ASUS ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) offers a well-rounded smartphone experience coupled with premium design, while continuing the focus on battery life. Is ASUS third time lucky with the Max? Let’s find out!


A technology columnist & a digital consultant, he quit Microsoft in 2011 lớn go independent and write more, watch a lot of movies, and travel randomly.

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Like the entire ZenFone lineup, the ASUS ZenFone 3 is a decent smartphone. However, even with the premium pitch, there’s no stvà out factor running for it. It looks good on paper, but the real-world performance is limited – and would only meet the demands of less discerning users.

ASUS has a crowded ZenFone line-up, but the company buckets its offerings in well-rounded categories. Like the ZenFone Max, with a focus on marahạn hẹp battery life.

However, since last year with the launch of ZenFone 3 portfolio, the Taiwanese company has upped the ante in kiến thiết and positioning & instead of focusing on hardware specifications, aims to lớn bring premium experience to lớn its users. That also means that most of their lakiểm tra phones are not exactly run-of-the-mill value-for-money devices, but differentiate themselves in design, camera, battery life, etc.

ASUS launched the first ZenFone Max in năm ngoái, and while it delivered on its USP of long battery life, it brought nothing else to the table. The follow-up version had more memory và faster processor, but both devices were chunky plastic smartphones that didn’t impress many.

However, the ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) aims to change that with a well-rounded smartphone experience coupled with premium design, while continuing the focus on battery life. Is ASUS third time lucky with the Max? Let’s find out.



ASUS has finally brought an all-metal thiết kế to the ZenFone series, later than when most people would’ve sầu liked. Even entry-cấp độ budget smartphones in 2016 boasted of an all-metal design. Better late than never, though. There’s nothing extraordinary about the kiến thiết, but neither is it run-of-the-mill.

The homogenous thiết kế language of the ZenFone series is apparent, a premium one at that, bringing the flagship kiến thiết khổng lồ the budget điện thoại thông minh. It is well-built and the aluminum chassis gives it a solid feel. It’s not very slippery, yet, since it is an all-metal phone, you’d have to lớn get used khổng lồ the smoothness and take care of the phone slipping out of the h&.


Unlike the original ZenFone Max, this one is not a brichồng & neither does it sport big bezels (it could’ve sầu had even smaller bezels though, on top & bottom) và boasts of a pretty good 73 per cent screen-to-toàn thân ratio. It’s not very slim at 8.33mm, and at 175 grams, it’s not the lighdemo smartphone out there. Yet it is one of the lighter phones lớn pachồng a big battery & a large display, and you wouldn’t feel the heft lugging it around. Also, the gradual curves & rounded corners make it a very comfortable & ergonomic phone to lớn hold, & it is easily pocketable unless you can’t stvà larger smartphones.


The ZenFone 3 Max sports a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display with a px mật độ trùng lặp từ khóa of 401 ppi. The display is sharp and the 400 nits brightness is very good, offering great sunlight visibility.

The contrast ratio is not exceptional though, and if you’re a người of vibrant, & even over-saturated AMOLED displays, lượt thích I am, this one is just average. Viewing angles on the phone are, however, quite good. There is a little color shift when viewing it from extreme angles, but that’s the case with most smartphones.


Powered by a 1.4Ghz Qualcomilimet SnapLong 430 processor paired with 3GB of RAM, the ZenFone 3 Max chugs along nicely while multitasking offering a smooth Android experience.

However, if you bao tay the hardware, the phone tends lớn stutter a bit. You’d be unable khổng lồ play graphic-intensive sầu games at maxed-out settings & experience frequent frame-drops. Interestingly, it never gets too hot to handle even when the performance is stretched to its modest limits. However, you’d experience some lag in navigation & switching between apps in that case.

Clearly, the device is geared towards casual smartphone users – và that is where it excels. However, I think the company could squeeze some extra juice from its internals with better software optimization. Some other phones in the market tend to offer smoother experience with similar hardware specifications.

Of course, the pièce de résistance of the ZenFone 3 Max is its long battery life. There has been a drop in the battery capathành phố of the Max this time around (khổng lồ go away from that chunky size), however, the 4100 mAh battery – with the hardware it packs and the software optimizations that ASUS has done – still manages lớn offer phenomenal battery life. With basic lớn moderate usage, I was easily able to lớn get two days battery life on the phone, which is quite good. You can stretch that, và coupled with power saving features, can even squeeze more than that!


The ZenFone 3 Max comes with 32GB of internal memory, further expandable by up lớn 128GB via a microSD card slot. The dual SIM smartphones features a hybrid slot, so you can either use the second SIM or the microSD card, but not both.

The phone supports reverse charging, and can be used to charge other devices via OTG. There’s a bundled OTG adapter in the box. For a điện thoại thông minh with a focus on battery life, it’s a shame that it doesn’t tư vấn fast charging. It ships with a regular charger, which takes painfully long khổng lồ charge the big battery completely.

