Massive battery pack
ZenUI works brilliantly
Works as power bank
4G LTE support
No word on Android Marshmallow update
The Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550KL) is an energetic device. It not only offers you the complete smartness of an Android device but also works as a power bank.
We’ve mentioned the design and camera capabilities of the Asus Zenfone Max in the last two sections. And here, we are digging out all its pros and cons.
The Zenfone Max features a 5.5-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 (HD) resolution and 267ppi pixel density. The display panel has multi-touch support. Although the default settings on the smartphone deliver a decent viewing experience, Asus has bundled its Splendid app to let you manually adjust color temperature. You can also enable Bluelight filter from the same app to comfortably read books for long hours. We haven’t experienced any lag while viewing on-screen content under bright sunlight and viewing angles were appeared to be quite close to the Zenfone 2.
While you might be expecting the latest Android version, the Zenfone Max presently runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. There is an option to receive future firmware updates through over-the-air (OTA) channel. Also, the Taiwanese giant is likely to offer an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the coming future.
On top of Android Lollipop, the smartphone has Asus’ ZenUI. This is the proprietary interface by the company to counter Xiaomi’s MIUI and is similar to Cyanogen OS on some fronts. For instance, you can wake the smartphone with a double-tap gesture as well as replace any of the existing app icons or transition effects as per your preference. There is also a Themes app to offer you a collection of themes with personalisation options. The company has provided a lock screen that has a clock widget with weather update option. Once unlocked, there is a homescreen for app shortcuts, folders and widgets and an app drawer. You can categorise app icons or can even bundle multiple icons in a single folder right within the drawer.
The ZenUI additionally brings some pre-installed apps on the Zenfone Max. There is Asus Mobile Manager that works similar to Security app on MIUI and provides you a single place to access power saver, data usage monitor and virus scanner. In addition, there is Auto-Start Manager that allows you to deny auto-start of any particular app on your smartphone to extend its battery life. The smartphone also comes with a pre-installed MyAsus app to let you connect with the support team or use ZenTalk forum for any technical support.
The proprietary interface offers a custom experience for telephony and messaging as well. The smartphone has a Phone app with a smart dialler and a Messaging app with Asus Keyboard integration. As there is dual-SIM support, you can choose any one of your SIM networks to dial a number or to send a text message. We haven’t noticed any issue while making calls and sending text messages throughout our testing. The built-in LTE Category 4 technology had additionally enhanced network presence on our 4G connection.
The Zenfone Max has an Asus File Manager app to let you access your files in the local storage. You can also use the app to view content from a microSD card or even from an external media device such as pen drive or a thumb drive. Further, there is Asus WebStorage access to let you store and read content directly from a cloud storage. This works with an Asus account.
For web browsing, there are three web browser apps, including Google Chrome, Puffin and a proprietary Browser. These three web browsers have multi-tabbing support, and can open almost any website without any lag. Moreover, the 4G connectivity option enables fast web browsing experience.
Asus has provided its Music app to enable music playback on the Zenfone Max. Also, there is Google Play Music and Play Movies apps that are enough to fulfill your multimedia desires. All these apps support most of the audio and video formats. The built-in speaker and the large display panel are sufficient enough to accomplish the job. We haven’t observed any issue while playing music and videos on the Zenfone Max throughout our testing.
To test the performance of the Zenfone Max, we installed some of the popular benchmark apps. The smartphone resulted 25,641 on AnTuTu version 6.0.1, 52.9fps on NenaMark version 2.4, 13,293 on Quadrant Standard Edition version 2.1.1, 844 on Vellamo (Metal) version 3.2.
Apart from using the benchmark apps, we tested the performance by the Zenfone Max by playing some games. The smartphone has enough caliber to support most of the regular games such as Minion Rush, Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2. However, if you’re looking to play game titles like Need For Speed: Most Wanted or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you may feel some lag. But notably, the smartphone does not generate much heat even when using its resources intensively.
The 5,000mAh battery of the Zenfone Max is its USP. It has been designed to enhance the battery life on the smartphone. Asus claims that the battery has enough power to deliver you over 38 days of standby time on a single charge. We found that the smartphone works without requiring a charger for about four days. This is quite big. Also, there is an option to use the smartphone as a power bank.
We tested the power bank functionality by using the provided USB OTG cable and charged a 5,200mAh battery-equipped power bank to almost its entire capacity. Of course, you can use the functionality to charge your one of your secondary or primary smartphone or a tablet.
The Asus Zenfone Max has a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) chipset with a 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex A53 CPU and 400MHz Adreno 306 GPU. There is 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 16GB on-board flash memory, which offers 10.48GB user-accessible storage. The smartphone does have a microSD card slot to let you expand the built-in storage by up to 128GB. On the connectivity front, there is Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and a microUSB port with USB OTG support. The smartphone has accelerometer, ambient light, magnetic field, orientation and proximity sensors.
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