Review Published in May 2016, Updated June 2018.
Let’s Check out the review for the Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550kl), we have both the 2GB ram and the 3 GB Ram version of the device. First, we have done the review for the 2 GB ram version and later for the 3 GB ram version.
Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550kl) With 2 GB Ram Review
Asus Zenfone Max was launched in India on Flipkart on 4 January 2016 although the smartphone was announced in September 2015. The Asus Zenfone Max is an affordable smartphone priced at Rs. 9,999 and promises to deliver 2 days of battery life.
The Asus Zenfone Max has all the necessary features and offers good value for money in the Sub 10K Price range. Let’s find out some of the intricate details that I discovered using it for the last 7 days.
In this review I have focused on 3-4 aspects more which are quite relevant in case of the Zenfone Max – Battery life, Camera Quality , Performance and User Experience.
In The Box
- Asus Zenfone Max
- Charging cable
- Reversible Charging Cable
- User manual
- No Earphones
Build Quality and Design
As I opened the box and took out the Zenfone Max it looked large compared to the 5.0-inch screen of my 2-year-old Nexus 5. In-fact it looks slightly bigger that the Lenovo K4 Note or the LE 1S which I reviewed some days back. It does have a slightly lower screen to body ratio.
The smartphone looks elegant and more than that it feels very robustly built. The back cover features a leather matter kind of finish which I liked compared to slippery plastic on most smartphones. It is not stitched leather like the Samsung Note 3 but a pasted layer of matte leather. It helps to reduce any heating effect and also makes the grip much better than most other smartphones.
The Asus Zenfone Max does not feel too heavy or too thick which I was expecting as it packs a rather large battery (5000 mAH). The Zenfone Max has a thickness of 10.2 mm and 202 grams weight but it doesn’t feel too heavy and thick considering the large screen size.
The metallic edge around the corner adds to the premium look and I liked the fit and finish of the volume rocker and the power button on the side of the smartphone.
The Dual Sim card tray and the dedicated micro SD card is located inside the back compartment which you can access by opening the back cover. You get a dedicated micro SD card slot to augment the 16 GB of storage that Zenfone Max comes with.
Let’s Check the design and Build Quality
The Zenfone Max 5.5 inch display feels large and has an HD Resolution ( 1280*720). Color reproduction is passable and being an IPS LCD screen it looks fade out like my Nexus 5, nothing like the OLED display on a Samsung S7. It will be unfair to compare it to that. The screen to body ratio is low 69% as the bezels and space on top and bottom of the screen take more space.
The display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 which is incredible for a smartphone in this price range.
If I compare it to the Lenovo K4 Note Full HD display, I liked the K4 Note FHD display more compared to Zenfone Max HD display, then again we have a more expensive smartphone and a much higher pixel density.
Colors are not oversaturated on the Zenfone Max, they look natural or a little faded compared to Nexus 5 display. Overall display is satisfying if you can get to the UI.
User Interface and Key Features
The Zenfone Max runs on the Android Lollipop 5.1 and has a custom Zen UI spread on top of it.
Sea Greenish user interface is something I am not very used to. The Font sizes are large and it just looks okay. My perspective again can be a bit different since I am more used to the stock android experience which somehow looks cleaner than most custom skins.
The Greenish, Blueish and Greyish Icons and notification bar look a bit washed out to me compared to even Stock android.
There are tons of preloaded Apps and features in the Zenfone Max
The Asus Mobile Manager – This is the central control APP which does a lot of things in the Zen UI and is also quite useful.
Key Features in the Mobile Manager :
- Power Saver Mode
- Auto Start
- Data Usage Monitoring
- RAM management and Usage
- Notifications Manager (Block Notifications)
- Virus Scanning
These are a lot of handy features some which are available in the stock android others are bundled by Asus.
Music Enhancement Option
There is a music enhancement App which allows you to choose the presets and the effects you wish to use in all the Apps like YouTube or Android Music.
There are no earphones supplied with the smartphone, I used the earphones which I got with the Samsung S7 and sound is okay on the device compared to some of the mobiles using the Dolby technology or other sound enhancement technologies.
This is why you buy the Asus Zenfone Max, it has truly incredible battery life and easily had 45% battery life left after my full day of usage which easily drains a Google Nexus 5 by evening. You can expect 8 hours+ of the screen on time or even more with the smartphone.
