ASUS Zenfone 3S Max is the new entry by the Taiwanese company after the launch of Zenfone 3 Max. The smartphone is priced at Rs 14,999. The highlight of the smartphone is the massive 5000mAh battery, 3GB of RAM and Android 7.0 Nougat, which makes it the first phone from the brand to offer the latest version of Android. Let’s check out if it’s a worthy buy in this segment or not.
Build and Design
ASUS Zenfone 3S Max has a full metallic body with curved edges, similar to its previous version. The only noticeable change is the replacement of capacitive buttons with the on-screen keys. The fingerprint sensor is also placed at the lower front panel underneath the home key, instead of at the back.
The rear panel sports the camera and flash on the top, along with an ASUS logo towards the middle. The front panel houses a camera and proximity sensors at the top of the display panel. The microUSB port and mono loudspeaker is placed at the lower edge while the 3.5mm Audio jack is at the top. The volume rocker keys and the power button is on the right side while the SIM card tray is on the left.
The overall designing of the smartphone is good. Its build is also sturdy, while the shiny surface gives it a premium looks.
The ASUS Zenfone 3S Max features a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1,280 x 720 resolution and a 2.5D curved glass. The display of the smartphone is good, but the resolution is lower than other smartphones in this category. This means that the display lacks a bit of crispness. It can be seen under direct sunlight, but users may need to increase the brightness.
Hardware and Software
The ASUS Zenfone 3S Max is powered by octa-core MediaTek MT6750 SoC (4 x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 + 4 x 1GHz Cortex-A53) with Mali-T860 MP2 GPU. There is 3GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage which can be expandable up to 256GB. Out of 3GB RAM, around 1.5GB is free most of the times even with no apps running on the background.
The smartphone runs Android 7.0 Nougat with Zen UI 3.0. Sadly, you won’t be able to find it to be much different than previous ASUS smartphones because of the customisations. It also contains lots of bloatware in it. That’s why out of 32GB memory, only 23GB is available to the user. The UI allows to control and customize major on-screen display features.
The touch response of the smartphone seems a bit slow. ASUS Zenfone 3S Max multitasking performance was not very effective either. RAM is mostly being used by the system itself so the device takes slow responses and more time to open apps.
In terms of benchmarks, it scores 39530 and 19789 in AnTuTu and Quadrant respectively. The scores are average and there are lots of smartphone who got better result in this price range.
The gaming performance of the smartphone is good initially, but later it struggles with performance. Small games like Candy Crush and Subway Surfer runs smoothly but high-end games like Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 lags a lot.
The fingerprint response is average and it misses a lot of times to sense the fingers. Generally out of 10 it fails to read the finger around four times. There is minimal heating issue while gaming and charging of the device. The OTG charging function runs perfectly and also lets you charge other devices.
Connectivity options are 4G dual SIM, VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS. The connectivity features of the smartphone is good and we didn’t find any issues of call drops as well.
ASUS Zenfone 3S Max sports 13 megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and dual-tone LED flash.It offers 1080p with 30fps video recording. The camera app runs smoothly and takes good images but the focus is somehow a bit slow to respond. The captured images are bright, soft and have good amount of details. The video quality of the smartphone is also nice and effective.
It offers lots of modes like Auto, Manual, HDR Pro, Beautification, Super Resolution, Low light, QR Code, Night, Effect, Selfie, Panorama and Time Lapse. Most of the features works fine but we find HDR, Low Light, Night and Effect mode to be really useful.
The device sports an 8-megapixel front camera with 720p and 30fps video recording. It captures good selfies and with decent level of details. Overall the camera performance is good and worthy.
The USP of the ZenFone 3S Max is the 5000mAh battery. The phone offers excellent battery life with around two and a half days of standby time. It gives over 12 hours of screen-on time even with heavy usage, which is really impressive. The moderate users will get even more run time. Unfortunately it does not have fast charging option and takes about four hours to charge the phone with the supplied charger.
The ASUS Zenfone 3s Max is a good option if you need a bigger battery life and premium design. However, in terms of the performance, there are some powerful options available in the segment such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Lenovo Z2 Plus. Overall it’s not the best smartphone, but if you want to buy a smartphone offline along with a long battery life, then you can go for it.