[Review] Asus Zenfone Max ZC550KL.

Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550KL) is specifically catered for those who need a phone which can last all day long. In fact, this device can even go up to 2 or even 3 days depending on how intense you use it. Yes, the key highlight of this device is none other than its gigantic 5000 mAh battery. We’ve got one unit for review purpose and finally, it is time for us to say a few words about this classy looking device.  

Key spec of Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550KL) :
  • Qualcomm MSM8916 QuadCore 1.2GHz processor with Adreno 306 GPU.
  • 16 GB internal storage and 2 GB RAM (supports Micro SD card up to 64 GB).
  • Dual SIM, both supports LTE.
  • 5.5-inch HD display (720p) with Gorilla Glass 4.
  • 13 Megapixel main camera with dual LED flash and laser auto focus. 5 Megapixel front (selfie) camera.
  • 5000 mAh battery.
UNBOXING

As usual, you will get a charger, USB cable, warranty card and manual. There is no earphone inside the box. Asus Malaysia has given USB On-the-go cable (USB OTG) where you can use it to connect your pendrive, hard disk, keyboard or mouse. Of course, the main purpose of this USB OTG is for you to use your Zenfone Max as a power bank. Yes, you can make use of the 5000 mAh battery to charge other devices.

 

EXTERIOR

The device definitely has a classy look, with the gold finishing at the sides and leather look back cover. One of the things that we like about Asus is, their plastic panels doesn’t look plastic if you know what we mean. For example the back cover, from far it actually looks like a real leather.

On the top of the device, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The power button and volume rockers are at the right. There is nothing on the left side and at the bottom, you will find the microphone and micro USB port. The front camera is 5 Megapixel and main (rear) camera is 13 Megapixel. There is a dual LED flash and laser beam at the back, just next to the camera.

The speaker is also at the back. It is a single (mono) speaker. Once you open the back case, you will see the battery but it is non-removable. There are 2 SIM card slots and 1 micro SD card slot.

The back cover is quite solid yet easy to remove. We didn’t struggle much to remove it, probably because of its design where it is not attached to the sides like how it is on Zenfone 2 etc.

 

BASICS

There is nothing much to say about the basics such as call quality, SMS, MMS etc. Everything is fine. The device is using Zen UI which is a matter of like or hate. We are used to it by now and we enjoy using it. There are some minor glitch here and there but these are due to the software. Hopefully the upcoming software update can fix these.

The device supports 2 SIM cards and both are LTE capable. The notification light in the Asus Zenfone Max has shrinked a lot compared to Zenfone 2. It is very tiny (just a d0t) and you will miss notifications if you place your device a little far from your sight e.g. on the table.

 

MULTIMEDIA , SPEAKER  & DISPLAY

As the device comes with a mammoth 5000 mAh battery, we definitely tend to watch videos and listen to music more than usual. Speaking of music, the speaker of this device is loud enough. However, it tend to distort at high volume. If you are on headphones, the music is very nice but it also depends on your headphone’s quality.

Display is very good. It is only a HD (720p) display but we don’t see much difference if we compare with a full HD (1080p) display. It is bright, sharp and vivid. Since it is Android, you will not have issues playing any kind of video. The default app will not be able to do so but with 3rd party app, you can watch videos in just any format.

 

CAMERA

Photos and videos are good in a properly lit condition. However in low light condition or indoor, the photos and videos are not up to our expectation. They are not bad but we felt they could have been better. Well, generally in Asus smartphones, the camera depends very much on the software. So we hope that the quality will be better when Asus releases an update for this device.

 

BATTERY LIFE

The battery is definitely impressive. We were on the phone most of the time, accessing websites, Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Instagram etc and the battery could last for 2 days (to be exact, 50 hours and 20 minutes). We don’t play games but we believe our usage is quite a lot. We also have 5 emails set up on this device with immediate notification (or at least every 15 minutes intervals). Other than that we are connected to all kind of social networks. We took several photos and also about 2 short videos to test the camera quality during this time.

If you feel that 2 days is not impressive enough, just to let you know that we’ve tried a similar usage pattern on many other devices and they only lasted for about 20 hours max.

Now, the disappointing part about the battery is when it comes to charging. Somehow, the charger given doesn’t seem to support quick charge. It took us 5 hours to charge the device from 1% to 100%. That is just too long.

 

CONCLUSION

As we’ve said, the highlight of this device is the battery life which can last even up to 3 or 4 days on average use. For someone who is always charging their phone and fed up carrying a power bank everywhere, the Asus Zenfone Max can be a very good choice. The price of this device is RM 899 which is reasonable we believe. Although the display is just HD (720p), practically speaking we don’t see this as an issue because we can hardly feel any difference if we compare with a 1080p display.

The only thing that could have been better is the charger which is charging way too slow. FIVE hours of charging from empty to full is ridiculous.

Our score for Asus Zenfone Max (ZC550KL)

Summary

86.3%
  • Design / Outlook (90%)
  • Features (85%)
  • Camera (84%)
  • Software / UI (80%)
  • Battery Life (92.5%)
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