Having a huge battery in a smartphone is a thing in 2017. Not only it allows us to use it for a longer period of time but also reduced the need to connect to the nearest outlet. We have seen tons of phones in the market to have humongous batteries. But the Taiwanese Company added more than a huge battery into their latest iteration and it’s the Asus Zenfone 4 Max Pro. I’ve used this device for a while now and it’s time for me to give you my opinion on this device and whether is it worth picking up from your nearest authorized store.
Design & Build Quality
The first thing you’ll notice right after you pick it in your hands, it’s not thin at all. It’s 8.9mm thick. The phone weighs in at 181g, which gives some heft to the phone as well. Other than that, the Metal Unibody with glass covered on the front sure does gives the feel of holding a robust device. The aluminium back finish is smooth and comfortable to hold in the hands. For the antenna bands, we have this chrome finish. One goes along with the camera sensor and the other one that’s right below the engraving on the body.
On the front the display is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass, which protects from unwanted scuffs or tiny scratches when you slide it into your pocket. And during my time using the device, I didn’t see any deep scratches, which is a good sign. Now the moment you look at the 4 Max Pro, it resembles like their Zenfone 3 Zoom, except for the fact the Max Pro has the fingerprint sensor on the front.
As for the buttons like the Volume Rockers and Power Button, it has the signature Zen Spiral Design on it and the button click feels tactile and good. On the front, we do not have any physical buttons but more of an taptic Button. The Back and Recent button is not LED Illuminated, but worry not because you’ll get used to the layout. I would say the overall build quality is sturdy and solid.
Specification & Benchmark
The Asus Zenfone 4 Max Pro, runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa-Core Processor. It’s not a 14nm processor, which I’ll talk about more in the Performance section. It comes with 3GB of RAM under the hood, a 32GB Internal Storage. What makes the phone a lot interesting is that it has Dual SIM and an Independent SD Card slot, which means you don’t have to sacrifice your SD Card for the 2nd SIM. These are the benchmark scores for the Asus Zenfone 4 Max Pro. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews of various devices, benchmark scores will vary to real day usage.
On the front of the device, we have a 5.5″ HD IPS Display. And for a 720p display, the viewing angle is good and watching content on this device is decent. Thanks to the higher pixels per inch count, the display looks quite alright. But there’s a slight color variation. The display tends to show a cooler tone rather than a warm or a neutral tone. Other than that, watching video contents from YouTube or any other VoD content is good and enjoyable. Fun fact, I spent my time binge watching Star Trek: Discovery‘s first five episodes on Netflix and had fun too.
One of the pro’s of having a 720p display is that it’s impact on the battery is minimal and gives you a longer battery life through out the day. The response to touch feedback on the display is amazing and response to a tap and swipe is good as well. Overall, I’d say its a good choice of display and during my time using the phone, I was convinced.
As I’ve mentioned in the Specification part, this phone packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Octa Core clocked in at 1.8 Ghz. And during my time using the device, it held up pretty well. Only thing is that, the phone got warm at times. This is possibly due to the Processor that the phone running. Because this particular processor has a 28nm Architecture, so the room for processing is limited. But none the less, the device performed alright. Applications opened up instantaneously and also the app response was quick. Not just that, I loved using the device because there was no crashes at all.
Now, moving on to Gaming experience on this device. This is where the change was noticeable. Playing normal titles like Monument Valley, VOI, Soul Knight, LIMBO was alright. The graphics was as expected, smooth and no glitches nor delay. But playing graphics intensive games like Riptide GP 2, Leo’s Fortune, especially Republique and Need For Speed: No Limits, had some delays and lag while loading but at the end it was playable. I would say, if you are a light gamer who likes to play puzzle games or Candy Crush, it’s alright. But Graphics intensive, not so much.
Battery Life & Charging
One of the strongest point with the Zenfone 4 Max Pro is the battery indeed. It packs a whooping 5000 mAh Battery under the hood. And under my daily usage, the phone usually lasted me a day. By the end of the day, I usually find my self ending with atleast 20% battery, which is pretty good. Knowing the fact that I don’t have to worry about carrying a battery pack with me at all times. As it features a Huge battery, the phone actually let’s you reverse charge your other devices, thanks to the included OTG Adapter. And it’s a lifesaver because I found myself using that particular method to charge my device most of the time.
