Earlier today Asus launched a new version of its Zenfone Max (ZC550KL) smartphone with upgraded hardware. The smartphone now comes with a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, 32GB built-in storage. It runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box. With price starting at Rs 9,999, the Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550KL) will compete against popular budget smartphones such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, LeEco Le 1s and the Meizu m3 Note. We compared all these smartphones based on their price, specifications and features, and here’s how they fare. Also Read - Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 reportedly starts receiving MIUI 10.2 final software update
Price and availability: The new Zenfone Max will be offered in two variants – 2GB RAM with 32GB storage for Rs 9,999 and 3GB RAM with 32GB storage for Rs 12,999 and will be available across leading online and offline retailers. The Redmi Note 3 (2GB RAM + 16GB storage) can be purchased for Rs 9,999 via Mi.com or Amazon India via its weekly open sales. While the Meizu m3 Note is available for Rs 9,999 exclusively via Amazon India, the Le 1s will set you back by Rs 10,899 and is available exclusively via Flipkart. Also Read - Xiaomi Mi 5, Redmi Note 3 software update support comes to an end
Display: The new Zenfone Max is equipped with a 5.5-inch HD (720p) display, whereas the competing smartphones from Xiaomi, LeEco and Meizu flaunt a 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) display. It is surprising to see Asus continuing with an HD display as its competitors in the same price range and even lower, are offering smartphones with a full HD display.
The display on the Le 1s and the m3 Note offers maximum brightness of 450 nits. The Redmi Note 3, on the other hand, comes with what Xiaomi calls ‘sunlight display’ where the display can automatically adjust the brightness and contrast based on the ambient light in the room.
Chipset and RAM: The Zenfone Max is equipped with Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz and paired with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The Redmi Note 3 runs on Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 650 hexa-core chipset (two Cortex-A72 cores and four A53 cores) paired with 2GB of RAM.
Meizu’s m3 Note is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core processor paired with Mali T860 GPU and 3GB of RAM, whereas the Le 1s is powered by MediaTek’s 64-bit Helio X10 octa-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz and paired with 3GB of RAM.
Storage: The Asus Zenfone Max comes with 32GB of onboard storage and a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB of storage. The Le 1s is equipped with 32GB of onboard storage, and doesn’t support expandable storage. The Meizu m3 Note and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 come with 32GB and 16GB of onboard storage, respectively. Both smartphones also include expandable storage option via a hybrid SIM card slot – meaning you can either use two nano SIM cards or one SIM card and one microSD card.
Camera: The Zenfone Max comes sports a 13-megpaixel rear camera of aperture f/2.0, laser auto focus and dual LED flash. Up front is a 5-megapixel selfie camera of aperture f/2.0 and 85-degress wide angle.
Meizu’s m3 Note is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera of aperture f/2.2 and dual tone dual-LED flash, whereas the Redmi Note 3 is equipped with a 16-megapixel rear snapper with phase-detection auto-focus and dual LED flash. The Le 1s, on the other hand, has a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual Led flash and also supports 4K video recording. Up front, all the competing smartphones come equipped with a 5-megapixel selfie camera.
Battery: Asus Zenfone Max is armed with a massive 5,000mAh battery, which the company claims to offer up to two days worth usage. One of the interesting features of the smartphone is that it can also be used as a reversible charger – meaning you can use the Zenfone Max as power bank to charge other smartphone or a tablet.
The Meizu m3 Note comes with a 4,100mAh battery, whereas the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 comes with 4,000mAh battery. The Le 1s, on the other hand, is armed with a 3,000mAh battery along with fast charging feature. LeEco claims, even five minutes of charging can offer up to three and half hours of usage.
Connectivity and OS: All four smartphones come with Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, 4G LTE and dual-SIM connectivity options. The Redmi Note 3 also supports the latest VoLTE connectivity for voice calls. The Le 1s, on the other hand, is equipped with a USB Type-C connectivity port.
In terms of operating system, the Zenfone Max comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow wrapped under Zen UI, the Meizu m3 Note runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop wrapped under Flyme OS, the Redmi Note 3 runs on MIUI 7 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop, whereas the Le 1s runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop wrapped under EUI.
Miscellaneous features: The Zenfone Max comes with a plastic removable back and a metal front along the edges. The Redmi Note 3, Meizu m3 Note and the Le 1s are equipped with metal unibody design and also come with a fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication.
On paper, the Zenfone Max falls short in some departments. Despite running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow which natively supports a fingerprint scanner, Asus chose not to include it, while its competitors do. Also, still sticking to HD display when other smartphones come equipped with full HD displays is another bummer. Though a large 5,000mAh battery does give the smartphone an edge over the competition, we will reserve our final judgment until we have reviewed the new Zenfone Max.
|Features||Zenfone Max (ZC550KL)||Meizu m3 Note||Xiaomi Redmi Note 3||LeEco Le 1s|
|Display||5.5-inches HD (1280×720 pixels)||5.5-inches full HD (1920×1080 pixels)||5.5-inches full HD (1920×1080 pixels)||5.5-inches full HD (1920×1080 pixels)|
|Processor||Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor||MediaTek’s 1.8GHz Helio P10 64-bit octa-core processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor||MediaTek’s 2.2GHz Helio X10 64-bit octa-core processor|
|RAM||2GB/3GB||3GB||2GB (16GB storage variant)||3GB|
|Storage||32GB (expandable)||32GB (expandable)||16GB (expandable)||32GB (non-expandable)|
|Rear Camera||13-megapixel dual tone dual LED flash||13-megapixel dual tone dual LED flash||16-megapixel with phase detection auto-focus and dual LED flash||13-megapixel with phase detection auto-focus and dual LED flash|
|OS||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow wrapped under Zen UI||Android 5.1 Lollipop wrapped under Flyme OS||Android 5.1 Lollipop wrapped under MIUI 7||Android 5.1 Lollipop wrapped under custom EUI skin|
|Price||Rs 9,999||Rs 9,999||Rs 9,999 (16GB variant)||Rs 10,999|