ASUS released new models for the Zenfone Max series right before 2018 closed. They closed the year with a bang as they introduce the two new models for the Max family, the Zenfone Max PRO M2 and Zenfone Max M2.
The bearer of the flagship banner for the new Max models, the Zenfone Max Pro M2, came to our testing bench and amazed us with its new look, undeniable gaming performance, battery endurance, and AI feature set. Now, we’ve got another one from the same series, the spiritual successor of the previous models, the Zenfone Max M2.
Does it have the necessary improvements to be hailed as one of the new battery kings of the ASUS Zenfone Max series? Let us take you deeper into its core and check if it cuts to be above with the rest of the series’ kings.
Design and display:
The Zenfone Max M2 retains most of the design characteristics of the previous generation: an aluminum uni-body, audio port at the top, input ports and speakers at the bottom, volume buttons and power button on the right, and a triple-slot SIM tray on the left; with the notch and speaker design being the striking differences from its predecessor.
Being a tall smartphone, the Zenfone Max M2, much like the Pro M1, presents a challenge to those with shorter finger reach. Tho, the power/lock button is well within a reachable place that adjusting hand position is deemed unnecessary, lowering and increasing the volume begs to differ, as the volume buttons are placed above the power/lock button and would require a bit of hold adjustment.
The new speaker grille design substantially boosts the sound output of the M2, however, it somewhat presents a problem that will haunt users in the long run – dirt buildup. With the gap before the grille left widely open, dirt and other small foreign objects can easily slide in it and build-up over time. Without regular cleaning, dirt buildups and foreign object intrusions may cause damage to the grille and even compromise sound output.
On the other hand, the inclusion of the notch opened a door to extend the M2’s display estate. ASUS embraced the uncharming notch to make use of the five-millimeter black bar where the front camera is, and thinned the chin to make way for more screen estate.
The M2 is built with a 6.26-inch IPS display which has a 720 x 1520 resolution, a fairly large display that’s good for video consumption and playing games. Tho, as you may have noticed, its resolution is a bit on the low, which in this day and age is a little outdated.
Honestly, the overall design and display are good for its place in the Max series, however, the resolution of the screen is a bit low for the display size it sports; and design can be a bit boring for some if we are to talk about its price segment and category. Main Shooter
The Zenfone Max M2 is equipped with a 13MP f1.8 camera accompanied by a second camera with 2MP depth sensor. For the front camera, the Zenfone Max M2 sports an 8MP f2.0 camera.
Rear camera shot in broad daylight
On default settings, the colors of the images from the M2’s rear camera are exceptionally good, with the colors being accurately natural looking and the white balance flowing at a fair level. And just like the Pro M1’s, the auto-focus of the M2’s rear camera does its job as fast and reliable as the previous generation’s top dog; and it still does a great job even in low-light and indoor scenarios.
Generally, shooting outdoors where natural light is abundant produces great images. With the M2’s camera, however, outdoor images such as those with direct contact with bountiful of natural lighting tend to be overly exposed in some occasions, tho it can be done away with the HDR feature of the camera. Night shots or shooting with restrained lighting still produce vibrant images, all thanks to its sensors. There’s a night mode available for one’s disposal as well, however, it doesn’t help make images look brighter but rather makes them duller by sipping away contrast.
You can also pull out a stabilized 1080P recording with its digital stabilization feature available only at 1080P and locked at 30fps, just like its 4K video recording but without the stabilization feature.
Battery, Performance, and what we think
The Zenfone Max M2 is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery, a thousand short compared to the Pro models, but is on the same playing field as the M1. The 4,000 mAh battery powers up the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SOC that run up to 1.80Ghz, a 3GB RAM/4GB RAM, and all the other components under the hood of the M2.
Even with just 4,000 mAh of battery, the Zenfone Max M2 was able to last for more than a day in our mixed usage scenario. The M2 was able to do so, thanks to its Snapdragon 632 platform that not only brings enhanced performance but also helps in battery efficiency which translates to longer usability. In a heavy gaming scenario, the M2’s battery lasted about 7-hours until it pleaded for a charging port.
Slingshot result with temperature readings
Unlike in PCs and laptops, the temperature can be controlled, while in SOCs and other chip-based devices such as smartphones and tablets, exceeding normal temperatures translate to lower performance and early components degradation. Without the option to lower temperature by using external coolers, smartphones depend solely on passive heat dissipation. As such, the Zenfone Max M2, just like the Pro M1, distributes the accumulated heat from the processor and battery all through its aluminum back. This makes heat dissipation much easier, as all the heat from the battery and other components are dispersed all over its aluminum back, which can maintain the temperature at a high of 46*C and easily pull it down to its idle temperature of 33*C.
The smartphone realm has a lot of worthy offerings for consumers who are in a tight budget. Tho, the Zenfone Max M2 is priced a tad higher than other new offerings, it presents the user with a wider display estate and robust speakers that are good for movies and gaming. And tho it’s reminiscent of the previous iteration, it still presents feature improvements and a higher level of performance onto the table. The main camera is noteworthy as well, as if it learned from the mistakes of the past and bettered what it brought to the table today. In its place in the Max series, the Zenfone Max M2 is a worthy addition. However, if we put into consideration the other smartphones that can go head to head (spec-wise) with the M2 at a much lower price, then it would all just boil down to performance and components longevity, which we all know what ASUS is known for. Performance and components longevity can only be answered by time. But if you are a true fan of a brand and knows how they make their products then the answer should be clear as daylight by now.
The Zenfone Max M2 is priced at Php 8,995 and is available at all ASUS partner store.