Asus is also making its name on the smartphone scene, with more recent releases of its Zenfone models, it’s now catered to certain audiences. But recently they released the Zenfone Max Pro M1 that is aimed at a mid-range smartphone for gamers. Let’s see if the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 can be crowned as the Battery King.
The exterior of the Zenfone Max Pro M1 leaves at least a good impression. The design is not original, but the metal and plastic housing looks chic and sturdy. On the back is an excellent fingerprint scanner, although it is not as fast as that of some competitors. In front of the M1, you will find a massive 6-inch display with a modern, elongated 18:9 ratio. The edges around the screen are, however, on the large side, making the device for many people cannot be operated with one hand. You also notice the hefty dimensions when you put the M1 in a – tight – pocket.
It is also unfortunate that the phone has an old micro-USB connection and not about USB-C. A USB-C port has no top or bottom, so the cable always fits. This is not the case with micro-USB. Another advantage of USB-C is that the battery can charge faster. An NFC chip is also missing in the Zenfone Max Pro M1 – something that we often see on budget smartphones. Contactless payment is therefore not possible with this Asus phone.
Fast Processor and Dual-Sim!
More important things like the screen are fortunately excellent. The LCD panel looks vibrant and lifelike, and the full-HD resolution provides a sharp view. Although more and more smartphones have a screen notch, the M1 does it without. That is not strange: the screen edges are large enough to accommodate all sensors and the front camera.
Under the hood, Asus has not cut back. On the contrary. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 runs on a fast Snapdragon 636 processor and has 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage. The device runs like sun and is noticeably faster than competitive phones like the Motorola Moto G6, which has a slower processor and less memory.
You can simultaneously insert an SD card and two SIM cards into the Zenfone Max Pro M1, which is very nice and is not very common on cheaper phones. Also noticeable is the large battery capacity (5000 mAh), which allows us two days ahead with the Zenfone without problems. For comparison: most phones that are comparable in terms of specifications and price to the M1 have a 3000 mAh battery. Charging the Zenfone phone’s battery takes a long time, over three hours. Refueling a large battery takes longer anyway, and Asus has cut a fast charge function.
Two Cameras for Portrait Photos!
A double camera is placed on the back of the Zenfone. The combination consists of 13 and 5-megapixel cameras with apertures of f/2.2 and f / 2.4. The primary camera takes great photos as long as there is enough (day) light. The quality is comparable to that of most competitors and is good enough to share snaps via social media or to make a photo album. The secondary camera is used to shoot images with a sharpness/depth effect (bokeh). This works nice and can be very useful when making portrait photos. There is a clear difference in quality noticeable with the portrait function of more expensive smartphones with advanced cameras such as the Apple iPhone X.
However, looking at the price difference, that makes sense, and the Asus phone is doing fine. In the (Twilight) dark, the general photo and video quality of the cameras are less good, although you can still use it. The 8-megapixel front camera also makes great photos and videos, as long as you do not zoom in too much. Then you see that the images look somewhat grainy.
Standard Android Software!
For Asus, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 is an experimental device: it is the first Zenfone without Asus’ ZenUI software. Without the shell, which looks and works differently than the standard Android version, the Android 8.1 Oreo software on the M1 is ‘stock,’ and updates need to be released faster and more frequently. At least, that’s what Asus promises. Unfortunately, the software is kept by Asus, and there is no question of Android One, which is real ‘stock’: Android without fuss. So hard guarantees Asus does not want to give, and that is disappointing. Asus’ update policy regarding ZenUI devices is moderate to poor, so we are curious.
The absence of ZenUI is, in any case, a decisive factor. Asus has only added three Facebook apps that unfortunately cannot be removed, only to be turned off. And the standard Android camera app has been replaced by an Asus app that looks dated, has an illogical effect and makes photos less quickly. Sin. Three other pre-installed Asus apps are fortunately more useful: an FM radio, a calculator and a sound recorder.
For gaming, all we need to prioritize is that Snapdragon 636 is very capable of providing gaming experience in the toughest Android games even though not all of them use the highest graphics presets. Take for example, on a mobile PUBG, and the game detects that Adreno 509 is the right way on the medium setting. Even though we feel up to the high quality, the game continues to run fluid. In racing games that go into heavy categories like Asphalt 8: Airborne, gameplay also runs without constraints on the right flat settings. For MOBA games like Arena of Valor, we also set the settings to all right. As a result, as crowded as any arena, we don’t feel there is a lag. Even so, it is very rare. In terms of additional apps, the Max Pro does not have much of any bloatware that is useful, giving it more space for more important stuff that is, of course, games.
And of course, it’s time to talk about the battery. The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 boasts of a 5000mAh capacity that gives it the Battery King as its moniker. Promising long lasting battery life for everyday use, the Max Pro does deliver in terms of battery life. When just using mainly for social media browsing, it can last more than a day before draining its battery. As for gaming sessions, it can last really long with games like PUBG Mobile and other mobile RPGs for longer grinding sessions. And for charging, the Max Pro features fast charging capabilities that lets users charge the phone to max capacity in just an hour.
For a mid-range phone at its price range, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 fairs well to provide reliable performance and a long last battery. Aimed directly at mobile gamers, it offers a great combination of gaming performance with a powerful battery that lets players enjoy more extended gaming sessions. The camera may be a turn-off to some who are looking for an excellent alternative for photography, but it can still produce decent shots when handled properly. The overall look may seem simple, but its solid build makes up for it. The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is indeed the Battery King and an excellent choice for gamers who don’t want to spend big to enjoy their games at more extended periods.