Plugging in your phone because its low on battery is a sight which we seen a lot these days. As a result Asus unveiled the Zenfone Max and shortly thereafter the updated Zenfone Max. Diversifying the Zenfone Max range Asus launched the Zenfone 3 Max(ZC520TL) and Zenfone 3 Max(ZC553KL).

Zenfone 3 Max(ZC553KL)

The Zenfone Max was a great device but a long lasting battery life but was a budget device therefore lacking in performance. The Zenfone 3 Max is made in aiming the mid-segment devices rather the old Zenfone Max aimes at the budget segment. We recently reviewed the Zenfone 3 and the Zenfone 3 laser and both were great devices. The expectations were high with the Zenfone 3 max. Can it live upto the mark?

Zenfone 3 Max


With the 2.5D glass on the front, all metal back the Zenfone 3 Max surely feels premium in the hand. The device measures 151.4 x 76.2 x 8.3 mm and weighs almost 175 grams. Zenfone 3 Max has a 5.5 inch display yet comfortable to hold in hand Zenfone 3 Max has a good design.

In the front above the screen there is the front speaker grill with a secondary camera on it's left and a sensors on it's right. Below the screen there are the usual back, home and recents capacitive buttons(not backlit). The device has very less bezels which make the 5.5-inch display(73% body:screen ratio) look small than usual.

The back of the has two horizontal bars running on the top and bottom. There is a camera in the middle at the top with dual tone flash on the left and a laser autofocus on the right. The fingerprint sensor just below the camera in addition to the "ASUS" branding on the bottom.

On the right there are the volume rockers with a power button following them. On the left there is a a slot for the dual hybrid sim card tray. Which is one sim card slot and one hybrid sim card/micro-sd slot. On the top there is a headphone jack and a secondary microphone. On the bottom there is a micro-usb charger slot with speakers and a microphone.

The design is consistent with the Zenfone 3 series. Overall the phone looks great and feels great. The device is a bit chunkier looks wise which is due to the battery it holds. We got the Silver color but the device is also available in Gray, Pink and the Gold.


The device runs on the Android 6.0.1(Marshmellow) with the Asus's Zen-UI  skin on the top. The software is pretty good with a bundle of Asus's apps makes the UI better rather than slowing it down. The device has cold screen access as a result double tap to wake and app launch shortcuts improve the quality of the UI. Along with the features like flip to silence and a applock built right in the core, Zen UI is probably one of the top UI in the Android domain. There is not much needed to say about the Zen-UI. Its feature loaded and overall experience is truly amazing. Moreover, the device was made with a battery to last therefore there are certain apps for the power management and optimization which serves as a cherry on top of a cake.


The performance is a major area of concern in any device. The device was made for long lasting battery therefore ?
high performance wasn't expected. To our surprise the device was performs equally well as it lasts. The device comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 coupled with Adreno 430 and 3GB of RAM. The device was able to run all day to day tasks pretty smooth as well as didn't lag while gaming.

We ran our usual AnTuTu Benchmark and the device gave us a score of 44,189. There was a little throttling recorded but that was negligible.

We also ran an all time favorite Asphalt 8 and the performance was pretty amazing. The device didn't lagged a bit and the game ran smoothly.

The fingerprint sensor is fast and could store up to five fingerprints at a time. The device can also be unlocked with the help of the fingerprint sensor when the screen is off too.


Zenfone 3 Max With Box

The device has a amazing 5.5-inch(1080x1920) full HD display with okay sunlight readability and glove mode i.e. can be used with gloves. The colors were vivid and vibrant. The device has a 180-degree viewing angle. All in all the display was good.


The Zenfone 3 Max has a 16 MP, f/2.0 MP primary camera and a 8 MP, f/2.2 front snapper. The camera app has a nice easy to understand interface. Users can choose between Manual, HDR Pro, Beautification, Super Resolution, Low-light, QR Code, Night, Depth of field, Effect, Selfie, GIF animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time rewind, Slow motion, or Time Lapse modes. All these modes are also found in the Zenphone 3 also and are believed to be present in the Zenfone 3 Range.


The close up shots were pretty good. The 16MP back camera lives upto its mark. There is a laser focus module at the back, but it isn't as good as the Zenfone 3 laser. The front camera is equally good. The beautification mode is good for someone who is fond of clicking their own pictures.


The low light mode wasn't that good. The camera of the Zenfone 3 Max is not its strongest point but it still pretty good. Can say exceeded our expectations.

Connectivity Storage Battery life

The device comes with standard connectivity module, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and Glonass. The Zenfone 3 max also supports 4G VoLTE and USB OTG. The OTG cable came with the box. The Zenfone 3 Max like the other Zenfone Max series has the ability to charge other devices. To do the same connect your phone to the Zenfone 3 Max using the OTG provided in the box.

The 4100 mAh battery lasted more than a day with heavy usage including gaming and multiple Antutu Benchmarks, usage of full brightness ,location enabled you get the idea. On a average usage the device lasted a little more 2 days. The VoLTE seemed out to be consuming a heavy percentage of the battery. Without the VoLTE enable the device ran almost 3 days on average usage. The device however doesn't support fast charging but with the 2 Amp charger provided in the box it took around 3 hours to charge up the device. Considering a heavy 4100mAh battery this was pretty good. The speakers are loud enough and also the in-ear earphones provided were decent for distortion free music. The outdoor mode boosted the sound and the decrease in the quality wasn't that much.

The one thing we would like to point out was the software bug in the device regarding the VoLTE. There is a persistent "Device is HD capable" notification and the performance on VoLTE is very poor as a result draining a lot of battery. This is a bug in Android itself which affects some of Android 6.0 devices. It is supposed to be fixed by Google but it would be great it Asus fixed  it.

Why upgrade?

The Zenfone Max is available at a price of ₹9,999 and packs a little less on performance but more on battery. The point being is it worth it spending ₹7,000 more for better performance in a phone most noteworthy of its battery . Finally it's up to the user. The updated design and the performance bump is surely worth the price. We would recommend the Zenfone 3 Max as 2 years in the future, what's good a battery backup if device can't perform with the latest standards. Therefore if you are looking for a long term phone invest in the Zenfone 3 Max.


The device was initially launched at a price of ₹18,999 but is now available at a price of ₹16,999. Surely the Gionee's Marathon series have a bigger battery than the Zenfone 3 Max but their performance is not comparable with the  Zenfone 3 Max. With all the hardware and the Zenfone 3 Max not only has a superb battery life but also good performance. It's a complete package. The device is perfect for the people who are out most of the time or rather don't like plugging in their phones all the time.


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