The Zenfone Max M1 came as a surprise announcement at the launch of the Zenfone 5 last month. And while the phone isn’t exactly a powerhouse on paper, it does have a few tricks up its sleeve, when you consider its PhP8,995 price tag. It’s got 18:9 display, dual rear cameras, and a large 4,000mAh battery that should give it outstanding longevity.

Design and Build Quality

zenfone max m1The Zenfone Max M1’s design speaks a  number of references to its bigger brother, the Max Plus M1, and the Zenfone 3 Zoom. The back panel is made of plastic coated with a metallic finish that makes it easy to grip.  Add that to the phone’s compact form factor, and you have a device that can easily be used with one hand.

zenfone max m1All the buttons are located on the right side, while the left side houses the triple slot tray. Up top is the headphone jack, while down bottom are two speakers, and a standard microUSB port. Should it be a Type-C? yes I think so. Do take note of the price though.

zenfone max m1The Zenfone Max M1’s 5.5-inch display only has HD+ resolution. As such, some icons appear to be slightly less detailed, along with slightly less-vibrant colors. Text does look sharp, unless you actually look very closely. The screen can go really bright, so using it in direct sunlight shouldn’t be a problem so long as it’s maxed out.


As far as the usual day to day tasks are concerned, the Zenfone Max M1 does perform well with no major issues. The UI itself is fluid and snappy in terms of navigation, and apps open as quick as you would expect.

There are minor setbacks though. For one, the fingerprint sensor is slow to respond. Face unlock also didn’t work most of the time, even when there was ample lighting. I just hope that these can be fixed with an update.


zenfone max m1zfmax m1 cs 13 - ASUS Zenfone Max M1: Our First Impressions

zenfone max m1

In broad daylight, the Zenfone Max M1 is able to capture photos with ample details and accurate colors. You can enable the depth effect with a tap of an icon, and it does work well, provided that the subject isn’t even slightly moving.

zenfone max m1
Shot using wide-angle camera

The wide angle camera does give you more room, but at the cost of degraded quality.

zenfone max m1

As expected, performance does take a hit in less than ideal lighting.

zenfone max m1
Portrait Mode OFF
zenfone max m1
Portrait Mode ON

Selfies are decent, though the front camera does struggle to focus at times. There’s also hint of over-processing in some shots. The depth effect does show good accuracy at least.


The good thing is, you get ZenUI 5.0 here, which is really ahead in terms of overall performance compared to previous versions. It’s also more minimalistic, and is seemingly lighter on resources.

Given that, you still get the old goodies, such as Twin Apps, Game Genie, and support for Double Tap to Sleep and Wake. There’s also AudioWizard for tweaking your sound settings. Unfortunately, Splendid, which lets you adjust the color temperature of the display, isn’t available.

Initial Verdict

zfmaxm1 u 2 - ASUS Zenfone Max M1: Our First ImpressionsFor a budget device, it’s impressive how ASUS was able to pack so many features into the Zenfone Max M1. For one, the device doesn’t look cheap, the performance is great (so far), and the software is well-refined. On the other hand, some areas still need a bit of work, such as the imaging department, face unlock, and fingerprint scanning.

There’s still a number of things we have to try out before scoring this one though. The battery test is one them of course, plus we need to see how it fares in games.  We’ll also be taking more sample shots, hopefully with some improvements via software updates.





Leave a comment


Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

Write A Comment

Tokyo Game Show Special Coverage

Tokyo Game Show 2018

41711344 10155988194573337 3113579199126831104 o - We are going to Tokyo Game Show 2018

Witness this year’s biggest gaming convention in Asia, the Tokyo Game Show 2018. This September 19, our team will fly to Tokyo, Japan, to be part to TGS 2018. Special thanks to our brand partners Huawei Mobile, PLDT Home, Smart Communications and Cherry Mobile for making this coverage possible.

The Gadget Pilipinas Team was given access to a press briefing with Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director from From Software and a bit of hands-on gameplay. Here’s our take on the hands-on gameplay and the insights from the press interview. We also  figured a listicle is in order to rundown why this game will match the hype surrounding it.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons why “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is to die for.

1) The game is Tenchu-inspired

sk8lqukaqalhq2mrzkqd 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forIf you’ve played any of the Tenchu games in previous game consoles, you know that the use of the grappling hook to set-up a one-slash-stealth kills from above is a hallmark of the series. Zipping to rooftops and treetops will be the go-to move in this game to get rid of sentries. And yes, those ever-so glorious decapitations and dismemberments with the stealth kill are present.

2) Casual or hardcore can play

sn1rmqcvrwomyuttaoyq 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forFrom Software is notorious for challenging games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is no exception. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of From Software, revealed that he himself is a casual gamer and has made it clear that the game should be accessible to beginners and experienced players alike.

3) Upgradeable prosthetic arm

jjn6e6ivua5u142iukql 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat prosthetic arm that Sekiro has isn’t just for looks. It can launch a grappling hook and is upgradeable too. No details were revealed but its good to know that a skill-tree based system is in place. Think Horizon Zero Dawn or Spiderman on the way skill and gadgets are upgraded. Tech upgrades set in feudal Japan? What’s not to like?

4) Play the style that suits you

jo1pi5md3myj0pxynz9p 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forStealth like Tenchu or head-on like Dark Souls? It’s up to you. What’s clear is that you can’t use stealth for the whole campaign since the game wasn’t designed that way. Stealth can be used to thin enemy numbers and to preserve your health before confronting the big boss. The mix of stealth and hack and slash is always a good mix to change-up the pace and should suit any gameplay style.

5) Single-player only campaign can last 20 to 30 hours 

ocxemodvr6oa72argpyo 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat’s the length of the campaign as per Miyazaki. The game is focused-solely on the single-player experience. No more wayward players who can just jump-in and help or derail your campaign. From Software also focused on the story-telling. Given that no resources were spent in developing the multiplayer aspect, expect the campaign to take it up a notch.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22, 2019 on PC, Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

Leave a comment

Heads-up, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) players. The PES game you’re playing on your phone is going to get a major upgrade.

For starters, the visuals will get a major overhaul and will be using Unreal Engine 4 – the same graphics engine used in triple A games for consoles and PCs. With the use of Unreal Engine 4, PES will be inching closer to how it looks versus its console port. It

Next, over 3,000 new animations, improved player AI with every playstyle accounted for, and realistic ball movements has been optimized for fans to enjoy the ultimate soccer game.

And lastly, 10 new league licenses from Europe, South America and Asia have been added, including Japan’s J. League.

The best part? Despite these updates,  Winning Eleven 2019 is still free-to-play (with in-game purchases).

PES 2019 promises to give a life-like behavior of the beautiful game and should take competitive mobile sports gaming to new heights.

Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.16.38 AM 640x327 - TGS 2018: PES mobile game to be updated to "Winning Eleven 2019" this December!

More about the game and new features, here.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Get the tech trends in Philippines pushed to you!