The ASUS Zenfone Max Plus aims to offer a combination of decent mid-range specs, including an 18:9 display – the first from the brand, a powerful octa-core processor, dual rear cameras, and a huge 4,130mAh battery that should give it outstanding longevity.
ASUS Zenfone Max Plus Specs:
- 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750T octa-core processor
- 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card
- 5.7-inch 18:9 FHD+ display
- 16MP (RGB, f/2.0) + 8MP (Wide-Angle) rear cameras
- 8MP (f/2.0) front camera
- Fingerprint Sensor
- Face Unlock
- ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android 7.0 Nougat
- 4,130mAh battery with ASUS BoostMaster fast charging
Design and Build Quality
The Zenfone Max Plus’ matte finish makes it look and feel more expensive than it really is. And while it’s not the slimmest phone out there, being able to fit such a huge battery is no easy feat. It also uses a triple slot tray, which means you don’t have to sacrifice a SIM card slot for your microSD card.
At the back is the dual camera system, which of course, protrudes. I’m not sure why they went back with the sticker on the lower part, which I think ruins the beauty of the phone, at least from that angle.
But of course, the highlight of the design is the new 5.7-inch 18:9 display. Sporting a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels or FHD+, it carries the signature vibrancy that brings out more life to each color. It’s also a very bright display, and is very much readable even in direct sunlight.
It’s not a dealbreaker, but I somehow wish that they slashed off just a few more millimeters from the bottom bezel. Unless it’s a design restriction, I feel like the extra space is just wasted.
The device features a dual rear camera setup composed of a 16MP RGB sensor along with a secondary 8MP sensor with a 120 degree wide-angle lens.
Using the main lens, you get photos with decent detail and color reproduction. Focusing speed isn’t lighting fast, but is quick enough. Photos taken using the wide-angle came out looking out of focus, with considerable loss in quality.
Portrait mode works well too, if you can find the right angle, as it does tend to miss some spots that shouldn’t be blurred.
The 8MP front camera isn’t bad, but isn’t great either, as my face looks pretty much out of focus in some shots, when it clearly was before I took it.
In any case, we’ll be taking more shots with the phone to see how the camera performs in other scenarios.
The Zenfone Max Plus runs on ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android Nougat, which introduces a number of new features such as face unlock, while retaining the goodies that I loved from the previous version such as Audio Wizard.
Talking about Face Unlock, registration is fast and simple, and when you’re done, it does work most of the time, with occasional misses.
The PowerMaster app works as your command center for optimizing the device’s performance and battery life. You can for example, change battery modes depending on what you’re doing, manage apps, and use the phone as a powerbank to charge other devices.
Other features include Twin Apps which lets you replicate a social media app to login to another account, and Game Genie, which lets you capture screenshots, record your gameplay, and search for useful tips without hassle.
In terms of performance, navigating the UI was generally smooth and fluid, with no noticeable hiccups or slowdowns.
So far, the Zenfone Max Plus looks to be quite a decent device. The use of an 18:9 display and a higher resolution makes media consumption a joy, and the software seems to be well-optimized.
As for imaging, there’s a need for improvement in the quality of wide-angle shots, but this device is bound to get software updates in the future, so I really hope at least one of those addresses the issue.
There’s still more to be done for me to make a final verdict: gaming tests, more camera samples, a battery benchmark and more – all of which will be included in our full review.
Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.