ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Unboxing, Initial Review: Big Battery, High Fashion

by John Nieves  September 7, 2016

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We’ve been getting multiple requests to unbox and review the most affordable smartphone in the Zenfone 3 family of ASUS, and finally we can give you what you’ve been asking for. A review unit for the Zenfone 3 Max just landed in Unbox HQ, and that means only one thing: unboxing! Today we’ll be taking a look at the affordable, big batteried phone of ASUS to see for ourselves just how far the line has gone. Before that, the specs:

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max specs

  • 1.5GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6737T processor
  • Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.2-inch HD IPS display, 2.5D glass, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 32GB of expandable storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0, ZenUI 3.0
  • 4100mAh battery

Read our other Zenfone 3 Unboxings:

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Packaging and contents

ASUS has switched up the packaging of their phones for the Zenfone 3 and the Zenfone 3 Ultra, and that holds true for the Zenfone 3 Max. You get a plainer looking box than the first generation Zenfone Max, with a carton sleeve protecting the phone inside.

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Once you tear open the packaging, you’ll see the phone itself, as well as documentation for it, the charger, USB cable, USB OTG adapter, a pair of headphones and spare silicone tips, as well as the SIM ejector.

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Initial impressions: Still has a big battery but is stylish as heck

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Zenfone 3 Max – we managed to take a peek at it a few days after it was announced in Vietnam, and we were impressed by what we saw. That initial impression still holds true today now that we have our own review unit in our hands. Despite being the most affordable phone in the Zenfone 3 lineup, the Zenfone 3 Max doesn’t feel like a cheap phone – it uses a lot of metal in its construction, and has excellent build quality.

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There’s plenty of metal in the Zenfone 3 Max’s body, though ASUS still used two strips of plastic on the top and bottom part of the phone for the antennas. The phone sports a gentle curve on the back, along with rounded corners to make it easier to use one handed. Of course, the smaller 5.2-inch screen size does help somewhat. Speaking of the display, the phone uses an HD IPS panel with 2.5D glass layered on top. While the PPI is a little low, the smaller size of the display mitigates some of the effects of the lower resolution panel.

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Both the volume and power keys are located on the right side of the phone, and is easily accessible even if you’re holding the phone one-handed. The device uses a hybrid nano SIM/microSD slot located on the left side. The 3.5mm audio jack and USB port are located on top and bottom, respectively.

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The rear of the phone holds the 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and the fingerprint scanner. The camera module sits flush against the body of the phone, which isn’t the case with its more expensive brothers. The fingerprint scanner itself is responsive and easy to use, though there’s a noticeable delay when you’re unlocking the phone from sleep.

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Overall thickness of the Zenfone 3 Max is 8.6mm but because of the curved body, it doesn’t feel too chunky. Now one of the biggest changes in the Zenfone 3 Max over the previous version is the battery – there’s just 4100mAh in the metal body of the phone, which is 900mAh less than the one in the original. That’s quite a big chunk of battery missing, which is worrisome considering battery endurance was one of the main selling points of the original device. Hopefully the new hardware in the Zenfone 3 Max is more than enough to counter that.

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Read: ASUS Zenfone Max review

The Zenfone 3 Max is powered by MediaTek’s quad-core MT6737T processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. It’s the first time we’ve encountered the chipset, and we’re quite curious to see what it is capable of. Graphics is handled by a Mali-T720 MP2 GPU, which is surprisingly capable in gaming. The phone handled both Final Fantasy Mobius and Asphalt 8 nicely. While there were lag spots here and there, the GPU performed better than the supposedly superior Cherry Mobile M1.

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That’s pretty much it for this initial review for the Zenfone 3 Max. We’ll be running PCMark’s battery benchmark as soon as possible on this phone so you can watch out later on to see just how far the Zenfone 3 Max can go on a single charge. The Zenfone 3 Max is available to buy now, priced at Php 8,995.

Comments (15)

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    Sa video (prototype), the border starts at the edge (style HTC). Sa actual units, meron slight border sa frame, then another small black border. So more or less, same lang, mas hindi halata, and nicer looking…

    One of the biggest turn-off nung nakita ko ang prototype ng device is yung really large bezels. Thankfully, wala na yun sa final.

    I suggest you guys put that on the final review para if may katulad ko na di nagustuhan yung prototype, at least alam nila na wala na yun.

    Spoiler: it’s battery is stellar but is not on par with the Zenfone 3 which despite having just 3,000 mAh of juice, last longer. Guess, Snapdragon 625 really is a thriftier CPU.

    Another downside, is the 2.5d curved glass, it does looks classy but I doubt it’s corning gorilla, since it’s not being touted as such. And the curved sides will cause the dreaded halo effect (not sticking on the sides) if you use a tempered glass.

    That said, it’s way better looking than the first gen Max, and can go toe-to-toe with the Vivo V3, and OPPO f1s.