ASUS ZenFone 4 Max 5.5-inch Quick Review: Big Battery Budget King?

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We go hands-on with the ZenFone 4 Max!

ASUS just unveiled their entire ZenFone 4 lineup here in Taipei, Taiwan today. While all eyes are on their premium ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 4 Pro, it’s more than likely that the Taiwanese company will make a majority of its revenue selling the ZenFone 4 Max family of phones. Today we’ll be taking a look at the 5.5-inch, HD version of the ZenFone 4 Max that’s more than likely going to be offered here in the Philippines when it launches on the 19th.

Asus Zenfone 4 Max Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch HD IPS display, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 32GB of expandable storage (up to 256GB)
  • 13-megapixel primary rear camera, 5-megapixel secondary camera
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with ZenUI

Initial Impressions: Feels and looks like a thicker ZenFone 3 Zoom

When we first saw official renders for the ZenFone 4 Max when it was first announced in Russia a few weeks ago, we were surprised at how much it resembles the company’s more premium ZenFone 3 Zoom. Holding it in our hands, we can confirm that ASUS pretty much copied the design of their premiere camera-centric smartphone for their newest big-batteried device,but that’s not really that big of a deal considering how simple and solid the phone’s design is.

There are distinct differences though. ASUS moved the fingerprint scanner from the back to the front, which now pulls double duty as the home button for the phone. The power and volume rockers are on the right side of the device, while the microSD/SIM slots are located on the left. The phone’s 3.5mm jack is on the top, and USB port is on the bottom.

The phone still uses a full metal build and still feels pretty well built. There’s no obvious gaps or creaks in the device – overall the ZenFone 4 Max feels like a well-built phone.

The 5.5-inch display is just HD, though there’s also a full HD version available for different territories. Right now we’ve only confirmed the 5.5-inch HD version for the Philippines and there’s currently no indication that the full HD version of the phone nor the 5.2-inch variant will arrive in our country.

The ZenFone 4 Max has a bigger battery compared to last year’s iteration – 5000mAh compared to the 4100mAh – which means you’ll be able to use your phone for longer before you’ll need to charge it. Sadly the ZenFone 4 Max still doesn’t have fast charging tech inside, which means you’ll be plugged into the charger for quite a while waiting for the phone to be fully topped up.

New on this year’s ZenFone 4 Max are the dual cameras that grace its rear. One is a 13-megapixel rear camera with an OmniVision OV13855 sensor (1/306″ sensor size, 1/12um pixel size) that’s paired with an f/2.0 aperture lens, PDAF and electronic image stabilization while the other is an unknown 5-megapixel secondary camera that has a 120 degree wide viewing angle. The camera can take regular photos using the main sensor while the secondary camera takes wide 120 degree panoramic photos much like LG’s G6. The secondary camera also acts like a depth sensor which allows you to add depth of field effects to your photos via software. There’s an 8-megapixel front camera as well paired with an f/2.0 aperture lens for better selfies.

Despite its new dual-camera tricks, the ZenFone 4 Max still has the same processor on last year’s phone: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor. The 5.5-inch HD version gets just 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, while the slightly better 5.5-inch full HD variant will get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Despite its age, the Snapdragon 430 processor is still pretty snappy. More importantly, it’s a power efficient chipset, and that combined with the more economical HD resolution of the phone should result in extremely long runtimes before you the phone takes a trip to the charger.

Surprisingly enough, ASUS has toned down the amount of bloatware in ZenUI, their custom interface that’s layered on top of Android Nougat. Instead of more than 20 apps updating when we first setup the phone for our use, the app list has been whittled down to less than 10. There’s far less pre-installed crap on the device this time around, and while we still want a mostly pure Android experience on our phones, this particular compromise is more than okay.

That’s it for this quick review of the ZenFone 4 Max. We’ll be doing hands-on of all of the phones that ASUS announced today, so hang on till then.

(unbox.ph, https://goo.gl/aVbu1a)

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