The Asus ZenFone Max Plus M1 is a funds smartphone sporting a premium flagship cellphone’s pores and skin. It has a clean steel chassis and rounded 2.5D glass over a show that fills a lot of the cellphone’s entrance facet. With out CDMA assist, it sadly can’t connect with Dash or Verizon, however it is going to work for almost anybody else, because it’s suitable with AT&T, T-Cellular and some other carriers utilizing GSM networks.
For an unlocked mannequin with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, Asus is just charging $229, which places it effectively into the low-cost tier of smartphones, the place it is going to compete with Motorola’s Moto G5S Plus, the upcoming Moto G6 and the others in our listing of the best cheap phones.
At first look, the ZenFone Max Plus M1 seems to be prefer it is perhaps price it, with its design, massive show, facial recognition and dual-lens digital camera, however not every little thing is as nice because it sounds.
From the get-go, the ZenFone Max Plus M1 comes throughout as a way more premium machine than its worth would recommend. It has the elegant construct of a flagship smartphone. The again is a clean aluminum, with shiny antenna bands recessed on the prime and backside. The facility button and quantity rocker on the fitting facet are additionally steel. Twin-cameras grace the again, and a fingerprint scanner is located on its the center, much like the Google Pixel 2.
The entrance of the cellphone is essentially crammed with the display screen, which measures 5.7 inches at a decision of two,160 x 1,zero80 and accounts for an 80% screen-to-body ratio. If the ZenFone Max Plus M1 had managed to go really bezelless, it could be simple to confuse for a top-tier cellphone.
Sadly, that show isn’t OLED, so the image isn’t at all times pretty much as good because it may very well be, particularly whereas viewing movies that don’t refill the 18:9 side ratio, because the black bars on both facet of the picture let somewhat mild bleed by means of. Video can stretch to suit the display screen, however in our opinion, the stretching seems to be even worse than the black bars.
It feels good within the hand as effectively, although that smoothness comes with the danger of dropping the machine, particularly whereas sporting gloves. The now-antiquated micro USB port on the backside and maybe the small picture sensors are the one visible hints that this isn’t a extra premium machine.
Nonetheless, there are extra positives to the design than negatives. A dual-SIM card slot gives assist for a number of community connections, and the tray additionally features a microSD card slot for as much as 256GB of additional storage.
The ZenFone Max Plus M1 stays lean, measuring 152.6 x 73 x Eight.8mm and weighing 160 grams. It’s very pocket-friendly, except it turns into heat throughout use, however we’ll get into that shortly.
It’s a bit disappointing that no ingress safety score is obtainable on this cellphone. Talking extra to its sturdiness, we heard creaking whereas giving it a little bit of flex, and Asus doesn’t say something concerning the display screen power, so the useful construction of this cellphone is a bit doubtful, even when the aesthetic construction is gorgeous.
Options and efficiency
Asus appears to be a bit shifty about disclosing the MediaTek chipset powering the ZenFone Max Plus M1. MediaTek doesn’t have the reputation that Qualcomm has with the Snapdragon chipset powering so many smartphones.
Within the cellphone’s settings, the CPU particulars merely say, 1.5GHz,” and on the tech specs web page for the machine, Asus simply lists, “Octa-core Processor.” However, the ZenFone Max Plus M1 is powered by an Eight-core MediaTek MT6750T processor with four cores at 1.5GHz and four cores at 1.0GHz. That was paired with 3GB within the mannequin we examined. The machine runs Android 7.zero Nougat with Asus’s ZenUI, which is usually good, although possibly a tad too cutesy for some and pre-loaded with a couple of extra apps than is important.
We had been impressed by the fluidity of most functions, since we had anticipated extra efficiency tradeoffs to steadiness the good design and display screen. Doing one factor at a time is kind of completely clean. Switching between a number of apps rapidly does see the cellphone stumble a bit, however by no means to the purpose of being dreadful.
