to lock focus and sometimes displays shutter lag as well.
The colours in the captured images often look washed out and lacking in detail. Also, the camera filters aren’t a plus point for the Max M2 since they filter and smoothen the images to such as extent that they look unrealistic and artificial. The depth effect is also average at best. Also, the Portrait Mode isn’t anything stellar – the edge detection is poor.
In low light conditions, the camera struggles to perform. The photos look grainy and blurry for the most part. Compared to the rear camera, the 8MP front camera (f/2.0 aperture) seems like a better performer. It can capture great selfies in well-lit settings – good enough to cater to your social media needs. The front camera offers various modes like the Beauty Mode, Portrait Mode, Depth Effect Mode, and also has EIS support.
The Zenfone Max M2 has excellent battery life and support. The powerful 4000mAh battery is enough to last an entire day and even more, provided you just use the phone for routine tasks (like calling, texting, social media browsing, lightweight gaming, etc.). For heavy usage involving continuous gaming or video streaming, you might see a considerable drop in the battery, but that is true of all phones, and thus, is not an issue. Although it does not have fast charging support, you get a 10W charger with a decent charging speed.
The phone incorporates all the necessary connectivity options like Wi-Fi 802.11, b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Mobile Hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2, micro USB port, dual-SIM, FM Radio, GPS with A-GPS and Glonass, and 2G/3G/4G support. It also has sensors like Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Accelerometer, Compass, and Gyroscope.
To conclude, the Asus Zenfone Max M2 seems like a definite improvement on the Zenfone Max M1. It has a more prominent display, stronger processor, and an excellent battery life for a phone under the 10k price segment. The integration of the stock Android is a bonus. Overall, it packs in all the features that make it a reliable and competent entry-level smartphone. However, if you are keen on buying a phone with great cameras, you should go for the Redmi Note 6 Pro or the Zenfone Max Pro M2.