We’ve finally had some time with the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2. Launched just a month ago, ASUS’ latest entry in the Max series comes with a serious redesign of the chassis and overall build while still retaining what people loved most about the Max lineup; it’s large battery.
ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 660|
|Screen||6.3-inch, FullHD+, 2280 x 1080, 94% NTSC, 450nits, Corning Gorilla Glass 6|
|RAM||Up to 6GB RAM|
|OS||Android 8.1 Oreo (Stock)|
|Rear Camera||12MP Primary, Sony IMX486 Sensor, 5MP Secondary|
|Front Camera||13MP + 8MP|
|Storage||64GB expandable up to 2TB via dedicated MicroSD slot|
|Network||Dual Nano-SIM, 4G, LTE|
|Connectivity||WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, MicroUSB|
|Others||NXP-9874 Audio, Fingerprint Scanner, Facial Recognition, Triple-cut SIM tray|
Design and Features
As we’ve mentioned before, the most noticeable departure of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 from its predecessors is its build quality. Instead of a plastic build, the smartphone now comes with a glass rear reminiscent of the most recent ASUS ZenFone 5 lineup.
Having a glass back does have its downsides. The rear of the smartphone is now a dust and fingerprint magnet. This problem, however, would be easily resolved by getting a clear case that would protect the smartphone and preserve its gorgeous new looks.
Breaking up the rear design is the smartphone’s vertically-aligned dual main cameras with the primary camera being a 12MP camera powered by the Sony IMX486 sensor.
ASUS has replaced the wide-angle secondary camera found on the previous ZenFone smartphones with a 5MP depth sensor on the Max Pro M2. This allows the smartphone to take better blurred background especially in portraiture.
Another break in the glass rear is the fingerprint scanner and the ASUS logo smack in the middle of the rear.
At the front of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is a notched 6.3-inch FullHD+ 2280 x 1080 display that promises brightness of up to 450nits. The smartphone is also the second smartphone from ASUS to come with a Corning Gorilla Glass 6, the first being the ASUS ROG Phone.
Resting on the notch of the Max Pro M2 is a single 13MP f/2.0 selfie camera and, surprisingly, a dedicated LED flash for those occasions of low-light selfies. The front facing camera also acts as a face scanner for the smartphone that enables face unlocking the Max Pro M2.
Inside the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 with 64GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM (there’s also a 4GB variant available.) The smartphone also comes with a triple-cut SIM tray to allow its users to use two Nano-SIM cards at the same time together with a MicroSD card.
Disappointingly, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 doesn’t come with USB Type-C. In its stead is a MicroUSB port at the bottom, which is a bit annoying since we’ve been spoiled with the ease of use of USB Type-C.
The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 feels like a natural progression for the Max series in terms of build quality. With a premium build almost rivaling that of the ASUS ZenFone 5, the latest entry into the Max family is poised to take over as the dominant force in its price range.
Like the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 before it, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 comes with a vanilla Android 8.1 Oreo. Previous reasoning for having a stock Android on the Max Pro M1 is to save resources but with the M2, with its 6GB of RAM, it seems that ASUS could have installed their trademark ZenUI instead.
Without the ZenUI, however, the smartphone is able to save more of the internal storage for later. Out of the 64GB of storage, more than 50GB is available for use. Users can also expand the storage even further by up to 2TB via its dedicated MicroSD slot.
The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2’s camera app is fairly bog-standard compared to other smartphones in the market. Despite this, the camera still allows users to pick several presets such as automatic, professional mode, portrait, and several filters.
Despite not having ZenUI, the smartphone still comes with AI Scene Detection. The device can choose from 13 different scenarios and optimize the settings of the camera in order to take the most optimal photo.
We were able to take decent and natural-looking shots with the smartphone. Photos, however, do have the tendency to be unsaturated especially if the AI can’t detect the scene.
Low-light performance of the device are a bit on the low-end with noise becoming more apparent as we carefully scrutinize photos.
Performance and Benchmarks
The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC and 6GB of RAM. As expected of this smartphone of this caliber, we did any experience any major hiccup in light use or even medium multitasking.
For benchmarks, the smartphone scored a decent amount in both PCMark 2.0 and AnTuTu. The device was able to reach a score of 5841 in PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark and a respectable 130156 in AnTuTu.
Packed with a 5,000mAh, battery life is where the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is expected to shine. Synthetic benchmarks place the smartphone around 12 hours of heavy use. Realistically, the device should last more than a day under medium use.
Charging the Max Pro M2 lasted more than 2 hours and 30 minutes from 0 to 100%. An expected time given the smartphone’s rather large battery capacity.
Priced at PhP 14,995 for the 6GB/64GB variant and PhP 12,995 for the 4GB/64GB, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is a rather incremental improvement over the previous entry in the series.
As we’ve said before, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 feels like a natural progression of the Max series. From its budget roots several years ago to this year’s more premium offering, the Max lineup has come a long way in just a few years.
If you’ve just purchased a decent mid-range smartphone in the past year, then the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 would be a hard pass for most people. For people looking for decent performance and longer battery life that can take adequate photos, then the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 should be a smartphone your shortlist.