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The fingerprint scanner can be used khổng lồ answer incoming calls, launch the camera app, or take a picture, but is not quick enough. While the recognition is just fine, the authentication is a tad slow or requires slight pressure of the finger. Also, the capacitive sầu keys on the front are not backlit. Of course, with impulse you get used to tapping the finger or thumb at the right place but sometimes it gets a tad annoying, especially in the dark or when you’re not holding the phone as you vì chưng usually.


The ZenFone 3 Max sports a 16-megapx rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus & laser auto-focus, Electronic Image Stabilization for shooting videos, and dual-LED flash.

Outdoors in daylight, the camera performs very well và takes sharp pictures with good details. The color reproduction is mostly accurate. Although the pictures are generally noise-không tính tiền, zooming them reveals pixilation which is more pronounced when I viewed them on a 40-inch display. For most people though, who just nói qua photos on social truyền thông, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Indoors or in low-light conditions, the night mode is a mixed bag. Some of the shots give great results, better than tự động hóa mode, however, several times, they’d kết thúc up very noisy with messed up metering.

The camera focusses nicely và quickly, although there is a definite shutter lag và often I’d kết thúc up with a blurry pholớn when I was attempting lớn take a shot of a moving subject.

On the front, there is an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture that manages khổng lồ clichồng detailed selfies even in tricky lighting.

The camera phầm mềm on the Zenfone 3 Max is the same as on the company’s flagship ZenFone 3 smartphone. While the options are great khổng lồ tinker around, including a manual mode, the camera on the ZenFone 3 Max is just above sầu average.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box with the new version of the company’s proprietary ZenUI 3.0 on top of it. Virtually, every nook và corner of the Android experience gets a fresh coat of paint.

Right up, that’s a good thing. The older versions of ZenUI were plagued with bloatware and gimmicky UI elements that marred the overall user experience. The lathử nghiệm version is a complete makeover, and offers a clean UI with subtle animations. There are several nifty utilities, but there’s still a plethora of ASUS-branded apps that I’ve sầu hardly seen anyone using really. Unfortunately, only a few of these can be uninstalled và while you can disable most others, they still occupy storage space on your phone.

ZenUI 3.0 features an phầm mềm drawer, & there’s a built-in search functionality. You can swipe down the screen và search the Web or your apps & contacts, và view your frequently used apps. There’s an all-new Theme Store from which users can download không lấy phí as well as paid themes, wallpapers, icons, và ringtones to lớn customize their điện thoại thông minh.

One of the neat features of the ZenUI is ZenMotion which allows configuring a variety of touch và motion gestures lượt thích double tap lớn wake or flipping the phone when you get an incoming Hotline khổng lồ enable silent mode. It also allows you to enable the one-handed mode that shrinks the display khổng lồ one corner of the screen for easy, one-handed usage when you’re on the move.

Of course, the most useful app from the entire ZenUI suite is the di động Manager. With slichồng animations và intuitive sầu UI, the phầm mềm offers quiông chồng ways lớn không tính phí RAM and storage space, & manage apps as well as app permissions. It’s a sort of one-stop destination for managing your phone’s performance.

The lathử nghiệm version of ZenUI on the ZenFone 3 is fluid and aims khổng lồ offer stochồng Android-lượt thích experience while adding additional functionalities. And, it succeeds in doing that. It’s one of the better UIs out there in terms of ease of use & feels polished. Better internals would’ve sầu made it even smoother on the ZenFone 3 Max. But the excess of bloatware is disappointing, và shows that the company has learnt nothing from similar criticism in the past.


Operating SystemAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0
Display5.5-inch Full HD (19đôi mươi x 1080) IPS
Processor1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm SnapLong 430
Internal Storage32GB; expandable up to lớn 128GB with microSD card
Rear Camera16MP | f/2.0 aperture | Dual-LED flash
Front Camera8MP. | f/2.2 aperture | 84-degree wide-angle lens
Battery4100 mAh
Dimensions151.4 x 76.24 x 8.3mm
Weight175 grams

The ZenFone 3 Max aims khổng lồ pimp up the Max range with a premium design. It succeeds there, but there’s little else.
Like the entire ZenFone lineup, the ASUS ZenFone 3 is a decent điện thoại thông minh. However, even with the premium pitch, there’s no stvà out factor running for it. It looks good on paper, but the real-world performance is limited – và would only meet the demands of less discerning users. Yes, there’s the fantastic battery life, và that’s the sole reason one should go for this device. Else, even looking within, there are better ZenFone siblings around.

ASUS isn’t officially selling the ZenFone 3 Max in the US, but in India, the device is priced at ₹17,999 ($265) – a tad higher than what everyone would’ve sầu liked. At this price, it feels a little out of place. What vì you think of the ZenFone 3 Max, & vị you plan to buy one? Let us know your views in the comments below!