The lower resolution display (HD) and lower clocked Snapdragon processor helps in increasing the battery life to a certain extent. The 4900 mAH battery lives up to the expectation and performance stupendously with the Asus optimizations.
I didn’t felt any need to switch to the power saving mode. The battery takes 4 hours and 15 minutes to charge from 0 to 100% which is an acceptable time. If you make very long calls or travel a lot then it is an ideal smartphone which saves you from carrying a power bank.
The good thing is that you can use the Zenfone Max to do reversible charging (charge another smartphone). There is also a cable provided by Asus to use for reversible charging.
General Performance is decent and Ram management on the smartphone is good. The smartphone was using mostly 650 to 900 MB of Ram and still almost 1 GB is free at all times. Much better ram management is done by Asus compared to Samsung Touch Wiz and even Lenovo devices.
The general performance of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor along with the Adreno 306 GPU is decent. In my experience, it felt smooth most of the time and there was no lag which I experience when I amusing a Moto G Gen 2 with 1 GB RAM.
The processor is clocked at 1.2 GHz and there is 2 GB RAM which makes the Zen UI smooth. There was occasional slowness when too many Apps are open but otherwise, it works well.
I ran the Antutu Benchmark on the smartphone and got a score close to 25K , nothing extraordinary here but then again the smartphone is meant for long battery life.
In the Geek Benchmark, it scored a 509 in the Single core performance and 1508 in the multicore performance. I did try a couple of games on the device like the temple runs 2 and Candycrush which ran smoothly on the smartphone.
I was not expecting much as far as gaming performance goes from the Zenfone Max, but it surprised me by running the Asphalt 8 smoothly on medium settings. It is always a bit of hassle to download almost 1 GB of data before you launch the Asphalt 8, but in this case, it pleased me with the result.
We played the game first on the medium settings and then in the High settings and both worked well. The gameplay on the medium settings was very smooth and even on high settings, it was playable.
Other smaller games ran equally well like the temple run 2 and the Candy-crush saga without any glitches.
I will post a Youtube Video also soon for the game-play so you can also experience how it feels to play games on the massive 5.5-inch display. The sound quality and loudness from the speaker were also decent and it is enjoying to play games on this large display.
If I can speak my mind the rear Camera is decent nothing extraordinary but it does justice with it’s price. There is a lot of grain in the low and artificial light condition if you click images using the normal mode, switch it to the low light or the Owl Mode and things look a little better.
Rear Camera Quality
The rear camera is a 13 Megapixel shooter and comes with f/2.0 aperture. The experience with the rear camera was decent. The panoramic shots look good and have a decent color reproduction. The Images have decent details in the well-lit conditions and day light. The rear camera is better compared to the Le 1S which I reviewed recently.
Check some of the Sample Shots
Close Shots and Macros
Close shots are just okay and the camera does create a background blur effect which is possible in most smartphone camera’s these days.
Night and Low Light Shots
Ohh there is an OWL mode, I am not kidding there is actually a low light mode which is named as an Owl mode. I found it useful when clicking images in the low light conditions.
Check the below image with Owl Mode and Without the OWL mode. The Owl Mode image has more details and better color accuracy compared to the non-owl mode image. The mode allows for more light to enter the lens and take sharper low light images.
With Owl Mode
Front Selfie Camera Quality
It does a really decent job when clicking selfies, it is not a very wide angle lens but the 5 Mega Pixel camera do justice to the selfies. There is a beautification mode which allows for various enhancements like face thinning, adding softness or increasing the eye size and blush effects.
Overall the camera performance it decent and compared to some of the similarly priced smartphones, I found Zenfone doing well.
Data Connectivity and Call Quality
I used 3G data as well as 4G/WIFI data on the smartphone and watched videos on YouTube and surfed the internet. There were no heating issues while doing the same battery don’t lose charge at a faster rate as is with some of the low-cost mobiles.
The call quality is normal and I faced no issues switching between two sims and making calls. The advantage of having a dedicated slot for the micro-sd card is really good. You can use two sims and a micro-sd card too.
