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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 first impressions: A closer look at the latest Redmi Note 5 rival

Asus’ latest smartphone looks strikingly similar to its rival, Redmi Note 5. See what else stands out in our first impressions.

tech Updated: Apr 29, 2018 16:12 IST
Marcia Sekhose
Marcia Sekhose
Hindustan Times
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 looks identical to Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 looks identical to Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5.(HT File Photo)

Asus earlier this week launched its Zenfone Max Pro M1 smartphone in India as the first product under the company’s exclusive partnership with Flipkart. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 comes in two variants. The 3GB RAM plus 32GB storage is priced at Rs 10,999 while the 4GB RAM plus 64GB storage model retails at Rs 12,999.

Keeping its specifications and price in mind, Asus’ latest budget smartphone is a direct competitor to Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5. In fact, Asus puts its smartphone against the Redmi Note 5 in various categories. To know how the smartphone actually fares and if it’s a worthy challenger, wait for our detailed review. For now, here are our first impressions of Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1.

At the first glance, you will notice that Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 looks identical to its rival, Redmi Note 5. This is just in terms of overall look and feel and the ‘FullView’ 18: 9 display up front along with minimal bezels on top and bottom. More striking are the rounded edges and the rear panel with the circular fingerprint at the centre.

The only detail that sets the two apart here is the dual-camera setup on the Zenfone Max Pro M1. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 features a single rear camera. The volume rocker, power button and SIM slot sit on the right and left sides respectively. At the bottom panel there’s a speaker grille. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review: A well-packaged smartphone

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 features a 5.99-inch full HD+ 18:9 display.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 features a 5.99-inch full HD+ 18:9 display. ( HT File Photo )

Despite the similarities in design, the smartphone is quite sturdy and offers a clean and simple look and feel. It feels a little heavy and the metal back does attract quite a lot of fingerprint smudges even during my brief usage of the smartphone.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 features a 5.99-inch full HD+ 18:9 display with a 2.5D curved glass on top. The display is quite impressive for the few intitial moments of usage. The ‘FullView’ display experience on this phone could be overshadowed with the bezels standing out. In addition to the top and bottom panels, the smartphone’s side bezels look thicker than necessary. A more indepth usage of the smartphone will give a better idea of how the display actually works.

For performance, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor under its hood. It’s still too early to judge on how the smartphone takes on heavy tasks but during my brief usage I didn’t face any lags as such.

Asus has ditched its ZenUI custom OS on this smartphone and opted for a pure Android 8.1 Oreo. The company has also ambitiously promised an upgrade to the upcoming Android P and even the next Android Q OS for Zenfone Max Pro M1 users. The stock Android experience does feel good but the smartphone still comes with its fare share of external apps. In addition to the G Suite of apps, the smartphone comes pre-installed with social apps like Instagram and Facebook.

Asus’ new budget phone comes with dual rear camera.
Asus’ new budget phone comes with dual rear camera. ( HT Photo )

I fiddled around with the camera little bit and found the UI quite aesthetically disappointing. It reminds one of those Android smartphones which were available five, six years back. The dual 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras’ prime feature is the depth effect which focuses on the subject blurring the background. The front 8-megapixel camera also comes with a ‘bokeh’ mode, but more on that on our detailed review.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is fuelled by a 5,000mAh battery which is bigger than the Redmi Note 5’s 4,000mAh battery. Asus highlighted that its smartphone takes over 2 hours to fully charge as compared to its competitor which takes more than 3 hours.

Xiaomi smartphones have been known for their strong battery performance. Asus already has an upper hand with a bigger battery size but the final result will be known after a longer usage and test of the smartphone.

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 15:58 IST

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