A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2
Tests

Published:
By: Jolanta Szczepaniak

Energy-efficient medium-shelf phone

Its main distinguishable feature is the 5000 mAh battery. The rest of the specification looks tempting, and the price is not too high. Did Asus create a worthy successor of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 model?

Successful Max M1 model received an euqally great successor...
Successful Max M1 model received an euqally great successor...
photo: Jolanta Szczepaniak/GSMchoice.com

Max Pro M1 was one of the most interesting models in the last year, mainly due to an affordable combination of a big display, pure Android and a large battery. Now we receive a sequel, which is better in almost all aspects. Max Pro M2 has an even bigger, 6.26-inch display, a more modern construction (though it lacks aluminium), a stronger Snapdragon 660 CPU or an increased amount of memory (64GB and 6GB of RAM). The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, and the smartphone itself is relatively think and light, considering the size of its battery.


Contents



Packaging and accessories

In the set, along with the smartphone, we receive a 5V-2A charger, USB-microUSB cable, earphones, paper manuals, needle for opening the tray for SIM cards and a transparent, silicone etui.


Housing and display

The smartphone is light and slim – it does not show that it hides a powerful battery. The device is handy and it lies in hands perfectly, in addition it looks great. It does not have an original design, because the looks of Zenfone Max Pro M2 resembles a lot of other models on the market, but it draws our attention with a bright and a clear display and a shiny back panel, which is not made out of metal (like in the case of Zenfone Pro M1), but out of plastic. However, until we will take the phone to our hand we can think that the back panel is made out of glass. The backs are visually attractive and the housing gives nice light reflexes – ASUS calls this new finishing touch, supposedly inspired by water, “Wave Design”. Which does not change the fact, that the shiny surface catches dirt and fingerprints. As a commendation, the manufacturer added a transparent etui, which does not deprive the smartphone of its attractiveness, and it ensures a better grip and it decreases the dirt.


The front panel is taken mostly (in 83.5% to be accurate) by the 19:9 ratio display. It has a FullHD+ resolution, which translates into 2280x1080 pixels and a density on the level of 400 ppi. I have no major concerns towards the colours, I will only add that through the settings menu we can change the colours’ temperature – to a colder or a warmer one. I suggest going towards warmer colours, which gives a more natural effect. There is of course a night time mode or an automatic brightness regulation. The panel is readable in most conditions, some problems occur in the full sunlight, it does not blind the user in the night – the minimum brightness is low enough. Unfortunately, the image will deteriorate when we are going to use glasses with a polarizing filter – in the vertical orientation the image is strongly dimmed.


The display itself has arced corners, slightly thicker lower frame and a small notch, which hides sensors and the front camera, along with the LED flash. Unfortunately, we cannot hide it. On the connection point of the glass front and the housing we can see a cavity, in which the speaker for calls and a small notifications LED (in the left side of the speaker, it flashes in red and green colours) can be found. It is worth adding that the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 6.

On the back panel there are typical elements: in the left upper corner there is the dual camera with the LED flash in a common module that slightly stands above the housing, closer to the middle there is a round, slightly convex fingerprint scanner. Just below it the manufacturer has placed its logo. The lower part of the panel is disfigured by a sticker with information about the product, and below it there are printed information about the model.

The scanner worked fast and basically without any errors during the whole time in which I was using the Asus smartphone. There is the Smart Lock function and unlocking the screen with the facial recognition, which works well in good lighting, but it fails when the lighting conditions deteriorate.


Let us move to elements placed on edges of the smartphone. On the left side there is the tray for two SIM cards (in the nano size) and a microSD one – each of these slots are separate, there is no hybrid solution. The lower edge is taken by the universal jack, microphone’s hole, microUSB socket and a single external speaker. On the right there are physical buttons for volume control and the power/lock button. On the upper edge we can only find the hole of the additional microphone.


System and applications

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 has the pure version of the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system, with the security update from January the 1st 2019. I appreciate the lack of an add-on, though the manufacturer added some soft from itself, for example a recorder, FM radio, camera app and calculator. There are preinstalled Facebook, Instagram and Messenger apps as well – none of themcan be uninstalled. If Asus will not hesitate and will deliver Android Pie soon, the Max Pro M2 model will have an additional advantage.


The system that does not have a manufacturer’s add-on has its advantages, but in the consequence it lacks more advanced interface configuration capabilities or its personalization. There is for example the night time mode, which gives the screen a yellowish shade, the function of keeping the display on when the user is looking at it and an option of adjusting the screen’s colour – warmer or colder shades. I miss the possibility to hide the notch or more enhanced functions connected with configuring the image parameters and its personalization.

Not all apps deal properly with the notch. For example while gaming, on the notch’s side the image has sharp corners (the whole are of the notch is cut out), and on the other – arced. I do not entirely like the arrangement of icons in the notifications bar – on the left side there are icons of mobile and Wi-Fi networks. When we add notifications from apps the space gets easily filled. On the right side of the notch there are icons of battery and the clock, on which Asus should work a bit as well – for example when we will switch to the percentage level of the battery, digits and the % sign are slightly cut from the bottom. The devil is in the details, and Asus should take care of such elements with the next update – they are small, but they contribute to the overall feeling.


Sound

The smartphone has only a single speaker placed on the lower edge. It ensures an acceptable sound for anybody who wishes to watch a series from Netflix or listen to some music without external speakers. In the higher volume it distorts the sound a bit, there is no reason to look for bass or any depths either. But there is a minijack, to which we can plug in our favourite earphones and achieve a better sound. Earphones added to the set will not impress you in this matter.

