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Asus ZenFone 3S Max Review: Battery with beauty

   

About four months ago, Asus came up with two devices in ZenFone 3 Max series. Now, they are again under the limelight with an upgrade to the lower version, named 3S Max.

Their target obviously is the mid-range budget market, where Xiaomi, Lenovo, Le Eco and Coolpad are already ruling. So, does the device look promising? Is it worth buying?

Let’s just find out in this review.

Without further ado, we can move on to the core of the review.

Asus ZenFone 3S Max Review

For the convenience, I have divided this review into different sections.

Design

I am glad that ZenFone had stepped out from their conventional design profile. The new design adds a premium feel to the device. The uni-body metal design coupled with curved edges provides an elegant feel and look to it.

On the back, you can see the Asus branding along with the primary camera. Alongside the lens, they have placed the LED flash as well.

On the front, the phone sports a 5.2 inch 720p 2.5d curved display. The fingerprint scanner found a new position on ZenFone 3S Max, that’s on the front button.

They have moved the navigation buttons to the bottom of the screen. It’s a tad disappointing to see functionless spaces on either side of the fingerprint scanner.

The volume rockers and power button are placed on the right whereas 3.5 mm audio jack can be seen on the top. Asus has put the speakers and micro USB port on the bottom. (If you are an avid gamer, chances are your hands will block the speakers).

The phone is a bit heavy. I am not complaining about it because they made it the lightest one with a 5000 mAh battery inside.

Features

I have already told you about the display. It is a 720p panel protected by 2.5d gorilla glass. There are phones with 1080 displays even under 10k INR. So, the 720p isn’t that much appreciated.

Even with 282 PPI pixel density, the phone managed to show vibrant colors and good sunlight visibility. The lack of sharpness may be an issue if you play really high-end games.

They have used Mediatek MT6750 chipset, manufactured via 28 nm process. If they had used Snapdragon 625, the phone could have got better power efficiency and performance. The SD processer gets manufactured via 14 nm process. Moreover, it supports 1080p as well.

The phone contains a 3 GB RAM along with 32 GB on-board storage. And, you can expand the storage up to 256 GB using an SD card.

Zenfone 3S Max sports a hybrid SIM slot (I hate it). You can insert two SIMs (micro+ nano) or a SIM card and a micro SD.

Camera

The primary camera has a 13 MP sensor whereas the secondary has 8 MP. When it comes to outdoor situations with ample lighting, the camera performs well with natural color reproduction.

But the scene gets the worse in low light condition. You will notice quite considerable noise inside the images.

If you used a ZenFone in the past, you would know its Pixelmaster camera has a lot of features. There are quite some interesting modes like super resolution, which creates a high resolution image from multiple snaps and beautification.

The selfie camera coupled with beautification mode can simply make you look good.

Software

Even though Asus is not fast in bringing Android updates, they chose to have Nougat on ZenFone 3S Max. So, you will have the native features like split screen mode, bundled notifications etc.

You may hate this. But the phone runs on Asus’s own ZenUI on top of the latest Android version. Yeah, you should expect a handful of bloatware. Although you can’t uninstall most of them, disabling will do the trick.

The interface is a lot similar to what we see on ZenFones earlier. But the notification panel has been changed a bit. And, now it is semi-transparent.

In case you see a buggy interface, make sure that no OTA update is pending to be installed.

Performance

The MediaTek chipset coupled with the 3 GB RAM works well. You won’t notice any lag even during an intense gameplay session of Asphalt 8. Yeah, the game can run most of the games without any issues. Asus included a special feature called Game Genie that boosts the gaming performance and livestream it to YouTube or Twitch if you want.

The multimedia performance is smooth. The speaker is loud enough and the audio playback via headphones is also good. Although the phone managed to play 1080p videos, you can’t get the same experience with 4k clips. Yeah, the MT SoC simply isn’t capable of that much performance

Overall, Zenfone 3S Max along with its MT chip, Mali-T860MP2 GPU and 3GB RAM, handles gaming and daily tasks well.

Needless to say, there is a memory booster feature just like in any ZenFone.

The fingerprint sensor is somewhat slow, but quite accurate.

Battery Life

Now this is what most people looking forward to, in ZenFone 3S Max. The phone has a mammoth 5000 mAh battery.

Just leave all the claims from Asus behind. You will get two full days on a single charge with moderate usage. And, the battery life solely depends on how you use your phone, though. You will get at least six to seven hours of screen on time with moderate gaming and network usage.

The saddening fact is that it lacks quick charging or fast charging. You need to wait 4 hours in full swing to get it charged from 0 to 100. Are you kidding me?

Pricing and Availability

You have to pay 14999 INR to get your hands on this device. There is no exclusivity as you can buy it from Amazon or Flipkart. This is something we liked.

ASUS Zenfone 3s max review: Final Verdict

So is the ZenFone 3S Max worth buying?

Let me ask you two questions before you buy it. Are you an Asus fan? Do you want to have a large battery? If you say yes to both, you must go for it.

What if you want the best performing device with superior specs (fast charging, 1080p display, SD 625 or similar processor)? Then the ZenFone 3S Max isn’t for you.

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Rahul Krishnan is a crazy techie and an avid writer from Kerala, India. When he is not writing, he watches F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

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