“The ASUS ZenFone Max M2 could be a notable contender in the budget segment”

Following the success of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 (review), ASUS unveiled a toned-down variant of the device in the form of the Zenfone Max M1 (review). The device was underwhelming in comparison, and didn’t enjoy the same success as the Max Pro M1. ASUS has now launched the ZenFone Max Pro M2 in India, and this time, is releasing the Max M2 alongside. The device features decent specifications for its price, and will go head to head with the Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro (review). Here’s my first impressions of the smartphone, and a look inside its retail box.

ASUS ZenFone Max M2_11The ZenFone Max M2 comes in a box identical to its Pro variant. A blue sheath right on top holds a clear case, SIM ejector tool, warranty information and user guide. The phone is placed beneath, and at the very bottom, you’ll find a 5V 2A wall charger along with a micro-USB cable. As with the Pro M2, you don’t get any headphones in the box.

The ZenFone Max M2 borrows most of its physical features from the ZenFone Max Pro M1. You get a metal-bodied device with a matte finish, and a slim profile measuring 7.7mm. The back panel features vertically-aligned dual cameras with an LED flash underneath. In the middle, there’s a fingerprint sensor followed by an ASUS logo. The port and button placements are standard – power button and volume rocker on the right, ejectable SIM card tray (dual nano-SIM + microSD slots) on the left, 3.5mm audio jack on top, and loudspeaker and micro-USB port at the bottom. 

You get a 6.26-inch 19:9 display – same as the Pro M2 – but the resolution has been downgraded to HD+. There’s a notch at the top, albeit a wider one than the Pro M2, and this houses the f/2.0 8MP front camera, LED flash and sensors. The front camera also offers a face unlock function. The display on the ZenFone Max M2 offers good brightness levels and viewing angles, but colours seem to be a bit washed out.

The rear cameras consist of a 13MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, paired with a 2MP depth sensor. The camera is capable of shooting video in 4K. Portrait mode is available for both the front and rear cameras. The few images I snapped with the device were crisp and detailed, with slighty saturated colours. 

Powering the device is a Snapdragon 632 chipset, and the available configurations include 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and 4GB RAM + 64GB storage. I had the former for review, and there was approximately 28GB available out of the box. The aforementioned microSD card slot supports expansion up to 2TB. The Max M2 features a large 4,000mAh battery, but like the Pro variant, doesn’t offer fast charging. 

ASUS ZenFone Max M2_1

The software is a mostly stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo, a noticeable change from the Max M1, which featured ZenUI. You get a few pre-installed apps like Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, but these can be deleted. 

Going by my first impressions alone, the ASUS ZenFone Max M2 seems like a well-built device that isn’t lacking in any department. I’ll be putting it through more rigorous testing during the coming week to see how it holds up in day to day usage.