Gaming efficiency isn’t gorgeous, however that’s to be anticipated at this level. Booting up PUBG Cellular, the sport robotically picked the bottom settings, and even then there have been some hiccups throughout gameplay. Nonetheless, we managed to play by means of a full recreation and land second place with 13 kills. Not dangerous if we are saying so. The ZenFone Max Plus M1 could maintain again on the standard side of efficiency, nevertheless it received’t sluggish you down terribly.
Video playback is clean, whether or not it’s streamed or performed domestically, and the display screen will get lots vibrant when wanted. The four,130mAh battery does a very good job of supporting video as effectively. In our 90-minute, 1080p video playback take a look at, the cellphone drained from 100% to 83%. That was with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cell community on the display screen set to full brightness. With a couple of settings dialed down, like adaptive brightness, the ZenFone Max Plus M1 can preserve you watching all day. Utilizing this cellphone for 2 days with out recharging isn’t out of the query, however don’t anticipate to take action whereas utilizing it closely each days.
With such a giant battery, Asus even features a particular dongle so you possibly can plug one other cellphone in and use the ZenFone Max Plus M1 as a battery financial institution. We examined it with our OnePlus 5, and it charged it, however slowly.
Whilst you can spend a very long time watching movies on the ZenFone Max Plus M1, you’ll need headphones, as a result of at excessive volumes the only speaker will get crackly (sure, regardless of having two grilles on the backside, there is just one speaker).
Photos taken with Asus ZenFone Max Plus M1
The twin-cameras on the again are fascinating. The primary 16MP shooter is respectable, capturing colour effectively in well-lit environments, however nice element is extra miss than hit, and low-light efficiency is poor, regardless of its f/2.zero aperture. The secondary digital camera has a pleasant 120-degree subject of view, however the default setting is to shoot in 18:9 at 5MP, which was manifestly low decision. It could possibly bump as much as 8MP, which is ok while you simply wish to get every little thing into one shot.
Even at its greatest, the digital camera software program is a tad annoying. We went into settings a number of instances, and adjusted them, then went again to the digital camera solely to seek out that the settings had instantly reverted themselves. Asus’s product web page says the front-facing digital camera is 16MP, however we couldn’t get it to shoot above 8MP, except we activate the wonky selfie-panorama or SuperResolution modes. Followers of Japanese photograph cubicles could benefit from the Magnificence Mode, however the ZenFone Max Plus M1 has sadly misplaced lots of the enjoyable filters that had been accessible on the ZenFone V. And, Asus’s marketed “Prompt digital camera switching” takes extra like a second.
Extra tedious than the digital camera switching is the biometrics. The fingerprint scanner usually fails to acknowledge our finger sufficient instances in a row that we’re pressured to make use of an ordinary unlock sample. The ZenFone Max Plus M1 additionally options facial recognition, however the lock display screen doesn’t present you what the digital camera sees, so it’s laborious to make sure you’ve acquired the digital camera lined up. And, even when the digital camera appears completely lined up, the popularity fails extra instances than not.
Maybe essentially the most regarding concern was that the cellphone usually acquired very heat throughout our testing. Even when it was simply hanging out in our pocket, we may really feel it getting a bit toasty. The included PowerMaster app shows the cellphone’s temperature, and on a number of events the cellphone was above 90 levels whereas we weren’t even working something.
The ZenFone Max Plus M1 does an honest job of balancing options, efficiency and design on a funds. It has the seems to be and really feel of a flagship cellphone, even when it lacks the breakneck efficiency of 1.
Sadly, in its effort to masquerade as a high-end cellphone, it forgot about some necessities to permit it to higher compete within the mid-range market.. The 18:9 IPS show is good, however would have been higher as an ordinary 16:9 OLED show. The premium aluminum construct would have been higher if it had any type of waterproofing, and it nonetheless feels breakable. Warmth can be a giant concern.
Nonetheless, for the fitting buyer, it is a good choose. At such a low value, it’s a well-performing, sharp trying smartphone that may simply get by means of the day on its huge battery. It’s only a disgrace Asus’s superior ZenFone V continues to be tied completely to Verizon. For anybody that may wait and spare a couple of additional bucks, the Moto G6 lineup seems to be to be a extra spectacular funds choice.