Now to charge the Zenfone 4 Max Pro, it takes roughly 4 1/2 to 5 hours to charge from Zero to 100% with the charger that’s included with the device. Which comes to the point that this phone does not support Fast Charging. Hence why it takes a while to charge the device. If you were to connect your phone to charge before you hit the sack, then it should be alright. Possibly, one of the best battery life I’ve came across various devices. And you can’t go wrong with it.
Camera: Front Facing Camera
On the front, the inclusion of a 16MP Selfie Shooter with a front facing flash is indeed a good move. Considering the fact that people in 2017 take a lot of selfies too. So why not be a good quality picture. And I have to say, it excels in this area. The device captures a lot of details with its high resolution sensor and taking a decent selfie under broad daylight is nice. What I like about the camera is that it gives a natural tone color without any software tinkering like enabling the beauty mode. And I am pretty sure you could take a lot of good images with the front facing camera. Under low light, it’s quite hard to take a groupfie but if it was just 2-3 people, you can toggle the front facing flash along with HDR to get good images.
I liked what they did with the front facing camera and it’s good. Though, the software part needs to be upgraded because at odd times, it tends to focus somewhere else rather than focusing on a face and set the exposure accordingly. This can be improved with an update.
Rear Facing Camera
For those who doesn’t know, the Asus Zenfone 4 Max Pro actually has a Dual camera setup. We have a 16MP Primary Shooter with an aperture of f/2.0 and support for PDAF whereas the Secondary Shooter is a 5MP, 120 degree wide angle lens. Knowing for a fact that having a dual camera setup at the first place is definitely cool. The 16MP Camera did a good job under broad day light. The camera managed to take clear shots and the exposure was even. When you zoom into an image, you’ll see a bit of grainy / over sharpening happening around. None the less the picture was decent. Under low light, the phone struggled to fix a focus on the object. And when you take one, pictures tend to look a lot grainier and had a higher noise.
With the 5MP Wide Angle Lens Camera, things were different. Certain parts of the picture was over exposed and it couldn’t take a decent shot. Also, knowing that the camera is 5MP was kind of a down side. But under certain environment, the phone had the potential to take really good shots. As long as you don’t zoom into the picture, then it’s alright.
UI & OS
Finally moving on to the OS, this device runs the latest Android 7.1.1, which is amazing because you get to experience most of the newest features like Google Assistant and many more. On top of that, we get the Custom UI, ZenUI 3.0 to be exact. Unlike the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro which I reviewed a while back, this particular UI still has certain elements of the Zenfone 3, like for instance the notification toggle and layout. Other than that, we get feature like Kids Mode, which will create a safe playground for them to play around, Easy Mode, for a simple layout and more.
Other than customizing on the modes, you also get to use themes to make the device look the way you want. Be it, Icon Packs, Wallpaper and so on. In terms of memory optimization, the UI itself uses at most, 1Ghz of RAM to run it’s process. Which means, the user available RAM is around 1.8 – 2 Ghz. Asus did announce that they’ll be releasing an update for ZenUI 4.0 which will have more intuitive design and a much more minimalist look as well. One of my favorite feature with the ZenUI is the PowerMaster, where you get the option to double your battery life to use the device for a longer period of time.
In a whole, the Asus Zenfone 4 Max Pro is a better sequel. Comparing with it’s predecessor, it got way better. This is the kind of step up I’d love to see. With a humongous battery, a dual camera setup on the back, a 16MP Camera up on the front and good performance on top of the Android N. It sure does have some hiccups then and there, like with the camera for instance, but the software part of the camera could be updated. And for a price tag of RM 1,099, it’s a pretty compelling device and without a doubt, the Asus Zenfone 4 Max Pro lets you run your show for a longer time and makes you forget about plugging it to the charger any time soon.
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