As a player Asus uses Play Music app, which offers a basic music sorting, but it does not have an equalizer. There is on the other hand preinstalled FM radio app, which uses RDS and allows recording broadcasts.


Photos and video

In the smartphone from the lower shelf, designed mostly to have an enormous battery, there are no reason to expect extraordinary results, when it comes to photography. Which does not change the fact that users pay much attention to this aspect. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 uses Sony IMX486 sensor with a 12 MPx resolution and an f/1.8 aperture, and an additional 5-megapixel camera for depth measurement. It does not deliver above average photos, but they are perfectly acceptable in good lighting, however, the camera works much worse with insufficient light. The problem is not only with the longer work of autofocus, but with a decreased details level in photos, noticeable noises and faded colours.

The camera interface offers numerous functions: colour effects (mono, sepia, negative, solarisation, posterization, sketch, neon), portrait mode, beautifying mode, LED flash options and the possibility to choose between different modes (Auto, Pro, HDR, Sport and Night). The camera is simple and intuitive, though I do not like the way we switch between modes and choose between photos and video recording, and from functions I lack HDR in the auto mode. It needs some optimization as well – sometimes it takes a lot of time to capture a photo, there were some lags as well.


Here are photography results:


At the front there is a 13-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, accompanied by a LED flash. The camera offers beautifying and portrait modes and the possibility to choose colour filters.


The camera enables recording in the maximum resolution of 4K, though for a better smoothness and the possibility to use electronic image stabilization it is best to record in FullHD. The video quality is good and the sound is clear. Among other functions we cannot find a popular slow motion, which can be found in competition. And here are video recording results:

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 - sample videos in 1080p
video: GSMchoice.com/YouTube

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 - sample video in 4K
video: GSMchoice.com/YouTube

Communication

The smartphone supports 4G VoLTE and dual 4G – that is 4G on both SIM cards at the same time. Other connectivity options cover a single-channel Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 5 LE and GPS. It supports USB OTG as well, thanks to which we can plug in external USB drives. In comparison to its smaller brother with a poorer equipment, Max Pro M2 has NFC and the Google Pay app.

Voice calls

The smartphone supports two SIM cards and it offers enhancing the quality of calls. There were no problems with coverage, volume or hearing and understanding interlocutors. What is more, both slots can support 4G networks simultaneously and we can choose which card will be responsible for calls, texts and transfer.


Memory and efficiency

After turning the phone for the first time the user is left with 53.44 GB – out of 64GB of memory declared by the manufacturer. There is an option to place a microSD card – and, what is more important, the slot is separate from SIM cards. In addition, Asus offers 100GB for a year for free in the Google Drive service.

ZenFone Max Pro M2 has one of the most popular CPUs in the middle shelf – Snapdragon 660 (Quad 2.2 GHz Kryo 260 + Quad 1.8 GHz Kryo 260 CPU) with Adreno 512 GPU, supported with 6GB of RAM. Thanks to this set we cannot complain about speed, smoothness and efficiency of the device. Its work is impeccable, even when the hardware is pushed to its limits. I did not notice any decrease in efficiency neither when using demanding apps, nor with working with multiple apps or while gaming. There are no problems with overheating as well.


Battery

Capacious battery and great lifespans are the biggest advantages of Zenfone Max Pro M2. After all, 5000 mAh is more than what contemporary smartphones can offer. Thanks to this, people who are using their smartphones more intensively, can forget about a charger for two days, and those who are using their phone even less can double this time.

Charging the battery takes a lot of time, almost three hours. We need over an hour to achieve 50%, after another we have around 80%. Charging remaining percentages takes additional 40-50 minutes. Capacious battery is an advantage, but the lack of quick charging is less pleasant.

  • lifespan with the display on (YouTube, 1 SIM card, active Wi-Fi module, 50% screen brightness) - 17 hours and 35 minutes,
  • an hour of video streaming (Chrome, 1 SIM card, active Wi-Fi module, 50% screen brightness) - 7% of battery lost,
  • an hour of streaming videos from the phone’s memory (airplane mode, 50% screen brightness) - 7% of battery lost,
  • half an hour using online navigation - 4-5%,
  • half an hour of playing Real Racing 3 - 7%,
  • PC Mark battery test result – 13 hours and 53 minutes,
  • 8 hours in the standby mode - 4-6%.

Summary

The ZenFone Max series has put the bar high when it comes to delivering models with good parameters, reasonable price and astonishing lifespans. Last year’s Pro M1 was a great example, and now Pro M2 will follow its steps. Though it has changed from the outside it was not deprived of all the major advantages of its predecessor – it has a capacious battery, the system without an add-on and it is offered in an attractive price. Max Pro M2 in the version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory costs 285 pounds. Its biggest competition are probably smartphones from Xiaomi, like Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, Xiaomi Mi A2 or Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages:

  • great lifespans
  • notifications LED
  • display’s parameters
  • recording in 4K
  • Gorilla Glass 6
  • pure Android
  • a lot of RAM
  • satisfying efficiency
  • minijack
  • NFC and Google Pay
  • silicone etui in the set
  • separate slots for SIM and microSD cards

Disadvantages

  • long charging
  • microUSB socket
  • plastic housing that catches dirt and scratches easily
  • average photos quality
  • there is no possibility to hide the notch
  • Wi-Fi with only single 2.4 GHz channel

Source: GSMchoice.com; viewed: 330 times.


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By: Jolanta Szczepaniak

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