• Ergonomic form factor
• Very loud speaker
• Long-lasting battery life
• Decent camera performance
• Great browsing experience
• Speedy fingerprint sensor
• Mediocre performance
• Slow charging
Is it all about battery? Yes, it is. I’m talking about Asus Zenfone 3S Max, and it has a massive battery capacity of 5000mAh.
But, does a smartphone is all about battery? No, for that we have power banks.
And that’s how we start the review of Asus Zenfone 3S Max. A smartphone is not all about a single feature, that one point most of the brands have to understand. You can’t please the Indian customers by incorporating a 20MP selfie camera, a 5000mAh battery, an Octa-core processor or a Quad microphone set-up. A smartphone is again a blend of all the specifications, which at last deliver you an unblemished user experience. And that has to be understood by every smartphone brand trying to enter or already existing in the smartphone industry.
So, if we talk about Asus Zenfone 3S Max, what’s so max about the smartphone? Only the battery, that’s all. Nothing else on the smartphone is Max.
Look and Feel
Asus Zenfone 3S Max looks good. The unibody metal design with rounded edges makes it look chic. However, it doesn’t look premium or it doesn’t look so great that I would gaze the smartphone for seconds.
Well, even if the design does not look so great, the smartphone still sits really well in the palm of your hand. It’s easy to hold and easy to function with single hand. I loved that fact that I could use the smartphone so easily with a single hand, which is not common in other smartphones these days.
The 2.5d contoured glass is slimy and does not receive scratches instantly. Camera and sensor placement is good, although the proximity sensor works standard, the ambient light sensor works swiftly.
Fingerprint scanner and loudspeaker position is great, as one might feel unusual using a fingerprint scanner placement at the rear. Also, the volume rocker and power button position on right side of the smartphone gets the job done well.
On the rear, there is a camera and dual tone LED flash. Rear panel does not receive scratches which is again great.
I would rate the Asus Zenfone 3S Max 9/10. Only if Asus has used the latest type-C port for charging, the rating of the smartphone had been 10/10.
Software and Interface
The Zenfone 3S Max is running on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, which is the latest Android version till date. There is an Asus skin on top which offers some great customization options which generally are not available on the regular Android interface.
The ZenUI is one the best skins I’ve used, however there is bloatware once again. Just like all the other Asus Zenfone devices, Zenfone 3S Max is also packed with enough bloatware to make your smartphone look second-hand even if it is not. Some of the applications are rarely useful while the others are never useful.
Asus Zenfone 3S Max is swift in unlocking the device via the fingerprint sensor. You can scroll the content over the internet without facing any issues. And the camera user interface with tons of camera features is also good. On the other hand, the moment you use the smartphone for basic feature like calling, you’ll realise that the Phone dialling interface is not speedy. It lags a couple of time when you make phone calls and the networks are also not very strong.
For all those who love selfies, Asus Zenfone 3S Max packs a good front facing camera that can capture great selfies. Images have good amount of detailing in them and the colors are also pretty accurate. Also the beauty mode makes the pictures look realistic along with improving your selfies. The only downside that I noted on the front camera is the images are inclined towards a warmer skin tone. Even if the lighting conditions are proper, the images captured are a little on the warmer side.
The rear camera on the other hand captures decent quality photos. Just like the front camera it captures good amount of details in the photographs and re colors are also very accurate. Again, the warmer tone does affect the photographs a little. Only when the lighting conditions are bright, Zenfone 3S Max captures good photographs, low light photography on the other hand is below average. In low light, the colors are not accurate, there is too much of noise that removes all the details of the subject.
The Asus Zenfone 3S Max packs a 5000mAh battery that delivers enough juice for more than a day of usage. And its only when I rarely used the device. The smartphone was only being used as a hotspot and the Zenfone 3S Max gave me a battery life of 1.5days.
When I used the smartphone as a hardcore user, the Zenfone 3S Max lasted an entire day, and the results were not impressive. What I was expecting from the Zenfone 3S Max is that it could at-least deliver more than 2 days of battery life. It doesn’t even touched that mark, which is terrible.
Also, there is no fast charge available on the Zenfone 3S Max, and the charger packed with the smartphone charges the smartphone in nearly 4 hours, another disappointment.
Finally the question arises whether you should buy Asus Zenfone 3S Max or not? I really don’t know why a customer would spend 14K on a smartphone that is only a powerbank. Powerbanks are already available in market, a smartphone on the other hand is something else. There are flaws in the Zenfone 3S Max and it’s not the best value for money. You can look for the other options available in market like Lenovo Vibe K5 Note, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Huawei Honor 6X.