Asus ZenFone Max M1 Review: Does it stand out in the crowd?

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Asus is going very enthusiastic this year with a range of affordable yet feature-packed smartphone. Asus recently launched a budget version of its popular mid-range Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. Dubbed as Asus Zenfone Max M1, it is the budget version of Max Pro M1, and also seems not to compromise over quality. The smartphone definitely there to take on Xiaomi’s Redmi 6 and RealMe 2 with prices starting at Rs. 8,999. Does this smartphone really have something to hold on to in this cut-throat budget smartphone segment? Let’s check out in this Asus ZenFone Max M1 Review.

Asus ZenFone Max M1 design:

Asus ZenFone Max M1

The Asus ZenFone Max M1 looks similar to its father i.e. the ZenFone Max Pro M1. The phone has some really good cost cutting here with the plastic build. The color option that smartphone comes in is Black and Gold. So, we had the Gold one for review. Max M1 features a big 5.45-inch display with 2.5D curved glass protection on top of it. The phone has a considerable amount of borders all around, which is negotiable considering its price tag.

At top of the display, there is a selfie camera, earpiece, and proximity sensor. The build quality of the Asus ZenFone Max M1 looks to be average, the power and volume buttons have very good clickiness. On the left, there is a SIM tray.

Asus has a tradition to use ‘Max’ in the branding of smartphones that come with a bigger battery and so with the Max M1. For such a bigger battery device, we are surprised that it still weighs at 150g. Looking at the phone from the back, the major difference compared to the ZenFone Max Pro M1 is that this model only has a single rear camera.

The fingerprint scanner is positioned very well and is easy to reach considering the big size of the device. The 3.5mm audio jack is present at the top and the Micro-USB port is at the bottom which has two grilles on either side. The only right side grill houses a loudspeaker.

Asus ZenFone Max M1 specifications and software:

Asus ZenFone Max M1

Asus Max M1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset which is not a great choice since it is slightly old and has been used to power older devices. Snapdragon 430 is an octa-core processor which has eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz. Other phones at this price point use newer and better processors.

The Asus ZenFone Max M1 comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage, which is expandable by up to 256 GB using a dedicated microSD card slot. The 5.45-inch display has an HD+ resolution which is fine considering the price point. At the connectivity front, the phone has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, and GLONASS. The ZenFone Max M1 is a dual-SIM device which accepts two Nano-SIM slots. The phone supports 4G and VoLTE on both SIMs, but only one can connect to 4G at a time. The phone packs in a massive 4000mAh non-removable battery.

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Talking about the software, the device comes with Android Oreo with ZenUI skin out of the box. Asus uses its own icon pack which looks cool. Preinstalled apps that are on the mobile include Mobile Manager, Weather, Sound Recorder, File Manager, and Themes. The phone also has a bunch of google apps as common with Android smartphones.

Asus ZenFone Max M1 cameras, performance, and battery life:

Asus ZenFone Max M1

The Asus ZenFone M1 did not feel laggy after the initial setup. The fingerprint scanner and the face recognition seems to be fast in unlocking the phone. However, since it is powered by an older processor the smartphone scores are lower than some of the other smartphones at the same price point. At the gaming, the Max M1 did get warm to the touch after playing about over half an hour, but it wasn’t uncomfortable to hold.

The ZenFone Max M1 comes equipped with a 13-megapixel primary camera with a f/2.0 aperture and PDAF. For the selfies, it has an 8-megapixel shooter with a f/2.2 aperture. The camera app is the same as we have seen on other Asus smartphones. The camera app has Beautify, Panorama and Time Lapse modes, apart from the usual Photo and Video modes. Other features include toggles for HDR, the flash, portrait mode, and a timer.

The shots taken with the Asus Zenfone Max M1 were good in daylight, but the quality was not nice in low light conditions. The ZenFone Max M1 could easily take some nice macros with good differentiation between the subject and the background. HDR shots looked great, but the phone made us wait for a while until it saved each shot. Portrait mode is available for both the rear and the selfie cameras, but edge detection was down below to average.

For low light shots, the ZenFone Max M1 misses out on details. The front has a selfie flash which helps when taking selfies in the dark and can also be used as a fill light. Video recording comes out at 1080p max for both the rear and the front cameras. There is no video stabilization and therefore you will need to keep your hands steady when you are recording a video.

Asus ZenFone Max M1

Asus ZenFone Max M1, Our Verdict:

The new ZenFone Max M1 offer great price to specs ratio and is a good choice for people who want a smartphone to have most if thing at a budget price range. The phone has a great battery and a bigger display so it is suitable for consuming media. However, if your plan is to play games or use the device for heavy stuff than this smartphone may not satisfy you. The only thing which sets back this smartphone is its older Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor. The processor is slower than other processors used in other phones at this price level.

ZenFone Max M1 is a great pick for you if your concern is to use it for consuming multimedia. The smartphone is a great buy during the Festive Dhamaka Days on Flipkart when it will be selling for Rs. 7,499 which is a discounted price to its usual price of Rs.8,999.

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