ASUS Zenfone Max M2 (ZB633KL) Review: Battery Titan for Less

The ASUS Zenfone Max M2 follows the successful run of last year's Max M1 line. It's also dubbed as the smaller brother of the popular Max Pro M2. According to the Zenfone-maker, the handset is set to focus on its main selling points - battery and performance. We are also expecting that this handset will give a great value relative to its price. Having reviewed the more powerful Zenfone Max Pro M2, we thought that going through the standard Max M2 would be an easy ride. But is it though? Notwithstanding that these smartphones come in the same line, we could still pick some major differences. Let's spill the deets in this ASUS Zenfone Max M2 (ZB633KL) review.

ASUS Zenfone Max M2 (ZB633KL) Review


ASUS Zenfone Max M2 (ZB633KL) Review

Design

One major difference is the design. Both handsets were released in a close time frame to each other, yet I think the Max M2 feels more related to the Max Pro M1 than the Max Pro M2. The smartphone has a plastic frame and matte metallic backing in contrast to the shiny glass-like finish of the Max M2 Pro. The screen is treated with 2.5D curved glass which makes swiping activities smooth.

ASUS Zenfone Max M2 Review

The monotone metallic back is simple and could withstand fingerprints. However, some might call it boring compared to its bitter rivals with flashy gradient tones. I love its simplicity though, it's the phone that you would want to pick up in gloomy days to match that baggy monotone outfit.

The phone is solidly built - free from the creaking parts that we've experienced from the Max Pro M2. At the back, everything feels right - the fingerprint sensor has a good dimple on it, although you may reach a little higher if you have short fingers. It's also the same story with the volume buttons that are placed on the right side above the power button.

ASUS Zenfone Max M2 ZB633KL Review Philippines

There's a 3.5-mm audio jack on the top side together with the secondary microphone. On the left, the SIM tray card which is very hospitable enough to accommodate two SIM cards and one microSD card at the same time. The bottom part is a home to the microUSB port, the speaker slit, and the primary microphone.

Overall, the Zenfone Max M2's design feels just right. It's a well-designed phone that does not ask for much attention.


Display

There's a rectangular cut-out for the notch just like the Max Pro M2. The bezels are thin as well as the chin. On paper, the Zenfone Max M2 comes with a 6.26-inch HD+ IPS LCD display with 720 x 1520p. Despite the HD panel, colors are still vibrant and accurate. On top of that, the wide screen real estate makes it a great companion for multimedia activities.

ASUS Zenfone Max M2 ZB633KL Review PH

However, smaller texts could hardly be read; so it's always advisable to increase the font size. The notch also feels like a distraction if you're watching movies or playing games. There's no settings to hide it as of this writing.

Performance

The ASUS Zenfone Max M2 ticks with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 832 chipset that is coupled with 3GB of RAM. In our day to day use, the phone is quite decent and could handle most of the tasks with ease.


In our Antutu Benchmark, the handset scores 100,049 - a little below the Samsung Galaxy A30. The handset is also a worker when it comes to gaming. Mobile Legends runs smoothly even in high settings and frame rate. However, running PUBG Mobile makes the handset settle for the low graphics for better gaming experience. For casual games, it has enough fire power.

In terms of multimedia, the smartphone fell short. Sure it comes with a huge display but the HD+ resolution misses in having punchy videos. The loudspeaker needs improvement too. I recommend that you use headphones or another speaker in consuming content.

Calls are clear though. I haven't had any complaints in receiving calls even when I'm in a closed area.

Software

The ASUS Zenfone Max M2 runs on a stock Android mobile operating system. As of this writing, the handset runs with Android 8.1 Oreo. It is yet to be updated with the current Android 9.0 Pie. This means that ASUS is quite behind in terms of updates even though that this one is running on stock Android.


Navigating the handset's user interface is quite a breeze. The Notification shade can be accessed by swiping down. Plus, you also have the most important shortcut icons on the same suite. Yes, you won't have to swipe up from the bottom to access some control toggles.


The software is plain simple. It's also straightforward to use. Swiping right when you're in the homescreen will bring Google's main interface which is quite favorable if you wanted to access news and stories based on your interests.

There's still a number of ASUS proprietary bloatwares but it's less intrusive compared to other Android skins. All in all, I love the clean and minimalist interface ASUS is serving with the Zenfone Max M2.

Camera

The ASUS Zenfone Max M2 sports a dual-camera setup consisting of a 13MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture coupled with a 2MP depth sensor. Its camera app is also pretty straightforward to use. It comes with full row of modes like Auto, Pro, HDR, Sports, and Night which you can access while tapping the mode suite. You'll also get Flash, Beautify, and Portrait modes in the main interface of the app.

ASUS Zenfone Max M2 Review

Zenfone Max M2 produces quality photos with good color accuracy. On top of that, colors do not tend to oversaturate; they are more natural-looking compared to the outputs of the Max Pro M2. Images also have good white balance. In low-light, most of the produced images could hardly get a decent shot.

The selfie camera also produces decent photos if captured in a well-lit environment. Once the light goes out, it drops most of the details, with photos being muddy and noisy.


On the flip side, you can record 4K videos at 30 fps. Video quality is quite fair. You'll need to have a good stabilization third-party device to get a usable action video.

Check out the sample photos below:





Check out more sample pictures in their full resolution here: http://bit.ly/2Es3xlE

Battery

The ASUS Zenfone Max M2 definitely excels in the battery department. Its 4000 mAh battery could squeeze a good amount of juice for more than a day and a half...in moderate use. On top of that, the smartphone also aces battery conservation on standby mode. In our PC Mark battery test, the handset lasted 8 hours and one minute with screen brightness on maximum.


However, it does not support fast charging. Charging the phone from zero to 100 percent could take roughly two hours and a half. But if you're a person who likes to charge your phones overnight, this won't bother you at all.


The Wrap

In mid 2019, ASUS Zenfone Max M2 (ZB633KL) has a considerable number of competition in the sub-PHP 10K range. It being nicely priced at PHP 8,995 with feature-oriented tricks like battery efficiency, Stock Android software, and gaming-centric performance, the ASUS Zenfone Max M2 could still be a good phone for its price.


If you're looking for more power in this price range, there's definitely a lot of options out there, but if you prefer unwavering battery efficiency and clean Google-backed software, you might as well settle for the Zenfone Max M2.

Highlights:

1. Stock Android Experience
2. Long Battery Life
3. Solid build

Lowlights:

1. Average camera with fair low-light capability

ASUS Zenfone Max M2 (ZB633KL) Specs

6.26-inch HD+  (720 x 1520p resolution)
2.5D Curved Glass
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
1.8GHz octa-core processor
Adreno 506 GPU
3GB RAM
32GB Storage
Rear: Dual Camera, 13MP (f/1.8, PDAF, LED Flash) + 2MP (Depth Sensing), up to 4K 30 fps video recording
Front:8MP sensor with soft light LED flash
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS
Micro USB 2.0
3.5-mm Headphone Jack
5-Magnet Speaker with NXP smart amplifier
Triple Slots (Dual LTE SIM Slot, microSD slot)
Fingerprint Sensor (rear mounted)
5000 mAh battery
Android 8.1 Oreo
Php 8,995
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