Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Best budget smartphone yet?

Can the Asus Zenfone Max M2 become the new budget smartphone king?

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
Asus Zenfone Max M2 is a great budget smartphone currently available in India.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 is the latest addition to the Zenfone Max lineup by Asus. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Asus Zenfone Max M1, the Zenfone Max M2 also sports a massive 4,000mAh battery for long unplugged usage. However, is the new Asus Zenfone Max M2 any good? Find out in our review.

Asus Zenfone Max M2

Asus Zenfone Max M2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor coupled with an Adreno 506. The device comes with 3GB/4GB RAM and 32GB/64GB of internal storage depending on the variant you choose to purchase.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
Asus Zenfone Max M2 has good specifications on paper.

The device sports a 6.26-inch (720×1520 pixels) LCD display. For optics, it features a dual camera set up at the back, consisting of a 13-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture main sensor along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For the selfies, it sports an 8-megapixel f/2.0 aperture sensor. All of this is backed by a 4,000mAh battery.

The device sports a plastic frame along with a metal back panel. It runs Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo operating system with an almost stock Android UI. The phone sports dual SIM card slots, a dedicated microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB port and a fingerprint sensor.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Design

Designwise, Asus Zenfone Max M2 is not that special. The rear panel looks exactly the same as the Zenfone Max Pro M1. The company has provided the users with a plastic device frame along with a metal back plate on the back, which does provide a good feel.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
The Asus Zenfone Max M2 has a notched display.

The device sports a 6.26-inch LCD display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. This is achieved by including a notch, which makes the smartphone look much more similar to the rest of the devices around this price bracket in the market. The notch is a little angled, which definitely looks good. The speaker grille, 13-megapixel front camera, and the sensor array are all placed inside of the notch.

Also Read: Asus ZenBook Pro UX580 Review: The hottest ultrabook?

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
Asus Zenfone Max M2 sports a metal backplate fitted inside of a plastic frame.

Coming to the back, Asus Zenfone Max M2 sports a dual camera setup paired with an LED flash aligned vertically on the top left corner. The dual camera unit has a small bump, which according to me is not that significant. There is a fingerprint sensor in the middle along with Asus branding below it.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
Asus Zenfone Max M2 Left, Right, Top, Bottom edges.

The right edge consists of the volume rockers and a textured power button. The left edge holds the SIM card tray along with two SIM card slots and a dedicated micro-SD card slot. The top edge houses a secondary microphone, along with a headphone jack. The bottom edge sports the microUSB port along with the loudspeakers and microphone.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
The front speakers and camera module is located inside of the notch.

Overall, the design of Asus Zenfone Max M2 doesn’t stand out that much and might go unnoticed, except for that angular notch. Whether that’s a good thing or not, that’s totally dependent on how flashy you want your smartphone to be.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Software

Asus Zenfone Max M2 runs Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo operating system in its stock configuration with minor modifications. It is not exactly like the interface found on Google Pixel or Android One devices. However, the interface is snappy and apps load up quite quickly.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2, ScreenShots
Asus Zenfone Max M2 runs Android 8.0 Oreo in a near stock configuration.

The software performance of the Asus Zenfone Max M2 is great. It runs lag-free with nothing to complain on in regards to the performance. Also, it’s an Android phone so if you don’t like the way it looks, you can always change it with third-party launchers and more. The smartphone, unfortunately, comes with a lot of bloatware including Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram that cannot be uninstalled.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Performance

Performance is a major area of concern on any device, the same goes for the Asus Zenfone Max M2. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor coupled with an Adreno 506 GPU and 3GB/4GB of RAM. Our review unit came with 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2, AnTuTu, GeekBench
AnTuTu(Left), GeekBench(Right)

We ran our usual AnTuTu and the GeekBench benchmark tools to evaluate the performance of the phone. AnTuTu 7 yielded a score of 103586, which according to us is quite solid for its price.

Also Read: Asus VivoBook S14 (S430U) Review: MacBook Air got some competition

On GeekBench it managed to get a single core score of 1252 and a multi-core score of 4779. The performance numbers of the device on paper are great for the value.

While playing light games such as Temple Run and Crossy Chicken, the phone runs flawlessly. Heavy games like Asphalt 9 Legends and PUBG Mobile also run without any hiccup.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Display

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
Asus Zenfone Max M2 has a good display and is easily legible under direct sunlight.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 sports a 6.26-inch LCD display with a resolution of 720×1520 pixels. The display is quite good for the price and has great viewing angles. The brightness levels are able to get adequately low and high depending on the situation and the device is easily legible under direct sunlight.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Camera

Asus Zenfone Max M2 features a dual camera set up at the back. There is a 13-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture main sensor along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For the selfies, it sports an 8-megapixel f/2.0 aperture sensor. The camera setup seems okay on the paper, but not everything depends on the sensors as we have seen in the past.

Images taken with the rear camera come out quite good. The colours are highly boosted, the contrast and saturation are good. The images sometimes feel too much colour corrected and not natural which gives them an edited feel right from the camera. Some might like those images and some won’t. It all dials down to personal preference.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2, Camera Samples
Left(Normal), Right (Beauty Mode)

The front camera is a completely different story. The colours in the images taken from the front camera are okay. However, the white balance is very bad. There is a beauty mode, which ultimately brightens the photo too much. In my opinion, beauty mode on smartphones like the Zenfone Max M2 is garbage and shouldn’t be used.

Also Read: Asus Zenfone Lite L1 Review: Great Camera, Disappointing performance

Overall, the camera on Asus Zenfone Max M2 is a little disappointing. Most of the issues can be resolved just by using the manual mode and adjusting a few settings, but not all people know or would want to do that. All of this all could be tweaked in a software update. As of now, the camera is a little bit dissapointing.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Battery

Asus Zenfone Max M2 is backed by a 4,000mAh battery Li-Po, which easily lasts more than a day on a single charge. Charging time with the included charger is less than 2 hours, which is good. If you use the device carefully, you can easily squeeze 2 days out of the smartphone.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2, PC Mark Work 2.0
PC Mark Work 2.0(Left), Battery(Right)

We ran our PCMark’s Work 2.0 Battery Life test, which subjects the phone to heavy usage and finds out how the battery performs in those conditions. The device yielded a result of 15 hours and 30 minutes, which is great compared to other smartphones in this price range.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Verdict

Asus Zenfone Max M2 starts at Rs 9,999 for the 3GB RAM 32GB storage variant and costs Rs 10,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant. For that price apart from the little disappointing performance of the camera, that too mainly due to software not being optimized for it, the device is great.

Asus, Zenfone, Zenfone Max M2
The Asus Zenfone Max M2 is one of the best budget smartphones you can buy right now.

It offers great performance and battery for the value, while the stock Android experience is a bonus plus point. The display and other aspects of it are great too. So unless your priority is getting natural looking photos, go for the Asus Zenfone Max M2.

1 COMMENT

  1. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

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