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zfmax pro m1 u 3 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewThe Zenfone Max Pro M1 is one of the most-anticipated devices from ASUS. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s a combination of powerful mid-range hardware, a huge 5,000mAh battery, stock Android, and an unbelievably affordable PhP9,995 price tag.

Unboxing

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Specs
ProcessorSnapdragon 636 (Octa-Core)
RAM3GB
Storage32GB
Display6-inch, FHD+, 18:9
Rear Camera13MP + 5MP
Front Camera8MP
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Battery5,000mAh with Fast Charging
Design and Build Quality

zfmax pro m1 u 21 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewLooks-wise, the Zenfone Max Pro resembles the Zenfone 3 Zoom, with also a bit of the Zenfone Max Plus M1 – the matte finish at the back makes it easy to grip, which in turn makes one-handed operation a breeze.

zfmax pro m1 u 36 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewAll the buttons are located on the right side and feel very tactile, while the left houses a triple slot tray. That means no need to sacrifice a SIM slot for your memory card.

zfmax pro m1 u 38 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewAt the top of the device is a secondary noise cancelling microphone, while the bottom houses the speaker grill, headphone jack, and a standard microUSB port. I know, Type-C ports should be the thing these days, but at this price? I really can’t complain.

zfmax pro m1 u 57 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewThe Zenfone Max Pro has a 5.99-inch 18:9 display with FHD+ resolution, very common in smartphones these days. As far as quality is concerned, the display vivid, bright, and detailed.

Performance

One of the most notable things about this phone is the processor that it’s running on – A Qualcomm Snapdragon 636. A chip that’s not very common for a device at this price point.zfmax pro m1 s 20 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Review

Despite the fact that it doesn’t have the AI-features of the Zenfone 5, the sheer performance alone should be enough to handle today’s games with no major issues.

zfmax pro m1 s 17 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewYou should be able to play PUBG Mobile at Balanced settings and high framerate, Arena of Valor on HD Display and High Frame Rate Mode ON.

zfmax pro m1 s 15 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewOther games like Tekken and Real Racing 3 also run smoothly without any issues. The only thing that I can point out is that it only has 3GB of RAM, which may not be enough for heavy multi-tasking.

Camerazfmax pro m1 c 9 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Reviewzfmax pro m1 c 10 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Reviewzfmax pro m1 c 3 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Reviewzfmax pro m1 c 4 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Review

Initial samples taken with the rear cameras show decent detail. I did notice that in Auto mode, there were times when color accuracy was off, as colors appear more pale versus the actual subject. It’s a hit and miss thing. Brightness was also an issue in some shots, as they came out dimmer than expected.

zfmax pro m1 c 6 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewYou can apply a depth effect to blur out the background, and in this case, it’s accurate and shows minimal signs of pixelation. Selfies are of decent quality as well, despite that the bokeh effect is software induced.

Software

Another notable change here is the absence of ZenUI. ASUS is probably testing waters by using stock Android, offering a clean and clutter-free interface, and also allowing the phone to perform at its fullest with minimal risks of being bogged down by software issues.

The trade-off is of course, you no longer get some of the goodies that ZenUI has, such as AudioWizard, which lets you fine tune the sound settings. Even game genie, which blocks notifications and lets you record your gameplay is no longer here.

zfmax pro m1 s 6 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewThe camera app also looks much cleaner and organized. You can still unlock the phone by Facial Recognition, which works, but is a bit slow in comparison to fingerprint scanning.

Battery

zfmax pro m1 s 8 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 ReviewOf course, a Max device won’t be complete without good battery life. To that regard, the Zenfone Max Pro delivers a strong punch – 12 hours in PCMark’s Work 2.0 battery test, which simulates light to moderate use with various scenarios, such as simple video editing, and data manipulation.

Using the supplied charger, the device went from zero to full in a few minutes shy of 3 hours.  While that number is forgivable since we’re talking of a 5,000mAh battery, I wouldn’t really call it fast charging. Speaking of which, take note that BoostMaster fast charging will only work with the supplied charger.

Giveaway

ASUS and Gadget Pilipinas Zenfone Max Pro M1 Giveaway

 

zfmax pro m1 u 3 150x113 - ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Review
ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Review
Our Verdict
The Zenfone Max Pro M1's sheer performance make it a great all-around device. A combination of a large display that's perfect for media consumption, a CPU that offers upper mid-range performance, a clean and clutter free user interface, and outstanding battery life. All for an almost unbelievable price. On the flipside, the camera's auto mode is inconsistent in color reproduction, it still uses a microUSB port, the lack of the usual features that you'll find in ZenUI may take a bit of getting used to, and 3GB of RAM may not be enough for heavy multi-tasking. Still, If you want a phone that lasts long and can game hard, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 is an undeniably attractive package for its price, and is worth more than every peso that you'll pay for it.
Design and Build Quality
Performance
Camera
Software
Battery
What's Good
Solid productivity and gaming performance
Clean, fast, and fluid user interface
Good quality display
Outstanding battery life
Competitive price
What's Not
Still uses a microUSB port
Color accuracy is inconsistent when using Auto mode in rear camera
3GB of RAM may not be enough for heavy multi-tasking
Takes a long time to fully charge
4.1

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Author

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.