Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 review: All-round performer with big 5,000mAh battery
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 takes on Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro with Snapdragon 660 SoC, 5,000mAh battery and an attractive price tag. Check out our detailed review of the new budget smartphone.
Product name: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2
Key specs: 6.3-inch Full HD+ display, Gorilla Glass 6, Snapdragon 660,12MP+5MP rear cameras, 13MP front camera, 5,000mAh battery, 4GB/6GB RAM
Price: ₹12,999 (base model)
As 2018 comes to a close, Asus introduced a new budget smartphone in India. With price starting at ₹12,999, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 succeeds the company's successful Zenfone Max Pro M1. The new phone comes with a refreshed design and major upgrades under the hood.
Asus offers the Zenfone Max Pro M2 in two more variants with 4GB+64GB priced at ₹14,999, and 6GB+64GB retailing at ₹16,999. The new Asus phone competes with smartphones such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro and Mi A2, and Realme 2 Pro.
I've been using the Zenfone Max Pro M2 as my daily driver for some days now, and here's our review.
Design and display
Asus has upped its design game with the Zenfone Max Pro M2 after phones such as Honor 9N and Realme 2 Pro raised the bar for budget smartphones. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 joins this growing league with a 3D glass-like body giving it a premium look and feel. The smartphone feels compact and light as well. This is quite an improvement over the predecessor which was undeniably heavy.
Up front, you have a large 6.26-inch Full HD+ display with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection. The notch here is particularly interesting. Notched displays are old news but the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has a decent looking one. It is neither big like the Redmi Note 6 Pro's nor tiny waterdrop notches.
It also manages to fit in the LED indicator, a feature I'm particular about. Smartphones with the teardrop notch have had to sacrifice the LED indicator for more screen room. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 also features ambient display but it didn't seem very appealing. Ambient display on the Nokia 6.1 Plus has a much better look.
For photography, Zenfone Max Pro M2 sports a 12-megapixel Sony IMX486 sensor paired with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. It houses a 13-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture for selfies. On the Zenfone Max Pro M1, the 8-megapixel selfie camera was rather disappointing. Asus has improved the selfie capabilities on its successor with much better results.
I particularly liked the beauty filter which even on high mode doesn't go crazy with the smoothening effect. The rear cameras are equally impressive with photos coming out well-detailed in well-lit conditions. Photos clicked against bright sunlight do tend to lose out on the natural colour of the subject.
In low-light conditions, the photos come out decent enough. There's a night mode which during my experience worked quite impressively.
The Zenfone Max Pro M2 runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 processor paired with Adreno 512 GPU. The smartphone smoothly sails through both casual and intensive usages. Most of my personal usage involves continuous use of apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. While I didn't grill the phone for rigorous use, it performs without lags on multitasking through navigating on Maps and using other apps. PUBG Mobile works fine on the smartphone with medium graphics set although the game did take some time to boot.
Battery wise, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a powerhouse like the previous generation. It houses a 5,000mAh battery which will last you well for over a day. My usage involved multiple phone calls, online streaming and with the Bluetooth always turned on. The smartphone doesn't support fast charging which would have been the cherry on top. For software experience, Asus offers near stock Android 8.1 Oreo. With this you get an almost pure Android experience with no custom UI layered on top.
The overall experience with the Zenfone Max Pro M2 has been absolutely great. From camera to day-long battery, Asus' latest handset gets most of the things right for its price point. If you're looking for a phone under ₹16,000 in India, Asus' Max Pro M2 is definitely worth considering.