Asus, the Taiwanese hardware company recently upgraded the existing Zenfone Max 2015 with a new hardware. Unlike the other smartphone companies, ASUS isn’t just targeting the high-end flagship devices, but it is also focusing on budget-range smartphones. The newly launched Zenfone Max 2016 is designed to bring a smooth smartphone experience.

You would love to know that Asus has added 100GB Google Drive Free for 2 years with the Zenfone Max 2016, It also gives 5GB Lifetime Asus WebStorage. If you are someone who rely’s on online storage like Google Drive, then this could be the best thing to go for.

Asus Zenfone Max 2016 Review

This version has brought the things that the previous Zenfone users needed, The previous version was having a quad-core processor (Snapdragon 410) which is now replaced by an octa-core processor (Snapdragon 615). The 5000 mAh battery has been optimized to keep the smartphone stay awake, more than its predecessor.

Back in phones buying a smartphone was easy, because there were not many brands and there were not many phones available. We had limited choices with us, but yet selecting a phone was easy. Now we have a lot of choices available, a lot of brands too, still selecting a smartphone is a tough job. The Zenfone Max 2016 looks good, has a high powered battery, huge display, great RAM and a good CPU, but what about the UX (User experience?). This review of mine will surely help you decided whether you should spend the money to buy this phone or not.

Asus Zenfone Max (ASUS_Z010D) Review

Remembering a model number of a device is a tough job, so to make it easy for you, I’ll be calling the recently launched Zenfone Max as Zenfone Max 2016. The Zenfone Max 2016 has been improved much, both specs wise and optimization wise. As said above, the quad-core processor is replaced by an octa-core processor. The 5000 mAh battery is optimized, to the surprise, the company sent the unit after turning it on and when I received the unit after 3-4 days, the device was still on, you must be shocked right? There’s nothing to shock, it’s all optimization which makes things better.

Asus Zenfone Max: Design & Build Quality

ASUS has placed a huge 5000 mAh non-removable battery but the device still doesn’t look bulky like a lot of devices with a¬†huge battery. The front of the phone is similar to most of the Zenfone devices. This device looks similar to its predecessor, and if you see both of them together, it might be very difficult to find to identify which is the latest one amongst the two.

The Asus Zenfone Max 2016 comes with a Dual SIM slot, so if you are someone who has two SIM cards and uses both of them then, there are not many android devices with a huge battery which supports DUAL SIM. It also supports an SD card which can expand the storage of your device.

Asus Zenfone Max 2016: Front Side Appearance

A lot of people prefer buying a phone which looks attractive. The Front side appearance gives us the first impression about the phone’s looks. This is the part of the phone with which we will be spending most of our time interacting. Above the display sits the ASUS branding, above the branding, there is an earpiece speaker, besides it sits the 5 MP front facing camera and proximity sensor.

Zenfone Max 2016

Asus has also added 3 navigation buttons below the display to make it easy for people to use the smartphone. However, if you are shifting from a different smartphone then, getting used to navigation buttons will take time. It would have been great if Asus would have allowed us to reverse the navigation buttons. But sadly, it doesn’t.

Asus Zenfone Max Navigation Buttons
The three navigation buttons located below the display

The 5.5-inch HD IPS Display which is protected by the ASUS TrueVivid Full Screen lamination technology has 72% screen to body ratio, It is less, but people prefer buying phones which have thin bezels. Although, 72% isn’t huge, but is good enough to make the phone look better.

Asus Zenfone Max 2016: Backside Appearance

Zenfone Max 2016 Backside Appearance

The back of the Zenfone looks solid. The leather like back-panel not only attracts but also makes it easy to hold. One thing a lot of people are worried when buying a smartphone with a huge display is, The smartphone might fall while using it. But this leather-like back panel on the Zenfone Max 2016 makes the phone grippy to hold. The backside sits the camera, flash, and laser focus and at the bottom is the speaker.

Asus Zenfone Max 2016: Top Side, Right Side, and Bottom

Asus Zenfone Max 2016 Side Appearance: Volume Buttons and Power Buttons.

On the top side, there is a 3.5-mm jack in which you can insert the headphones or earphones which have a 3.5-mm PIN. The Volume buttons and the power buttons are located on our right-hand side. The microphone and the charging slot is located at the bottom of the phone. There are no buttons or slots on the left-hand side of the smartphone.

Zenfone Max 2016 Bottom

Asus Zenfone Max 2016: User Interface on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

The Asus Zenfone Max 2016 operates on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. To make it ASUS flavored, the company has added its own homegrown ZenUI. I remember the old days when I used the Zenfone 5, I hated the ZenUI, however, ASUS has been working to make the UI better and I’ve been able to see a lot of changes in the ZenUI.

The Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS is an upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop, this version has lesser bugs and fewer problems compared to Lollipop. It’s a great thing to know that a device which is just below 10K INR is operating on Marshmallow, while there are a lot of high-end devices which are still operating on Android Lollipop.

Zenfone Max 2016 UI and Pre-installed Apps

The user interface was responsive and was lag-free. However, the app is loaded with a lot of bloatware which a lot of people won’t like. In case you don’t like some apps, you can remove them without rooting. However, there are some apps which you won’t be able to uninstall from your Zenfone Max 2016 without rooting.

To make it easy for people to search things, Asus has added a gesture which you can use while you are on the home screen pages. Just scroll down from above and the search bar will appear with the keyboard open and it will search a lot of things (apps, contacts and a lot of things from your phone) and it will also suggest you some keywords based on the letter you type, so that you don’t have to type the entire thing.

