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Asus Zenfone 4 Max Review

Asus ZenFone 4 Max

Posted: , by Corey G. Corey G.

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Interface and Performance

Even in the mid-range, Asus knows how to make a fast phone.

Asus Zenfone 4 Max Review

ZenUI, and its multitude of options and customizations, are in full effect here. This time around, we find things slightly more cleaned up aesthetically. For instance, the UI customization dock, accessed by swiping up on the homescreen, is no longer a series of multi-colored circular icons, but rather a uniform, transparent icon set, which lends itself to a much cleaner, organized appearance. Still, the UI is in need of a more capable search function for its many settings, but other than this we can’t complain, since the performance is so smooth.

Once again, Asus proves its competence in fast, smooth-operating hardware – even in the mid-range. Under the hood you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 430, with either two, three, or four gigs of RAM. Our unit was equipped with 3 GB RAM and an SD430. Truthfully, we couldn’t ask for or need more – given the price of the phone, of course. Multi-tasking was very smooth and responsive; we rarely encountered any pauses even while dual-screening and swapping between large apps like an active Google Maps navigation, YouTube while streaming a 720p video, and general web surfing. Very impressive stuff. Gaming may not be the best experience you’ll find in mobile computing – the GPU lets us down here – but it’s very doable. Asus keeps the UI light and nimble, allowing the internals to hum along unencumbered, which leaves the user always grinning, and never waiting.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 43354
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 31046
Nokia 6 47129
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 44515
JetStream
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 17.791
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 17.113
Nokia 6 17.35
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 25.037
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 25
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 11
Nokia 6 15
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 19
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 10
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 3.4
Nokia 6 4.5
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 7.3
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 927
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 544.33
Nokia 6 307
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 942
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 639
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 557.5
Nokia 6 684
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 703
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 2349
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 1565.5
Nokia 6 2824
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 3385
View all

Connectivity

Dual SIM and the capability to charge other devices add to its versatility.

Asus Zenfone 4 Max Review

As seems to be the expectation with affordably priced devices (for now, at least) Micro-USB is the charging method of choice, and fingerprint scanning the biometric security employed. The fingerprint scanner is every bit as fast as those on most any flagship we’ve tested, and functions as the home key as well. The Max’s Micro-USB port also has a trick of its own as it can charge your other devices from the large, 5000mAh battery via the included Micro USB to USB-A, male-to-female adapter. Bluetooth 4.1 is on board, as well as a dual SIM card plus MicroSD card slot (you can use all slots at the same time), capable of using up to 256GB of supplemental storage. Nice perks to have for this unlocked, 32 GB device.

Camera

Sub-200-dollar dual cameras that don’t disappoint, but a tale of two cameras is evident.

Asus Zenfone 4 Max Review

Given the price point, the Asus ZenFone 4 Max is more than adequately equipped on the camera front. At the back we have a dual-camera setup comprised of a 13MP main camera and a secondary wide-angle shooter with a 120-degree field of view and 5MP of resolution. At the front is an 8MP selfie camera with flash.

Image quality is far from flawless, but for the most part, our photos turned out better than we expected. Given the right conditions, the main camera can take some pleasant-looking shots, with sufficient detail and fairly accurate colors. Surprisingly, even most of our low-light shots came out looking fine and dandy.

But as we implied, the camera is not without its issues. It suffers from poor dynamics range, focusing could be problematic, and purple fringing is evident. Still, given the cost of the Asus ZenFone 4 Max, we can't really complain. Taking HDR photos, though a slower process, tends to yield much better results, though the mode is only useful for static scenes, as blur may occur with moving objects.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 4 Max 2.87
6.17
467
291
Motorola Moto E4 Plus 2.7
4.5
804
658
Nokia 6 2.31
5.13
651
639
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T 2.6
No data
533
465
View all

The wide-angle camera, on the other hand, steps down quite noticeably in quality. Due to its lower resolution and the nature of its optics, the amount of detail it captures is much lower. It isn't great for use in low light either. But you do get a wider field of view in exchange, which could be useful for photographing large monuments, for example, or when shooting in tight spots.

Video shot on the Max tops out at a resolution of 1080p. While it looks okay for the most part, it suffers from jittery autofocus. The absence of optical stabilization does the video quality no favors.



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PhoneArena rating:
8Good
Display5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (267 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera13 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Octa-core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
4 GB RAM
Size6.06 x 3.03 x 0.35 inches
(153.9 x 77 x 8.9 mm)
6.38 oz  (181 g)

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