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Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2, Zenfone Max M2 First Impressions: Bringing some serious competition

The new Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Zenfone Max M2 come with upgraded hardware and improved design.

asus zenfone max pro m2 hands on


  • The Zenfone Max M2 packs a 4,000mAh battery.

  • The ‘Pro’ variant comes with 5,000mAh battery.

  • Both smartphones feature notched displays, but have different specifications and builds.

Earlier this year, Asus introduced the Zenfone Max Pro M1 in India, along with a new online-only strategy by partnering with Flipkart. The smartphone had a lot of things going in its favour right from a big battery, to near-stock Android, dual-camera setup and an aggressive price tag, giving the competition a run for their money. Now, the company has introduced a successor to the Zenfone Max Pro M1 that brings in some key upgrades to the table.

Called Zenfone Max Pro M2, the smartphone price starts at Rs 12,999, and will be available exclusively via Flipkart starting December 18. Asus also introduced the Zenfone Max M2 which comes with slightly watered-down specifications, yet, some important upgrades over the Zenfone Max M1. The Max M2 price starts at Rs 9,999, and will be available starting December 20. Ahead of the launch, I got to use both the smartphones, and here are five key things that I would like to highlight.

Watch: Asus Zenfone 5Z First Look

Improved Design

The Zenfone Max Pro M1 featured a metal body design, like its competitors, but with the Zenfone Max Pro M2, Asus has moved towards more premium materials. The smartphone features a metal frame along with a front and back glass design. The back features a Corning Gorilla Glass 6 with glossy finish offering a premium look and feel.

As always, the glass makes it a bit slippery, but the company has also included a soft case inside the box, which not only protects the smartphone, but also offers a good grip to hold the smartphone. The Zenfone Max M2, on the other hand, now features a premium metal body design, compared to the Zenfone Max M1 that featured a metallic-finish back. These small subtle changes make for good upgrades.

Notched displays

Catching up with the trends, both the Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Zenfone Max M2 now come with notched displays. Some people may hate the notch, but it does help in having a higher screen-to-body ratio, while offering that extra screen space at the top. Both, the smartphones feature 6.26-inch panels, with 19:9 aspect ratio.

However, there is a difference in the resolution. The Zenfone Max M2 comes with an HD+ display that runs at a resolution of 1520×720 pixels, whereas the Zenfone Max Pro M2 features a slightly higher full HD+ display running at a resolution of 2280x1080pixels.

There are other subtle differences as well. If you look closer, the notch on the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is slightly smaller, and it houses the front camera, LED flash and the sensors, whereas the earpiece is placed just above it. In case of the Zenfone Max M2, the notch houses front camera, LED flash, earpiece and the sensors.

Powerful chipsets

Both the new Zenfone Max M2 and Max M2 Pro come with more powerful chipsets compared to their predecessors. While the Zenfone Max M1 features an entry-level Snapdragon 450 SoC, the Zenfone Max M2 comes with a Snapdragon 632 octa-core SoC. The new chipset features a custom Kryo 250 CPU, better performance, faster LTE, dual-SIM dual VoLTE and more.

At the same time, the Zenfone Max Pro M2 also sees a good upgrade from Snapdragon 636 to Snapdragon 660 SoC which comes with a faster CPU, faster LTE, and AI features for improved camera performance. The chipset also offers faster-charging capabilities, better Wi-Fi and more.

Improved cameras

Today, an increasing number of buyers consider the camera aspect of a smartphone before making their choice. With the Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Zenfone Max M2, Asus has included improved camera sensors, along with software-based AI implementations to help you capture better photos.

First, let’s talk about the Zenfone Max M2. It gets an upgrade in the form of dual rear cameras, compared to the single lens on the Zenfone Max M1. The setup includes a 13-megapixel f/1.8 aperture lens supplemented with a 2-megapixel depth sensor for portrait mode. There is also support for 4K video recording. Up front, you get an 8-megapixel snapper with f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash.

Moving on to the Zenfone Max Pro M2, you get a 12-megapixel primary sensor of f/1.8 aperture, and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor. The cameras support EIS and 4K video recording capabilities. Up front, you get a 13-megapixel selfie snapper of f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash. The new and improved sensors should help in clicking better photos, but I would reserve my judgment until I review both smartphones.

Stock Android

With the Zenfone Max Pro M1, Asus embraced near-stock Android OS, although it was not officially on the Android One program. The company has continued the trend, and the new smartphones also come with stock Android 8.1 Oreo OS. There are just three third-party apps, which include Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Asus has also promised the Android 9 Pie update for both smartphones, which will be rolled out sometime in January 2019.

Final words

The battery has been a key highlight of Max-series, and the Max M2 comes with a 4,000mAh battery, whereas the Max M2 Pro gets a slightly larger 5,000mAh unit. As mentioned above, both smartphones bring some key upgrades to the table, and those were necessary as the space has completely changed over the past few months. The likes of Redmi Note 6 Pro, Mi A2, Realme Pro 2 and Honor 8X have completely changed the mid-range game.

Even under Rs 10,000 range, the Redmi 6A and Redmi 6 smartphones offer better value for money, whereas Realme has really upped the game with its offering. Asus, with its new smartphones, is ready to give a tough fight to the competition. It remains to be seen how the smartphones fare, and whether they are worth buying. I’ll be testing the smartphones over the next few days. Stay tuned to for our detailed soon.

  • Published Date: December 11, 2018 1:56 PM IST

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