Asus Zenfone 3 Max Review (ZC520TL)

Zenfone3max

BATTERY MONSTER

It’s been few days with the Asus ZenFone 3 Max and quite honestly this phone does not have much to complain about. The phone is targeted at the people who still prefer small phone but yet don’t want to compromise with the overall experience. The phone Asus sent us is the 3 GB RAM coupled with 32GB of internal storage variant ‘ZC520TL’ to be exact. In case you are not aware, the product code that ASUS assigns for each Zenfone variant easily identifies the make, screen size, and chipset. The Zenfone 3 Max which Asus has sent to us is ZC520TL where ZC refers to the entry-level smartphone series, 520 refers to 5.2-inch screen first version, and TL is Mediatek chipset. The Zenfone 3 5.5-inch is ZE552KL, where ZE is the mid-tier level, 552 refers to 5.5-inch third version, and KL is Qualcomm chipset.

Design
Asus ZenFone 3 looks more premium when you compare it with the predecessor series. It has improved a lot, it’s comparatively slimmer and lighter. One thing is for sure that Asus has completely abandoned using the plastic material as this new Zenfone 3 Max is made of aluminum. It features a unibody design with antenna lines on top as well as bottom much like the iPhone. Edges of the phone are rounded which makes it comfortable to hold and the 2.5D glass does a great help too.

There is a contoured 2.5D glass on the front and it has 75% screen to body ratio, side bezels are thin.

There is nothing new about the way this phone is designed, we have seen similar design format in other devices earlier.
One significant change is the removal of capacitive keys in the favor of on-screen buttons which I personally prefer

On the front there is a 5 MP shooter along side the earpiece and sensors.


On the back of the phone we see silver antenna lines at top followed by the 13 MP camera coupled with a finger print sensor and the LED flash and if we go little below there is Asus logo and speaker grille and another silver antenna line again

 

On the left side we find a hybrid sim slot [ SIM + SIM or SIM + Micro SD at once ],


On right there is volume rockers and power button which are placed quite well and easy to press and reach

 

3.5mm audio jack at the top and micro usb port at the bottom in extreme right beside the microphone

 

I am kinda surprised that Asus didn’t go for the USB-C with this phone as all the other ZenFone 3 has that feature. Anyhow this is not a major issue as most smartphone in the market are still having the older micro-usb which makes this phone more versatile.

Display

The Display is a 5.2″ LCD panel. There is not so much fancy about this display, just a 1280×720 with a PPI of 282. Viewing angles are good, color reproduction is good as well there is nothing really to complain about. It gets bright (400 nits) enough to read in sunlight. The responsiveness of the touchscreen is poor, it is not as smooth as one would like.

Performance & Software

Performance is mediocre, the phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6737M which is a 4 core CPU all cores are clocked at 1.25 GHz coupled and its coupled with 3 GB of RAM and Mali- T720MP2 for the GPU.
It performs normal tasks very well such as Social Networking. Don’t expect this phone to run high-end games on high visual settings, this phone is just not made for that.

And like all the other Asus ZenFone devices this device also runs on Asus’ ZenUI. ZenUI has not been appreciated much in previous generation devices, but with Zenfone 3 series, Asus has made many changes to improve the user experience. While the pre-installed apps count stays the same, you can uninstall the most and remaining can be disabled if you need to.

     

Battery

Battery is one of the main selling point of this device while 4100 mAh is a downgrade from last year’s ZenFone 2 Max’s 5000 mAh but contributes to the thinness and light weight of the phone which is not a bad thing. This phone appeals to the people who do not want to charge their phone too often and stay out for longer period of time. The charger included is of 2 amp at 5 volts so it takes around 2 hrs to get from 0 to 100%

This phone has enough power that it can be used as a power bank and the output is quite fast. I mean heck, we have seen that the previous ZenFone Max was advertised for this. It made much more sense with a 5000 mAh battery but it is a nice feature to have.

Expect this phone to last almost 2 days with moderate usage, battery percentage doesn’t drop fast while doing heavy tasks such as playing high-end games.
Even though this phone has a really good battery life, the asus mobile manager app also includes a battery saving mode which helps in using the device for a bit more by only enabling core functions of the phone such as SMS, Calls, Alarm etc.

                           

Camera

This is part where things get interesting. The back camera is a 13MP sensor and front is a 5MP sensor. Camera is good for the cost. There is no manual mode though and while testing the camera there were many times when the subject went out of focus leaving us with a blurry picture .
Outdoors the back camera performs quite good, the color reproduction is as you would expect is good. Contrast is good. Sometimes in outdoors the exposure level is not balanced.

For more camera samples do checkout my Instagram profile: @piyushbatra1999

Few Camera Samples:

 

 

Speaker

Not only that the placement of the speaker is on the back which is not a good placement, it would be better if they placed it on the front. But placement is not the only issue here with the speaker, they don’t get too loud and sound a lot tiny. Honestly it was a bad experience with the speakers

Finger Print Sensor

Finger Print sensor, now you see finger print sensor on pretty much every phone priced above 10,000 INR. This phone is no exception, the finger print sensor on this phone is a 360-degree one, which means it would recognize your finger regardless of the orientation of your finger, just make sure that you have registered the finger with the phone and when it comes to how many fingerprints the sensor can remember, it is 5. You can register up to five fingers in this phone, so you can use any of the five fingers that you have registered to unlock this device. But there’s a catch, this sensor is a bit inaccurate. It will unlock the phone 3 out of 5 times and remaining times it would just refuse to accept, which is kind of a disappointment when you see the price you are paying for the phone.

Pros

Great Battery Life
Good Camera
Aluminum Build
2.5D Glass
Beautiful Design
Good after sale service

Cons
Mediocre performance
Below Average Speaker quality
Highly priced

Conclusion.

This phone is good there’s no doubt, excellent form factor combined with good build materials and decent hardware and above average camera and monstrous battery, the only problem that we see is that this phone is priced quite high and it has to compete with the likes of Xiaomi’s Redmi Series and LeEco’s Le Series. But the after sale services is significantly better than the above-mentioned company’s which gives a lead to Asus.

Price: ₹12,999 (32 GB)

Zenfone 3 Max Review
  • Design
  • Display
  • Performance & Software
  • Battery
  • Camera
  • Speakers
  • Miscellaneous

Summary

This phone is good there's no doubt, excellent form factor combined with good build materials and decent hardware and above average camera and monstrous battery, the only problem that we see is that this phone is priced quite high and it has to compete with the likes of Xiaomi's Redmi Series and LeEco's Le Series. But the after sale services is significantly better than the above-mentioned company's which gives a lead to Asus.

3.8

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