ASUS has launched the third generation Zenfones last year and the company also released the Zenfone 3 Max in two variants with high capacity batteries. Now the company has launched a new variant of Zenfone, the ASUS Zenfone 3S Max with a massive 5000mAh battery. The Zenfone 3S Max comes with Android 7.0 Nougat, the first budget device to come with latest Android version. It also has 5.2 inch HD display and is powered by Mediatek MT6750 Octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage.
So how does the device perform when compared to the competition? Let’s find out in this detailed review.
Design and Build:
The ASUS Zenfone 3S Max is an all metal unibody device with a compact form factor. It comes with curved edges with a matte finish rear panel. It feels quite good in hands with the smaller 5.2-inch display size. The thickness of the device is also not high even with 5000mAh battery. The phone also comes with a physical home button which also doubles up as the fingerprint scanner. The navigational buttons are on screen. The power and volume keys are on the right side, while the left houses the SIM tray. The 3.5mm audio jack is on the top while the micro USB slot and the speaker unit located at the bottom.
On the rear panel, you will find the 13MP camera which is placed on the top left corner along with LED flash and ASUS branding. The front panel houses the 5.2 inch HD display and the 8MP front camera and the usual set of sensors. At 175gms, the device isn’t lightweight, but the smaller size makes it compact to use. Overall the build quality and design look good on the phone.
Zenfone 3 Laser sports a 5.2-inch HD (1280X 720-pixel) IPS display. The display is quite decent in terms of color quality and the overall sharpness levels are also good. The brightness level is also quite good. You can also adjust the color temperature using Asus’ Splendid app. The touch response of the display was not impressive and occasionally we had to tap multiple times to register the click. The Sunlight legibility was decent. Viewing angles are also good on the display and it also comes with Bluelight filter which helps in reading.
The display also comes with 2.5D curved glass but there is no protection offered for it.
Zen UI, the custom ROM from ASUS has been one of the main attractions of Zenfone ever since it’s release. But over a period of time, ASUS hasn’t done too many changes to Zen UI and the Zenfone 3S Max comes with Zen UI 3.0. There are some visible changes to the UI, and few new features have been added to the Zen UI which is now on top of Android 7.0 and it is the first Zenfone to run Android 7.0 out of the box. Zen UI comes with lots of customization options. It does come with an app drawer and custom notification panel. The new UI does look refreshing with new options in the home screen.
The home screen offers a lot of tweaks and customizations in the form of icon packs, size, and font of icons and more. You can try out various combinations on the home screen. The Zen UI also supports third party icons which you can download from Play store. The new theme store app also comes with handy themes and there are both paid and free themes available.
Mobile Manager has been added in Zen UI which offers to free RAM and storage space as well as check performance and app permissions similar to other Chinese OEMs. There are still a lot of pre-loaded apps in the Zen UI which we feel is a bit too high for our liking. Zen UI also comes with lots gestures and features like One handed UI, Kids Mode and Easy mode which are handy features in the UI.
Zenfone 3S Max is powered by Mediatek MT6750 Octa-core SoC coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. MT 6750 is not a very powerful chipset in this segment and nowhere close to what SD625 or SD650 offers. But having said that, the performance of the device in day to day tasks was good and there were hardly any lag. We used Zenfone 3S Max as our daily driver and it gave us a decent overall performance in day to day tasks without any issues. But with the Zen UI being a bit heavy on resources and the chipset is not a very powerful one and hence you could see some lag when you push it harder with multitasking and running heavy games in high graphic settings.
We played high graphic rich games on the Zenfone 3S Max and while the gaming performance was pretty average for a device in this segment. The call quality on this device was good and the speaker performance is also decent.
The phone comes with a fingerprint scanner located on the front panel and it is not the fastest fingerprint scanner we have seen. It was not as accurate as some of the other zenfones we have tested. The phone comes with 32GB of internal storage and you get close to 24GB in the first usage and you also have a hybrid SIM slot to expand the memory. We tested the call quality on the device and it was extremely good. Other connectivity options on the phone include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, GPS/A-GPS, and Glonass.
Zenfone 3S Max comes with a 13MP rear camera with dual LED flash and 8MP front facing the camera for selfies. The camera interface is quite similar to what other ASUS phones offer and it comes with a plethora of modes and filters to choose. The camera quality was quite decent in daylight conditions with decent color quality and sharpness. But when the light decreases there is noise in the photos and not a great performer.The close up images in daylight also came up well although images are a bit saturated. The selfies taken with the front 8MP camera is again decent for social shares. Here are some of the samples taken with the phone.
The main USP of the Zenfone 3S Max is the massive 5000mAh battery. We tested the battery with social networking apps, browsing, calls, gaming, using camera and more. Using it as a daily driver, we could get almost close to 2 days of battery life on this device and we reached a Screen on time of around 9-10 hours which is impressive.
If you are looking for marathon battery life, the Zenfone 3S Max is one of those devices which won’t disappoint you and probably the cheapest smartphone with a 5000mAh battery.
Zenfone 3S Max is priced Rs 14999 and this is quite a high price for the device considering the specs. Also, if you look at the competition there are many devices offered with better specs at a lower price point. But there are some good aspects for Zenfone 3S max which you cannot ignore and the foremost one is the excellent battery life. Also, the device runs Android 7.0 (one of the few devices in the budget segment to have it) and has a premium build. If you are looking to watch movies and want high performing battery, without a doubt, the Zenfone 3S Max makes sense, but if you are looking for an all round device, there are better alternatives available.