It hasn’t been long since Asus first introduced us to the Zenfone 3 Max (review) with its stylish metallic body housing a 4100mAh battery. But in its pursuit to meet market demand it has launched the new Zenfone 3s Max which fills the vacant spot between the two variants of the Zenfone 3 Max.

When its comes to affordable phones there are two hit formulas currently trending in the market: the selfie phones and the big battery phones. And the new Max adopts the latter. If you are someone tormented by a mediocre battery on your existing handset and are looking forward to buy a phone with a massive battery capacity, the Zenfone 3s Max is a reasonably priced option. But is it good enough for your individual needs? Let us find out in our full review.

Asus Zenfone 3s Max Specifications

Model Asus Zenfone 3s Max
Display 5.2-Inch, HD, IPS LCD
Processor 1.5 GHz Octa-Core MT6750
RAM 3GB
Internal Storage 32GB (23.65 free), expandable
Software Android Nougat based Zen UI
Primary Camera 13MP rear camera, dual tone flash
Secondary Camera 5MP selfie camera
Dimensions and Weight 149.5 × 73.7 × 8.85mm; 169.5g
Battery 5000mAh
Others 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, microUSB v2.0, 3.5mm, Hybrid SIM
Price 14,990 INR

 

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Design

Asus began a fresh design chapter with the Zenfone 3 which was appreciated by both critics and the customers for its aesthetics. Continuing with the design evolution (or perhaps Zenvolution), the Taiwanese smartphone maker introduced all metallic design in its ‘Big Battery’ Max series. And the design evolves further with the new Zenfone 3s Max.

A couple of key design changes that you will instantly notice are the shift of fingerprint sensor from the back to the front and missing capacitive buttons. For a change, Asus has decided to go with on-screen buttons on the new Max. The fingerprint sensor isn’t the ‘always-on’ type and it only gets activated once you press the button. The power button along with volume rocker is placed on the right edge and offers good tactile feedback. A hybrid SIM slot is placed on the left.

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On top of the display, there is an earpiece surrounded by proximity and light sensors, notification light, selfie camera and Asus branding. The major chunk of the rear is covered by non-removable metal cover followed by a small plastic lip (Asus has tactfully managed toe eleminate top plastic shell which makes for a big design difference). The primary camera, dual LED flash, and secondary noise cancellation mic are all present on the top-right corner. The Headphone Jack features on the top of the phone while the microUSB and loudspeaker are placed at the bottom.

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Despite a predominantly metal build and a 5000mAh battery, the Zenfone 3s Max is 8.85mm slim and weighs just 175 grams for which Asus should be given a thumbs up. Bezels around the display are sleek and boast of an impressive 75 per cent screen-to-body ratio. Its rounded corners and 2.5D curved glass on the top give it an elegant look. The smooth texture of the metal plate on the rear makes the phone a bit slippery. Overall, if you compare it with the likes of Redmi Note 4 and others under 15,000 INR, the Zenfone 3S Max does have a slight edge over the others in terms of design.

Display

The ZenFone 3s Max features a 5.2-inch 720p IPS LCD screen with 2.5D curved glass on top. It is certainly not the forte of the 3s Max.  Considering its price, a full HD display would have been a better choice. The lower pixel density should be noticeable to anyone who has used a Full HD display phone in the past.

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The display is bright enough and offers good sunlight legibility. Viewing angles are not disappointing either. Where it falters is with the contrast ratio. Settings to tweak phones saturation and color balance is missing too.

Performance and Software

The Zenfone 3s Max is powered by a 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750 chipset coupled with 3Gigs of RAM. Like all Max series phones, it pledges a long lasting battery. With the 5000mAh battery and MT6750 chipset, it manages to last really long and clock decent hours of screen on time. On the flipside, the MediaTek chipset clearly lacks the muscle to perform like the Snapdragon 625 does and thus dilutes the overall performance of the phone. We tried Asphalt 8 on the phone and it lagged miserably. Other light games also didn’t run smooth.

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Having said that, It manage to perform most of the normal day-to-day activities fairly well.

On the software side, it comes running on the Android 7.0 Nougat garnished with ZenUI 3.0 on the top. The new ZenUI cuts down on the animation and bloatware apps and feels more user-friendly. Asus has retained most of the Nougat features including split screen, doze, quick reply and more.

Also Read: Best Phones With 4GB RAM Under 15,000 INR

There are some unnecessary pre-installed apps which take lots of space, leaving about 23GB out of the total (32GB) storage for the end user. Although the software is rich in features and customization options, it still feels a bit overwhelming.

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We didn’t face any issue with the call quality in our area. 4G VoLTE and consequently the Reliance Jio SIM card works fine too. The Audio quality from the mono speaker is about average. The fingerprint sensor isn’t the fastest one around, but it works reasonably well.

Camera

The Zenfone 3s Max bears a 13-megapixel rear shooter with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, dual LED flash and on the front, there is an 8-megpixel camera always ready to snap. The primary camera apps are well laid out and offer several modes and options to choose from. The image quality of the rear camera is decent. The images appear fine on phone’s screen with a good gamut of colors and dynamic range. However, when zoomed in the images seems to lack details. It further becomes apparent when these images are examined on a bigger display.

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While the color reproduction capabilities of the camera are quite good, the software compromises on details to avoid noise. The quality is, however, good enough for basic social media purposes. In a low light scenario, the performance is a mixed bag as some shots turned out to be decent while others are totally messed up. The 8-megapixel selfie shooter also does a decent job with the self-portraits.

Also Read: Best Big Battery Phones In India Under 15,000 INR

Verdict

The Asus Zenfone 3s Max, on paper, should appeal to most of the budget users. However, if you are a gaming enthusiast, this is not meant for you. The phone performs like a rockstar when it comes to battery life and is worth considering for all those with basic usage requirements like managing mails, some social media engagements, some browsing and basic multimedia consumption on their phone and are looking for big battery phones under 15,000INR. But if you are someone who likes to explore and push your smartphones to its limit than keep looking.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Android 7.0 Nougat

Cons

  • Mediocre performance
  • Lower display pixel density

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