To sum up my experience with the Zenfone Max. It is a good device and has a big frame, aesthetic looks and do good in most areas. Performance is decent but not like the Redmi Note 3 or Lenovo K4 Note, neither does Asus wants to compete with the performance smartphones.
The single biggest advantage of having this mobile is 5000 mAH battery capacity which is super long lasting, I haven’t experienced this before on any of the previously reviewed mobiles, and I review a lot of them.
The interesting part is the battery size don’t make it unacceptably thicker or create a hump at the back. It is large but still looks decent.
Should you Buy it ? Yes, you should if you want a very long battery smartphone if you are obsessed with long battery life this is your soul mate, can easily work for 1.5 days without charging with a good amount of usage.
Overall Design and feel of the smartphone make it look premier to its cost of Rs. 9,999.
Also, We recently reviewed the Latest Zenfone Max 2016 which comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and 32 GB storage , Android Marshmallow 6.0.
Watch Asus Zenfone Max 2016 Full Review (Subscribe to Candytech Youtube Channel)
Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550kl) 3 GB RAM Review
Asus launched the new Zenfone Max Smartphone with a faster processor and larger inbuilt storage in India a couple of days back.
Watch Full Video Review at the End of Article (Update 04 June 2016)
Along with the launch of new Zenfone Max Asus has signed Sonakshi Sinha as their brand ambassador in India for promoting the Asus Smartphone.
There was a new Ads campaign launched by Asus “ LiveUnplugged”. The commercial shows Sonakshi lending her Zenfone to a guy struggling to talk to someone with an iPhone. The video teases the low battery life of iPhone and emphasizes on the reversible charging feature of the Zenfone.
Both the smartphones are available for purchase on Flipkart from today.
The New Zenfone Max will come in two variants:
- Zenfone Max 2 GB RAM with 32 GB storage and SD 615 – Price Rs. 9,999.
- Zenfone Max 3 GB RAM with 32 GB storage and SD 615 – Price Rs. 12,999.
Powering the old Zenfone Max is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and had 2 GB Of Ram with 16 GB of inbuilt storage. The older Zenfone Max price is available for Rs. 8,999.
The New Zenfone Max will be available in Blue, Orange, and Black color variants. The colorful variants were not available earlier and may appeal to young buyers.
There is a 5.5 inch IPS LCD display and has an HD resolution (1280*720) pixels. Also, the display comes with Asus Vivid-display technology and has a blue light filter for protecting eyes during night time reading.
Powering the phone is an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and Adreno 405 GPU for gaming. We recently reviewed the Zenfone Max older variant and found the performance decent while gaming and general tasks. With the upgraded processor it is going to be even better.
Furthermore, it comes with 3GB RAM / 2GB RAM and storage on both the variant is 32 GB. You can also expand the storage using a dedicated micro-sd card slot to 64 GB.
For imaging, it comes with 13 Megapixel, f/2.0 aperture rear camera with pixel master technology. The front camera is a 5 Megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture lens and both the camera performs well even in the low light condition. The Autofocus system used by Asus is based on the laser focus technology to ensure a faster focus.
Oddly, Asus has not included a fingerprint scanner on both the new devices.
One major plus in the new variant is the Android Marshmallow 6.0 which runs with the Asus Zen UI.
Battery Life & Connectivity
Besides, it has a very long battery life, in my experience, it easily runs for 2 full days without the need for a charge (older variant). Also, the non-removable 5000 mAH battery capacity is the highlight of the device and now you can expect a snappier performance with the SD 615 processor.
Further, it has Dual Sim support and even offers reversible charging, you can charge any mobile using the reversible charging cable which comes with the Asus Zenfone Max. Also, it has support for 4G LTE as well as USB OTG.
The Zenfone Max weighs 202 grams and has a thickness of 10.9 at the thickest point and 5.2 mm at the thinnest point.
It is one of the largest battery life affordable phones with 3 GB Ram, and will excite some of the unplugged life believers.
The 2 GB RAM version priced at Rs. 9,999 is incredible value for money deal with excellent battery life and very capable rear and front camera.
Detailed Video Review Asus Zenfone Max Snapdragon 615 – 2 GB RAM Version
Unboxing Video Asus Zenfone Max Snapdragon 615 – 2 GB RAM Version
Sonakshi Asus Zenfone #LiveUnplugged Video Ad.
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