ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 Review: A Workhorse At A Great Price

Zenfone Max Pro M1

The sub 15,000/- rupees segment in India is very crowded and sees a new device twice or thrice a week and that is no exaggeration. The buyers in that segment are spoiled for choice and have a very large set of options. ASUS has thrown their hat into this recently with the Zenfone Max Pro M1. We spent a considerable amount of time with this device and here is our review.

The ZenFone Max Pro packs a massive 5000mAh battery, a 15.2 cms (5.99) FHD+ Full View display and a dual-camera system into an amazingly compact metal body. It is powered by the fast and energy-efficient Qualcomm® Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform, with Adreno 509 graphics for enhanced responsiveness and outstanding gaming performance. The smartphone is also ASUS’ first smartphone to offer a pure, stock version of Android – and the latest version Android 8.1. The smartphone packs in high-end audio components comprising an NXP Smart Amp, a 5 Magnet Speaker and a passive amplifier accessory ‘The Max Box’

The Zenfone Max Pro is not trying to win any design awards and actually looks very much like most other handsets that feature an 18:9 ratio. The display has rounded edges  and that makes the phone look and feel classier feel. All the buttons on the device are located on the right side, and every one of have been built tough and durable with good feedback. The front panel also has the earpiece, the proximity sensor, and the front-facing camera. On the back, there is the vertically stacked dual camera setup  that is almost flush with the body and the fingerprint scanner. There is also a  very noticeable ridge that passes  on the top rear side that serves the purpose providing some relief to an otherwise ordinary rear panel design. In summary, good build, very nice to hold and fits well in the palm. Practical design that serves the purpose.

Zenfone Max Pro M1 Rear View

Running the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is an advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform, which combines smooth, responsive performance with superb battery life, and a powerful Adreno 509 GPU that delivers enhanced mobile gaming and browsing performance. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) handles any task easily, with performance to spare. We tried a lot of parallel apps with it and there wasn’t even a stutter. The phone was able to handle load smoothly.  It also showed no signs of heating or slowing down.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform is an advanced 14nm 64-bit octa-core system-on-chip (SoC) with up to 4GB RAM, and which delivers over (up to) 40%-higher CPU performance and 10%-higher graphics performance than the Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, while maintaining excellent battery life. With its improved performance, the Adreno 509 GPU supports lifelike visuals and more efficient rendering of advanced 3D graphics. ASUS has made full use of this and the screen to give a very immersive experience. The colors on the screen were very well rendered and the viewing angles are excellent. The phone also has very good sunlight visibility and legibility. Reading text and viewing videos was also a very neat and smooth experience. Video loops and streaming were handled very well by the device.

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is the first ASUS smartphone to ship with pure Android Oreo, the latest version of the beautiful Android user interface that delivers an intuitive experience and helps the user do stuff faster, improve their productivity, and simply lets them have more fun with their phone. What this means is also that ASUS has listened to the users talking about the Zen UI being heavy and have made this device light and smooth by going for a stock experience. Makes the phone nippy and really responsive.

The key selling point of the ZenFone Max Series is the huge battery capacity, designed for serious travelers and those who need maximum battery endurance. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) has a high-capacity, high-density 5000mAh battery — the most powerful in the ZenFone Max Series — that’s custom-crafted to pack maximum performance into minimum space. The battery is very impressive and on a single charge, we were easily able to get close to 27 hours of above average usage and that is monumental in this segment. The phone is made for professionals and young people who are looking for maximum productivity and multimedia usage from their device. Even with a heavy mix of 4G and Wifi, this phone is quite the battery workhorse.

ZenFone Max Pro can charge its 5000mAh battery from 0% to 100% in just 2 hours and 42 minutes, compared to some rival products with a 4000mAh battery that need well over 3 hours.

The 15.2 cms (5.99) Full View FHD+ (1080 x 2160) display in the ZenFone Max Pro supports 450cd/mbrightness, class leading 1500:1 contrast ratio and an 85% NTSC color gamut to provide users an magnificent visual experience. The ultrawide 18:9 aspect ratio and slim bezels provide a greatly expanded viewing area that makes viewing photos and watching widescreen videos incredibly immersive, and when browsing the web there’s less need for scrolling. Multitasking is also easier, as two apps fit comfortably side-by-side on the screen.

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) features a five-magnet speaker driven by an NXP smart amplifier that delivers higher volume with lower distortion. Compared to single-magnet speaker performance, the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) delivers 41% louder sound, 14% better low-frequency response and 12% less distortion. When coupled with Max Box, the volume can increase up to 2X louder. It is a good phone to have when you need to unwind to music alone or with friends. Good to have when the pressure is high and you are looking to get de-stressed fast. The speaker does fill a room well and the Max Box is okay as a supplement.

Front View

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) has  a very good dual-camera system that takes very good pictures under most lighting conditions. The rear camera focuses on the subject invery quick time, and has a high-resolution 13MP sensor with a high-quality, f/2.2 wide-aperture lens that captures clearer photos, every time. The secondary 5MP rear camera is a dedicated depth-sensing camera for more accurate bokeh effect in portraits and close-ups, putting the subject in sharp focus while progressively blurring the background for a gentle yet powerful effect that really makes the subject stand out. The pictures we took were very good. We could not find any major issues with the images and the colors. Like all the phones in the segment, this one also finds low light conditions challenging. But then, that is something that the whole segment suffers from with just a few exceptions.

ZenFone Max Pro (M1) shoots video at up to 4K UHD resolution, allowing users to just point, shoot and share their memories, all captured with very good levels of detail. The 8MP front camera enables  very decent selfies, with soft-light LED flash and a beautification feature that enables shots with removal of blemishes, balance facial features, enhance skin tone and more. Overall in the camera department, the device is very good and reliable. More hits than misses there.

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) comes with two SIM slots supporting 4G LTE, and an additional microSD slot to expand storage by up to 2TB. Its convenient triple-slot tray lets users install two SIMs and a microSD card in one easy step. The phone also supports a very sturdy implementation of face unlock that works very smoothly.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is available in two variants namely 3GB / 32GB for Rs.10,999 and the 4GB / 64GB for Rs. 12,999  exclusively on Flipkart. The third variant 6GB / 64 GB will sport 16MP + 5MP dual rear cameras, a 16MP front camera and is selling for INR 14,999.


The ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 is a must buy if you are in the hunt for a long lasting phone that can give you a great multimedia and camera experience under INR 15000 and this will give tough competition to the Redmi Note 5 siblings in the market

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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