With manufacturers really targeting the mid-range sector more than ever before, the competition is getting fierce. Not only are manufacturers targeting this sector, but the chip manufacturers are also attempting to improve their offerings in this price range.
Nowadays, you will find some mid-range smartphones that can rival some of the latest flagships at more competitive prices than ever before. In this article, we will be going over the Asus ZenFone Max M2 as it stands to be one of Asus’ most compelling mid-range smartphones ever primarily because it doesn’t try to do too much.
An In-depth Asus ZenFone Max M2 Review
The Asus ZenFone Max M2 brings about some minor design changes from its predecessor. This specific model brings about a notched screen design which some people love, and some people hate. While it is controversial, it does make it stand out as a newer phone on the market as a lot of the premium devices on the market have this same ‘feature.’ One of the bright spots of this particular model is that Asus managed to pack in a good-sized 4000mAh battery without increasing the weight too much as it only weighs in at 160 grams.
The screen itself comes in 6.3 inches and offers a solid 269 PPI density. It also comes equipped with Corning’s excellent and latest iteration of its Gorilla Glass protection (Gorilla Glass 6).
Another selling point is that the ZenFone Max M2 comes equipped with dual SIM offering both Nano + Nano sim placement. Each SIM slot is supported with 4G + VoLTE. Therefore, you should be able to get the fastest performance possible on each SIM if your network supports it.
The 4000mAh battery should have no trouble getting you through a day even with moderate usage. Therefore, even power users should be content with this battery capacity.
This smartphone comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 is a relatively new processor that has plenty of processing power that leads to smooth performance. Gaming performance is not going to be the greatest as expected with a mid-range phone. It only comes equipped with an Adreno 506 which is not the most reliable performer. However, it is certainly capable of running all of the latest games on medium to lower settings at smooth frame rates.
This is an essential aspect of buying any smartphone. Luckily, Asus ships the ZenFone Max M2 with Android 8.1 promising Android 9 (P) in January. Therefore, it shouldn’t be on an outdated version of Android for long.
The ZenFone Max M2 comes equipped with a dual rear camera setup with a 13-megapixel primary sensor on the back. Along with this, it comes further equipped with a 2-megapixel depth sensor for better depth on shots.
With the rear camera, 4K video motion capture is supported, and it comes equipped with a full LED flash module which will allow for adequate low light performance. On the front, you will find an 8-megapixel sensor along with an LED flash module for better low light photography.
The selfie camera is capable of shooting video at 1080 30fps. The camera is not the best performer on the market, but that is to be expected with a mid-range smartphone. You can expect excellent camera performance in good lighting conditions and relatively poor low-light camera performance.
Luckily, Asus integrated expandable storage capability with this mid-range phone. Meaning, you could opt for the lower onboard storage variant and store a lot of your media on expandable storage that can go all the way up to 2TB.
The goods and the bads
I have been using this smartphone for more than a week now ( 2018, 16th Dec – 23rd Dec, the day of posting this content ) and from my personal experience, I can say that this phone definitely has some pros and cons.
Let’s start with the Pros:
1. Stock Android.
One of the better things that Asus has going for it is the fact that they are sticking to minimal layering on top of the pure Android experience. This typically means that you are going to get some of the fastest updates in the business. Getting regular updates is very important to a lot of consumers that want not only the latest features but the latest security patches to go along with it.
2. Battery Life.
Because the phone features a good 4000mAh battery, you should be able to get some great battery life out of the phone. The phone has a larger than usual battery for its proportions and weight. Therefore, it is a strong performer relative to its size and price tier.
Now comes the Cons:
1. Only Adequate Low Light Performance.
While Asus attempted to make low light photography better with the inclusion of a LED flash module on both the rear and selfie cameras, you shouldn’t expect anything more than adequate when it comes to low light photography. While this is likely expected due to being a mid-range phone, if you are strictly looking for a great low light performer, this is not going to satisfy you.
This is more of a subjective con. A lot of people would likely place the notch in the ‘con’ section simply because it stands out in a bad way. While the Asus implements the notch better than some phones and manufacturers, it still stands out like a sore thumb. Therefore, if a notch bothers you, it might be something to consider as its predecessor did not have it.
3. A Few UI Bugs.
With Asus, you can expect UI bugs here and there. While these bugs will not be consistent nor will they be ‘dealbreakers,’ you are likely going to notice a lack of optimization in certain instances. However, Asus does have a good reputation of providing steady updates which can improve any bugs in subsequent patches.
Overall, there is a lot to like about the Asus ZenFone Max M2. If you are in the market for a mid-range smartphone, you will be hard-pressed to find a better overall value.
After all, it offers excellent and smooth performance, a great screen, dual SIM with VoLTE capabilities, and a very good sized battery. As long as you are not buying the phone purely for low light photography, you are likely going to be getting superb value for your money.
It is a recommended buy for anyone that is looking for a mid-range phone with a great value proposition and performance in certain areas that can match even flagship devices.
Written by Johnathan Abram