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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 review: A big battery budget beauty

By James Lu - 22 Jan 2019
Launch SRP: S$349

Benchmark Performance, Imaging, Battery life, and Conclusion

Benchmark Performance

The Max Pro M2 has been given a boost in performance over its predecessor thanks to a more powerful mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor and a whopping 6GB RAM. The only other entry-level phone using a 660 processor is Xiaomi's Mi A2.

  ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 Huawei Nova 3i Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus Xiaomi Mi A2
  ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 Huawei Nova 3i Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus Xiaomi Mi A2
Launch SRP
  • From S$349
  • From S$348
  • From S$398
  • From S$299
  • From S$369
Operating system
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2
  • MIUI 9.5 based on Android 7.1.2
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
  • HiSilicon Kirin 710
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core 2.0GHz Cortex-A53
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
Built-in Memory
  • 6GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM (Singapore variant)
  • 4GB (Singapore version)
Display
  • 6.26-inch / 2,280 x 1,080 pixels (~403ppi) / 19:9 aspect ratio / IPS LCD
  • 5.99-inch / 2,160 x 1,080 pixels (~404ppi) / 18:9 aspect ratio / IPS LCD
  • 6.3-inch / 2,340 x 1,080 pixels (~409ppi) / 19.5:9 aspect ratio / IPS LCD
  • 5.99-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio / IPS / 2,160 x 1,080 pixels
  • 5.99-inch / 1,080 x 2,160 pixels (~403 ppi) / LTPS IPS LCD
Camera
  • Rear: 12-megapixel, f/1.8, 1.25µm, PDAF + 5-megapixel, f/2.4, 1.12µm, depth sensor
  • Front: 13-megapixel, f/2, 1.12µm
  • Rear: 13-megapixel, f/2.2, 25mm (wide), 1.12µm, PDAF + 5-megapixel, f/2.4, 1.12µm, depth sensor
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1.0µm
  • Rear: 16-megapixel, f/2.2 PDAF, + 2-megapixel depth sensor
  • Front: 24-megapixel, f/2.0 + 2-megapixel depth sensor
  • - Rear: 12-megapixel (f/2.2, 1.25 μm), phase detection autofocus, dual-LED dual-tone flash
  • - Front: 5-megapixel
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel (f/1.75) and 20-megapixel (f/1.75), PDAF, Super Pixel pixel-binning
  • Front: 20-megapixel (f/2.2), Super Pixel pixel-binning
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi direct, GPS, AGPS, micro-USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi direct, GPS, AGPS, micro-USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi direct, GPS, AGPS, micro-USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS, AGPS, GLONASS and Beidou positioning, FM radio, IR blaster, micro-USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 5.0 A2DP/LE, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDS, USB Type-C 2.0
Storage Type
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Expandable up to 512GB (via microSD)
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Expandable up to 512GB (via microSD)
  • 128GB internal storage
  • Expandable up to 256GB (via microSD)
  • 64GB internal storage (Singapore variant)
  • microSD support up to 128GB
  • 64GB (Singapore version), non-expandable
Battery
  • 5,000mAh
  • 5,000mAh
  • 3,340mAh
  • 4,000mAh
  • 3,000 mAh
Dimensions
  • 157.9 x 75.5 x 8.5 mm
  • 159 x 76 x 8.5 mm
  • 157.6 x 75.2 x 7.6 mm
  • 159 x 76 x 8.1mm
  • 158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
Weight
  • 175g
  • 180g
  • 169g
  • 180g
  • 166g

SunSpider Javascript

SunSpider JavaScript measures the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is in delivering a high-speed web browsing experience. 

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 was the best performer in this comparison thanks to its speedy processor, 6GB RAM and stock Android OS. Actual browser performance was fast and smooth.

 

Basemark OS II

Basemark OS II is an all-in-one benchmarking tool that measures overall performance through a comprehensive suite of tests including system, internal and external memory, graphics, web browsing, and CPU consumption.

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 was again the best performer in this benchmark.

3DMark Sling Shot

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes impressive volumetric lighting and post-processing effects. We're running this benchmark in Unlimited mode, which ignores screen resolutions.

Once again the ZenFone Max Pro M2 showed significant improvement over last year's M1 and was also faster than the Mi A2 thanks to its extra 2GB RAM.

 

Imaging Performance

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 has a dual rear camera setup comprising of a 12-megapixel f/1.8 primary camera paired with a 5-megapixel depth sensor, which is only used for capturing information for Portrait Mode.

The default camera app is a custom version from ASUS rather than the stock Android one. The camera app has most of the basic features, and even includes a Pro mode, that lets you manually adjust most settings. According to ASUS, the camera app will also be getting a firmware update in mid-February which will add AI camera features (first seen in the ZenFone 5).

Image quality is pretty good, especially for a phone this cheap. Colors and white balance are accurate, and detail retention is good, with fairly low noise or processing. However, the phone does struggle a little in low-light situations, and the auto-focus could be a bit snappier. For those interested, head over here to check how the Max Pro M1 and the Huawei Nova 3i fare.

Click for full-size image.

 

 

Battery Life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 has the same size 5,000mAh battery as its predecessor. While its battery life was still great, lasting eleven hours and 13 minutes in our video looping benchmark, it actually fell slightly short of the Max Pro M1. This is presumably due to the Pro M2's larger display and more powerful processor. Still, it's a good showing by the newcomer.

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 supports fast charging, but only up to 10W of power. Due to the sheer size of the battery, it actually takes quite a long time to charge the phone. Using the bundled charger, the Max Pro M2 reached 50% in just over an hour, and took nearly three hours to reach 100% charge.

 

Conclusion

When I reviewed the Max Pro M1 last year, it narrowly lost out to Huawei's Nova 3i, due to the 3i's more interesting design, better features, and slightly better performance. However, the improvements ASUS has made to the Max Pro M2 change things entirely, and the new attractive Wave Design, larger display, much better performance, same great battery life and stock Android OS, all without an increase in price now makes ASUS the clear leader when it comes to entry-level phones.

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 punches well above its weight, and it looks, feels and handles like a much more expensive device. If you're on a tight budget for your next phone purchase, and you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, right now, there's no better purchase than the Max Pro M2.

At the point of publishing this article (4th January 2019), local online stores have yet to receive sales stock. By 12th January 2019, all authorized online stores have the phone stocked:- LazadaQoo10 and Shopee.

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8.0
  • Design 8
  • Features 7.5
  • User-Friendliness 7.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Premium-looking design
Stock Android OS
Long battery life
Good benchmark performance
Dual SIM + dedicated microSD card slot
Headphone jack
The Bad
No NFC
Only up to 10W fast charging
Micro-USB port
Still a plastic build
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