The Max series for Asus has been an extreme hit. So much so that there’s a new Max just a few months after the Zenfone 3 Max. The Zenfone 3s Max polishes out some of the rough edges with a better design and a larger battery.
Starting with the design, the phone continues to have Aluminium on the back and 2.5D Glass on the front. The Aluminium back is a lot cleaner, thanks to the smaller camera sensor and removal of the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor has been moved to the front, right under the screen. Pretty similar to the way we’ve seen some of the Samsung Phones. The phone has a 5.2-inch display on the front, and the overall footprint is small and easy to use. Also, the back has a nice curve, making it even more comfortable to use.
The phone has a 3.5mm jack on the top, the volume rocker and power button on the right and the SIM tray to the left. In the bottom, there’s the microphone grill to the left, speaker grill to the right and the micro-USB port between them. Zenfone 3s Max comes in two colours: Black and Gold. The speaker on the bottom is very flat, but they are very loud for ringtones. A decent pair of in-ear headphones is included, though.
On the internal side, the phone runs on an Octa-Core 64-Bit Processor clocked at 1.5GHz. It has 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM which is expandable up to 2TB via MicroSD. The phone supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi which is amazing since most of the phones in this price range don’t. Zenfone 3s Max has a hybrid SIM Tray which supports a Micro SIM and either a Nano SIM or SD Card.
For the software, the phone runs on ZenUI 3.0 with Android 7.0 Nougat. It has a lot less bloatware and feels very snappy. The screen is small, but it supports Nougat’s Multi-Screen function. The phone also supports gestures to open apps right from the lockscreen. There’s a new app called GameGenie which lets you stream games straight to Twitch and YouTube.
Zenfone 3s Max has a 13MP Primary Camera and an 8MP Secondary Camera. The colour reproduction is on point, but the images are very soft. It performs decently well under low light situations, and it has a dual-tone flash to help with that. The front camera is also excellent, but it comes with the ‘Beautification Mode’ if you happen to like it.
Coming to the most important part, the Battery. The Max series is known for its legendary battery. The Zenfone 3s Max comes with a larger battery of 5,000 mAh which seems to last forever. According to Asus, it should last for 28 hours of talk time and 25 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi. To further enhance the battery life, multiple battery profiles are there depending on what you want. You can have the Performance to keep the processor going at its full capacity, or you can have Power Saving and Super Saving Modes. The phone supports reverse charging like previous Max devices, but for some reason, the cable for that was not included. Not sure if it was missing in only my retail unit as all the previous versions did.
The phone is not all perfect, though. I prefer the physical home button below the screen, but it kills me that other navigation buttons are on-screen. There is so much wasted space right next to the home button which could’ve been used.
The Zenfone 3s Max checks all the right boxes along with an extremely long battery life without compromising on the phone size with a great build, software and internals! At the time of writing this review, the price has not yet been revealed. If it is around Rs. 13,000 it is a decent buy. But anything above that is a hard sell.