Asus Zenfone Max M1 Review

Asus Zenfone Max M1
Asus Zenfone Max M1

A few days back, Asus launched two budget phones Asus Zenfone Max M1 and Asus Zenfone Lite L1. I have been using both budget phones for the past few days. In this article, I am putting my review of Asus Zenfone Max M1.

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Asus Zenfone Max M1 borrows the form factor of Zenfone Max Pro M1. The phone is made out of plastic and comes in Black and Gold color options. I have the Gold color variant. The phone has a 5.45-inch display with 2.5D curved glass. It has an earpiece, proximity sensor and front camera above the display. The volume rocker and power button are on the right side. The sim tray is on the left. The top side has 3.5 mm headphone jack. Micro, USB, and Speaker are located on the base side. While it has two grilles on either side of micro USB, the speaker is behind the right one.

The back side has a single rear camera setup on the top left corner. The fingerprint sensor is on the center side. The fingerprint Sensor is well positioned and is easy to reach.

The phone has a large 4000 mAh battery, still, the phone weighs 150g. The phone has a metallic finish to give it a better look. It is not slippery and easy to use with one hand. The build quality is average, but it looks good.

The phone has 5.45-inch HD+ IPS display having 18:9 aspect ratio. It also offers 400nits brightness. The display delivers good color and decent viewing angles. Outdoor legibility is also fine. Considering the price of the phone, the display is really good.

The phone runs on Zen UI 5 based on Android 8.0 Oreo. The company has optimized the Zen UI and has reduced the bloatware. The UI is light in weight and offers a smooth experience. This UI offers several notable features like Twin Apps, Glove Mode, and One hand mode. It also has a dedicated section for themes and wallpapers.

The phone packs octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clocked at 1.4GHz. The phone didn’t seem laggy and performs well. The phone is able to handle basic tasks but putting the load on the phone starts showing lag. It has 3 GB RAM for better multitasking

I also played many games on the phone and found it good for gaming. Graphics on the game is average but it handles games well with only a few minor lags. Asphalt runs fine with average graphics but good enough to enjoy the game. I even played PUBG on low settings. The longest session was of around 27 minutes. The phone became bit warm on the back but nothing that we can call heating. PUBG on low settings was running fine with lags sometimes. But the game was playable. So, you can enjoy gaming on this phone if you like to mobile games but do not have much money to spend on a phone.

If you are interested in benchmark score, the phone got 57663 on Antutu. On Geekbench, single core score was 677 and multicore score was 2396.

The phone has 32 GB of storage that you can expand up to 256GB. It has a dedicated microSD card slot for that. You also get 100 GB of free Google Drive storage for a year. That is also a notable advantage.

The phone has 13 megapixels rear camera with LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, and PDAF. It also has 8 megapixels front camera with a f/2.2 aperture and LED flash at the front. As the phone runs on ZEN UI, it comes with Asus Camera app and Pixelmaster technology. The camera offers camera effects and camera modes including Panorama, Beautiful, Portrait and Time Lapse.

The camera takes good photos in broad daylight. If the object is close, it captures fine details, but not the same for objects at a distance. So, group photos captured from a distance won’t be good. HDR works good but takes some time on capturing HDR shots. Portrait mode is also there but edge detection is not good and it blurred out body parts occasionally. Portrait mode also has an issue. Sometimes, it captures normal photos without blurring the background. So, overall camera performance is average.

The camera doesn’t perform well in low light and misses details. So, low light performance is average. Flash is there to help in low light, but flash sometimes ruins the colors. See the camera samples below.

The selfie camera performs better and captures good selfies in both daylight and low light. It also has portrait mode but the same kind of average edge detection. The selfie flash helps in capturing low-light selfies. Considering the price, this entry-level phone captures decent selfies. See the camera samples below.

Both rear and front cameras can record 1080p videos. There is no stabilization, and you shouldn’t expect on a phone of this price. So, you need to keep hand steady when you are recording a video.

The phone supports Face Unlock but that is bit slow and using the fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone is much faster.

It has a single bottom firing speaker unit that is pretty loud and impresses. You can use the AudioWizard app to tweak the audio output depending on your surrounding and music taste. The equalizer is also there if you know how to use it.

It supports 4G VoLTE on both the SIM but doesn’t support dual standby. So, only One SIM can connect to 4G at a time. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, and micro USB.

The phone packs 4000 mAh battery that performs week and easily lasts for over a day and a half. With average use, you can stretch it to last for 2 days. You can use the power master app to optimize your phone’s battery and manage autostart apps for further extending the battery backup. This battery takes less than two hours in charging from 0 to 100%. This phone also supports reverse charging. So, you can use the OTG cable and charge other phones using your Zenfone Max M1.

Zenfone Max M1 is a good phone with nice display, clean interface, good performance, and long battery life. The front camera is good, but the rear camera needs improvement.

If you look at the competition, the phone is competing against Realme C1, Lenovo K9 and Xiaomi Redmi 6. Realme C1 packs Snapdragon 450, a larger display with notch and 4230 mAh battery. That can be an attractive deal for the lesser price even if that has less RAM and storage. Zenfone Max M1 offers a better selfie camera, slightly better display even if it is smaller in size and feels better due to the metallic finish.

Also see: Zenfone Max M1 vs Realme C1

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Asus Zenfone Max M1

7.5 Score

"Asus Zenfone Max M1 is a good budget phone with good battery life and decent performance."

The Good

  • Good Build
  • Good Sound
  • Nice Display
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Average Camera

The Bad

  • Average Camera

Breakdown

  • Design and Build 70%
  • Display 75%
  • Performacne 70%
  • Camera 65%
  • Gaming 70%
  • Battery 80%
  • Value for Money 70%