Asus recently announced its partnership with Flipkart to launch ‘Made for India’ smartphones and well, the first smartphone from the deal has just been launched. Yes, I am talking about the new Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1. The budget smartphone packs in some great specs and features at a starting price tag of ₹10,999 . Well, we have had the chance to play with the device for some time, so here are my first impressions of the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1.
Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 Specs
Before I talk about my impressions, take a look at the specifications of the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1:
|Dimensions and Weight
|159 x 76 x 8.61 mm / 180 grams
|5.99-inch Full HD+ (2160 x 1080) Full-View IPS Panel
|64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 636
Adreno 509 GPU
|up to 6GB
|up to 64GB with microSD slot
|13MP f/2.2 + 5 MP
4K Video Recording
16 MP primary camera on 6GB variant
|8MP f/2.0 with Portrait Mode;
16 MP on 6GB variant
|Stock Android 8.1 Oreo
|Face Unlock, Fingerprint unlock
|₹10,999 for 3GB/32GB, ₹12,999 for 4GB/64GB, ₹14,999 for 6GB/64GB
The first thing I noticed about the Asus ZenFone Max Pro’s design is its similarity with Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro. I mean, the device does look a lot like the popular Xiaomi offerings, especially from the front, thanks to the 18:9 display and similarly sized bezels. Comparisons apart, the device does look like a modern day smartphone and while I am not really a fan of the rather plain-looking back, it’s fine. The back features the dual camera setup, the Asus branding and the nicely placed fingerprint scanner.
The design of the Max Pro M1 is decent, considering the fact that it’s a budget smartphone, but I would have liked it better had Asus gone with a USB-C port instead of the traditional microUSB port. When it comes to in-hand feel, the device does feel a bit hefty due to the huge 5,000 mAh battery. Apart from that, there’s nothing wrong with the ZenFone Max Pro M1 design.
The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 features a 5.99-inch Full HD+ (2160 x 1080) display, which has 450nits of maximum brightness, 1500:1 contrast ratio and 85% NTSC color gamut. So, on paper, the Max Pro M1 does have a great display and in my brief usage of the device, the display does look pretty good. It’s got decent brightness, the color reproduction is really good and it’s very sharp.
Note: The 6GB RAM variant of the ZenFone Max Pro comes with an upgraded 16MP camera on both the rear and the front. We are yet to test out that variant of the device and these are our impressions of the camera on the 3GB and 4GB variant of the ZenFone Max Pro.
The ZenFone Max Pro M1 comes with a 13 MP f/2.2 primary camera along with a secondary 5 MP camera sensor for depth shots. For its price, the Max Pro M1 does seem to pack in a decent dual camera setup. In my short usage, the Pro M1 does take some decent shots, especially when there’s ample light. In low light, the photos are as good as it gets in this price range. Here are a few photos I took:
When it comes to the portrait mode, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 is pretty impressive. Sure, I haven’t taken a lot of shots from the phone, but the few shots I have taken do look impressive. The edge detection seems great, the background blur is nice and the camera makes sure to keep everything natural.
On the front, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 comes with an 8 MP f/2.0 camera and well, it takes some decent photos. The front camera too has the portrait mode and while its edge detection does not seem as good as the edge detection from the rear camera, it’s fairly good.
Overall, it’s not fair to give a judgement on the Max Pro M1 camera right away but from the looks of it, the cameras on the Max Pro M1 do seem impressive for the price they are being offered at. Plus, the ZenFone Max Pro shoots 4K videos, which is something not a lot of phones in this price range can boast of.
Hardware and Performance
Under the hood, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 comes with the Octa-core Snapdragon 636 processor with up to 4 GB RAM and up to 64 GB storage. We have the 3GB/32GB variant and in my usage, the device is a capable performer. I mean, we all know that the new Snapdragon 636 processor is a great chipset and well, it shows in the Max Pro M1’s performance. There’s no lag whatsoever, but that is in my short usage. We will be testing out the device extensively, so stay tuned for our full review. Having said that, I definitely have high expectations from the ZenFone Max Pro M1 when it comes to the performance, because it runs on stock Android. Well, almost stock Android.
Yes, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 is the first Asus phone with stock Android and I love it. Look, I have always been a stock Android guy, so when I saw that the Max Pro M1 comes with stock Android 8.1 Oreo on board, I was delighted. Having said that, I did mention that it’s “almost” stock Android and well, that’s because Asus has included a few of its apps. Well, 3 apps actually, the Asus Calculator app, the FM Radio app and a sound recorder app. I suppose, we can’t call these apps bloatware.
Apart from the few Asus apps I mentioned, the Android build comes with various cool gestures, like double tap to wake or lock the device, letter gestures to open certain apps, etc. Along with gestures, Asus has also added the “face unlock” feature in ZenFone Max Pro M1 and it works well. Well, these are certainly nice additions to stock Android.
This is where the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 is most impressive. The Max Pro M1 comes with a massive 5,000 mAh battery and well, it lasts long. According to Asus, the ZenFone Max Pro is one of the world’s slimmest smartphone with a 5000mAh battery, which is commendable. The device easily lasted 2 days for me on medium to heavy usage, which is just amazing. Plus, the device comes with fast charging support but the charger bundled with the device is a standard charger.
The ZenFone Max Pro comes with all the usual connectivity options one expects from a modern day smartphone. The phone features support for dual SIM cards along with a separate slot for microSD cards. Yes, no hybrid slots here. Apart from that, the phone comes with Bluetooth 4.2, 4G support etc.
ZenFone Max Pro: Price and Availability
The Asus ZenFone Max Pro goes on sale exclusively on Flipkart from 3rd May. The 3GB/32GB variant is priced at ₹10,999, the 4GB/64GB at ₹12,999 and the 6GB/64GB with the upgraded 16MP camera on both the front and the back at ₹14,999.
It is also the first phone to come with Flipkart’s “Complete Mobile Protection” scheme, which covers liquid damage, broken screen with easy doorstep pickups and drops. The Flipkart Complete Mobile Protection will be available for a special introductory offer of ₹49.
ZenFone Max Pro: The Perfect Alternative to Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro?
Asus has released a number of budget smartphones in the past few years but I’d say, the ZenFone Max Pro is one of their best attempts yet. It’s priced right, it’s got great features and specs and it comes with stock Android. Well, the ZenFone Max Pro finally brings some competition to the Redmi Note 5 series.
Our full review of the ZenFone Max Pro M1 will be out soon, but if you have any questions regarding the device, do let us know in the comments section down below and we will make sure to answer them in our ZenFone Max Pro review.