There are many times when we want to stay focused, the Screen pinning feature comes to the rescue. This is the feature of Android 6.0 Marshmallow which won’t allow you to get out of an app unless you unpin it. The best thing about this is, Asus has added the screen pinning button in a place where it can be noticed, a lot of people on Android Marshmallow still don’t know about this feature as they’ve not seen their manufacturers focusing on them.

A lot of apps from ASUS look like crap and are not used much, but the Power Saver app on the Zenfone’s is a great addition. I was able to make the best use of my phone because of this app. The smart switch is a great feature which will switch the performance profile of your phone after the battery goes less than the mentioned battery percentage.

ASUS Zenfone Max 2016 Performance: Gaming, Multitasking, and Switching between Apps.

The Zenfone Max 2016 variant which we have is a 2GB Variant, The Zenfone Max 2016 comes in two variants i.e. 2GB and 3GB. The smartphone was quite responsive, I didn’t notice many lags while using the phone for basic purposes such as WhatsApp, Calling, Surfing and playing some small sized games.

Recent Android Apps Overview

Playing games on Zenfone Max 2016 was a decent experience, I was able to play Asphalt 8 and Need for Speed most wanted together, however, switching between those games caused a lag. The same happened with the camera app, I was able to capture a huge number of photos, but at the same time,Antutu Score Asus Zenfone Max 2016 switching between the home screen and camera app made the phone behave sluggishly.

ANTUTU benchmark is one of the most commonly used benchmark tests, and it has most-accurate results which can help people decide the performance of the phone. That’s why did an Antutu benchmark test find out, where the phone stands.

Asus Zenfone Max 2016: Camera Quality Test

A lot of people prefer buying a smartphone with a better camera because a better camera enables the person to capture a better quality image of the memory or an object or even some moment of their life. Carrying a DSLR everywhere isn’t a feasible so, a lot of people prefer a phone which has a good camera.

ASUS has placed a 13 MP rear camera, which is accompanied by a 5 MP front-facing shooter. The camera has brilliant colors and I was quite impressed with the image processing and the quality. The previous version of this device had a lot of complaints saying that the device produces shaky images and the images aren’t clear many times.

The camera app comes with a lot of filters and features which can make you love the camera, There are various modes some of them are: Auto mode, Manual mode, HDR mode, Beautification, Super Resolution, QR Code scanner, Low light mode, Night Capture mode, Depth of Field mode, Selfie Mode (Rear camera), GIF Animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time Rewind, Smart Remove, All smiles, slow motion and time lapse.

Super Resolution Zenfone Max 2016
Zenfone Max 2016 Super Resolution

The super resolution has the ability to produce the images of the resolution which is produced by a 50 MP camera. If you are someone who just wants to capture a simple photograph then the Auto mode is the mode you could settle with. If you are a photographer who likes to change the ISO, Focus mode, Light etc. then this might be the best option.

QR code has become important these days, a lot of people and brands use QR codes for promotion. A lot of people have to download external android apps to scan a QR code, however, an addition of it into the main camera app has been a great addition.

Depth Focus Zenfone Max 2016 Camera Sample

The Depth of the Field is mode is a mode which a lot of people love, It is because it blurs the other part and makes the main object clear. To make this mode more powerful, after you capture a photo using this mode you will be able to adjust the amount of blur you want the background to have.

Smart Remove Mode: Have you ever been in a situation, when you were capturing an image and someone came in between and it spoilt the image? The Smart Remove mode in the Zenfone Max 2016 removes a moving object while you are capturing a photo. I tested this and was able to remove a person who came in between while I was capturing an image.

I’m quite impressed with the camera quality on the phone, The Camera app has a lot of features which has impressed me, and would surely impress anyone who uses the phone’s camera very much. However, the default camera app makes a lot of changes to the image quality. It makes the image brighter & crisp, so if you are looking for a phone which has a decent camera and is able to capture images while you are moving then this phone could be a great choice.

Zenfone Max Battery and Reverse Charging

Zenfone Max 2016 Battery, Zenfone Max Battery Life

ASUS has placed a huge 5000 mAh battery in this phone, This huge battery doesn’t make the phone look bulky. I loved the battery life of the device. Usually, when we travel, the amount of battery left always makes us worry right? A survey has also said that people are ready to pay 9.9x surge in Uber when their battery life is less. This phone solves all such problems, I was able to travel freely without even worrying about the battery amount left on the phone. Not only that, I was also able to charge my friend’s smartphone.

IMG_20160605_170853

There are two modes in which you can charge this device, one mode is the normal mode which will keep your Zenfone Max on while charging the other device. While the other mode turns off your Zenfone Max to charge another device. The speed of charging is relatively faster when your Zenfone Max is turned off. While using the Zenfone Max, I was able to get an average screen on time of 10-11 hours after browsing and listening to music & watching some video clips.

Verdict

The Asus Zenfone Max 2016 is not just a smartphone, it also acts as a power bank. Given the price of 9,999 INR, the device is worth the price. The huge battery and reverse charging being the power features of this phone, the other things also work well. The phone also operates on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS and has a good RAM management only. The only thing which a user might have wanted is an improvement in the UI.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Screen Size
Processor
Features
RAM
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Battery
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Subham Bapna is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Droidmen, He is the person who tries to motivate the people to work, looks after the servers and maintains the content quality on the site. He is known for rooting the devices as soon as he gets them and covers Android News, App Reviews, Mobile Reviews and Android How-to's at Droidmen. You can get in touch with him at subham@droidmen.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Subham,

    The review is great! Such articles are the reason why I come to read Droidmen often!

    Talking about the phone, Asus Zenfone Max is indeed a beast. I was confused between this one and Zuk Z1, but now I am pretty sure that Zenfone Max should be my preferred option.

    What would you choose between the two – Max or Z1?

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