Asus Zenfone Max M2 Review: Big Batt on a Budget

A Closer Look at the Latest Battery King

About a week back, Asus sent us the newest device on their so-called “Battery King” roster — the Asus Zenfone Max M2. It’s a device that joins a handful of other phones vying for the attention of the growing sub-10k smartphone market. Does it have what it takes to go on your short list or is worthy of being your next purchase? Hopefully, we can help you guys make that decision in this full review.

Less Heft Despite Big Battery

When we first picked up the Zenfone Max M2, we were very surprised about how it felt in the hand. Usually the ergonomics for phones that feature the battery capacity of the M2 can be a bit hefty but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The phone only weighs 160 grams and feels much slimmer than the Pro version and the device that precedes it as well.

You might be worried about how the device will fair just in case it slips out of your hand and, while we didn’t do a drop test on the phone, we think it will do just fine. No glass backs here or faux glass backs for that matter. The M2 has a metal back with a plastic frame around the phone so it may get scratches and scuffs but there’s no need to worry about it shattering; plus, you can always use the case it comes with for added protection.

Big Display on a Lower Resolution?

The Asus Zenfone Max M2 has the same screen size as the Pro, which measures in at 6.3-inches. If you’re used to using a Full HD+ display then you might have to take points off if you’re considering this phone since its only 720p. Honestly, it’s not all that bad in terms of color reproduction and the screen is definitely bright enough to be used outdoors but you’ll definitely miss the higher pixel density that a 1080p (or higher) display brings.

Asus also harped on the M2’s speaker saying that it brings out more clarity and it produces a lot of volume. It does deliver on one of those promises as it can get plenty loud but the 5-magnet speaker that they put on the M2 still has a bit of distortion at higher volumes. It’s still best to keep it around 80 percent or use headphones.

The Snapdragon 632 Puts In Some Work

The Max M2 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor that’s paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. It did pretty well during our review process and handle most of the apps we use on a daily basis with ease. There were times where I had to close apps in the background  to make sure I could multitask a little easier but it was more for my piece of mind than feeling the phone bog down. We would advise you to do the same if you jump from app to app.

In terms of gaming, the Max M2 also performed admirably. You’ll want to keep most of the games you’ll be playing at medium settings. We did get pretty stable frame rates in NBA 2K19 though even though we pushed everything to the highest we could. You can watch our gaming review above to see for yourselves.

Cameras Aren’t Bad for the Price

One thing that was pretty impressive with the Max M2 was the cameras; given that once you dip below into the sub-10k category photo quality takes a bit of a nosedive. When subjects are lit well, the details are nice and sharp plus the colors are pretty good as well. The pictures using HDR mode have a fair bit of post-processing but it doesn’t go overboard and the selfies taken with this device came out quite nice as well.

One thing that was a bit of thorn in my side for both this and its Pro sibling is the oversimplification of the camera UI though. The company says that its to improve the consumer’s point and shoot experience but the fact that you have to jump into Pro Mode to toggle exposure settings is a little cumbersome given that it can be a little hit or miss in Auto.

These are all software based, of course, so we’re hoping enough of us feel the same that they actually push an update to fix that.

Two Days of Battery Life. Check.

A Max device from Asus, isn’t a Max device without having great battery life and the Max M2 definitely delivers on that. Our benchmark tests gave it a time of 10 hours and 16 minutes, which was a disappointment when we ran after doing the unboxing video. Using it as a daily driver though revealed that it did indeed have the lasting power of its pedigree.

From 100-percent to 9-percent, we clocked in 40 hours and 33 minutes before the last top up with 7 hours and 43 minutes of screen on time. The lasting power can be attributed to the architecture of the SoC plus the 720p display so there is an upside to that issue.

Verdict: A Solid Sub-10k Option

We’re not going to lie. There are definitely a ton of solid options if you’re looking for a phone for less than Php 10,000. Some definitely have more muscle under the hood than the M2 but the main selling point for the Battery Kings of Asus are their lasting power and they’ve never disappointed on that end. It’s got enough juice to last for hours of gameplay if you treat your phone as a handheld console and even longer if you use your device primarily for social media purposes. There are compromises to the Asus Zenfone Max M2 but if battery life is your priority it’s definitely worth your consideration.

The Asus Zenfone Max M2 is priced at Php 8,995.

Asus Zenfone Max M2 Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • 6.3-inch HD+ IPS LCD Display; 720×1520 resolution,
  • 32GB of Expandable Storage up to 2TB
  • 4G, LTE
  • 13-megapixel f/1.8 Main Rear Camera, AI Scene Detection, 4K video recording, EIS, LED Flash
  • 2-megapixel f/2.4 Secondary Rear Camera, Depth Sensor
  • 8-megapixel f/2.0 Front Camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth v5.0
  • Facial Recognition, Fingerprint Scanner, NXP Smart Amplifier
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Stock Android 8.1 Oreo

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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