Asus Zenfone Max M1 review: Reliable budget Android phone

Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, launch, price

Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes with 5.4-inch HD display with 2.5D glassh on top.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

Asus had earlier in the month launched the new Zenfone Max M1 along with the Zenfone Lite L1. The former is available exclusively on Flipkart for Rs 8,999 (MRP).

As part of the festive season, Asus, in collaboration with Flipkart, is offering Zenfone Max M1 for just Rs 7,499 for a limited period. For its price and specifications (below in the table), the Zenfone Max M1 does look like a smart buy, but is it? I am using the Asus for a few days and here’s my take on it.

Design, display and build quality:

The Zenfone Max M1 comes with a gorgeous uni-body design language with curvaceous edges around the entire contour of the phone. Asus has done remarkable paint job too; my review unit looks beautiful in the gold shade. Though the shell is made of polycarbonate, the matte finish makes it look metallic in nature and offers really good grip for the finger to hold the phone. I also have to say that the build quality is really good and you can feel it when held in hand.

1/5

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, specs

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes with high-quality polycarbonate-based shell on the back with fingerprint sensor in the middle.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes with volume-rockers, power button on the right side placed one above the other.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes with a lone mic and triple-slot tray– SIM 1 SIM 2 MicroSD card on the left side.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes 3.5mm audio jack port on top of the edge.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus, Zenfone Max M1 comes with two loud speakers and micro-USB port in the middle at the base.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

As far as the display is concerned, it comes with a 5.45-inch HD+ (1440x720p) IPS FullView screen with 2.5D glass, which adds value in terms of the visual appeal of the phone. With 18:9 aspect ratio, it offers cinematic viewing experience.

Also, the display readability is quite good for a budget phone, as I did not face any strain to the eyes while viewing contents under direct sunlight.

Performance:

Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes with time-tested Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor is backed by Android 8.1 Oreo, sumptuous 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, which can be expanded up to 128GB via microSD.

During the testing period, the Zenfone Max M1 performed well in terms of the quickly open apps, fast camera loading and playing games such as the Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga, among other low graphics ones.

It also boasts face unlock feature and during the tests, it performed well with very low False Rejection Rate (FRR), but it can’t detect the face in the dark environment.

Thankfully, the company has incorporated a fingerprint sensor on the back, which worked remarkably well.

Camera:

Asus Zenfone Max M1 comes with a 13MP camera with 4P lens, F2.0 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size, PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) and LED flash. It takes good snaps in the bright sunny conditions. In the low-light environment, though the camera’s auto-focus loses speed, the image quality is par with similar phones in the sub-Rs 10,000 price segment.

On the front, it houses 8MP shooter with 3P lens, F2.2 aperture and 1.12µm pixel size. The photos are decent and I appreciate the company for incorporating the LED flash, as it helps in taking selfies even in the low-light conditions. Also, the Beauty app brings value-addition to the phone and I have to say, it is impressive for a phone priced under Rs 9,000.

1/8

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the morning.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the morning.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the morning.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the morning under indoor condition.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the late morning with bright sunny conditionKVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the afternoon.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the afternoon under shade of big trees.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

  • Asus, Zenfone Max M1, review, India, price, launch

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 primary camera sample taken in the night LED flash support.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

Battery:

With 4,000mAh, Asus claimed Zenfone Max M1 will offer more than a full day’s battery life. In practicality too, it did live up to our expectations. During the testing period (active hours 5:30 am to 10:30 pm), which included web browsing, watching videos on YouTube, gaming (non-graphics rich versions) and other normal day-to-day chores, the Zenfone Max M1 had a more than 30% before I retired to the bed. If used more conservatively, it can easily last one and half days.

Final thoughts:

All-in-all, Asus Zenfone Max M1 is a pretty solid budget phone for the price it commands. It will definitely find traction among salaried class and college-going youths.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous design language
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Decent camera
  • Triple slots—SIM 1 + SIM 2 + microSD card

Cons:

  • Face unlock will not work in the low light conditions, but this is not a deal breaker as most of the phones not only in the budget segment but also most of them in the upper Rs 30,000 range Android phones too don’t work. It needs IR camera to detect faces in the dark and doesn’t come cheap. Having said that, Zenfone Max M1 is still a good buy for its asking price.
  • I also think the suffix ‘Max’ should have been avoided in the moniker, as this might cannibalise the original Zenfone Max Pro M1 (review), which to me is one of the best phones to come from the house of Asus in recent times. It has the best battery life and offers pure Android experience

Key specifications of Asus Zenfone Max M1:

Models Zenfone Max M1
Display 5.45-inch HD+ (1440x720p) IPS FullView screen with 2.5D glass

  • Brightness: 400 nits, 65% NTSC Color Gamut
  • Contrast ratio: 800:1
  • Aspect ratio: 18:1
  • Screen-to-body ratio: 82%
OS Android Oreo with Zen UI 5.0
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core
RAM 3GB LPDDR3
Storage 32GB, expandable up to 256GB
Camera
  • Main: 13MP with 4P lens, F2.0 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size, 0.03s PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus), LED flash, Camera modes: Auto, Beauty, Pro, Panorama, Time Lapse, Portrait, HDR
  • Front: 8MP with 3P lens, F2.2 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size, LED flash, Auto, Beauty, Portrait, HDR
Battery 4,000mAh with 10W adapter
Network 4G-LTE with VoLTE
Add-ons Three slots (SIM 1 + SIM 2 + microSD card), face unlock, fingerprint sensor (0.3 sec fast unlock, 5 finger & 360° recognition), Bluetooth v4.0, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Big magnet speaker, bottom output, dual microphone, A-GPS/GLONASS, micro USB port, 3.5 mm audio jack, Video trimmer & collage app
Dimensions 147.26 x 70.9 x 8.7 mm
Weight 150g
Colours Black and Gold
Price MRP: Rs 8,999Festive offer: Rs 7,499

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