Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Long-Term Review: The Updates Have Come

by Jamie Inocian  February 21, 2019

A Closer Look at the Battery King After Three Months

The Taiwanese company, Asus, closed 2018 strong with the release of the newest member of their Battery King lineup — the Zenfone Max Pro M2. The device had an updated look with all of the appeal of previous generations of this device, plus updated hardware to boot. While everything looked fine on the surface, you guys let us know in the comment section of our reviews and videos that there were some issues with the device’s software. Now, that Asus has finally sent updates to address some of these issues, how does the device actually fare?

Keep a Case On At All Times!

While this is pretty much a standard for most of us in the Philippines, you’ll want to take extra care of the shell that the Max Pro M2 has. It might seem like it has a glass back in photos but it’s actually polycarbonate plastic. There is a protective coating on this device but after spending a prolonged period with this phone, we noticed a lot of hairline scratches on the device from everyday use.

The retail unit of the Max Pro M2 ships with an included case so we definitely recommend using it or finding a suitable replacement if you don’t dig the typical jelly case brand’s include with their phones.

Screen Is Hella Bright

One thing that we absolutely love about the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is just how bright the display can get. This came in handy when it was our version of “winter” in the Philippines and we were able to go out in a shirt and hoodie comfortably in the middle of the day so we spent more time outdoors. Of course, the full HD+ display lends well to the entertainment aspect of the phone; making Netflix binges while waiting in line an awesome experience.

The audio could use a helping hand though with a ton of distortion coming from the device at higher volumes. Its Max M2 definitely has a leg up in this part of the game though it is easily cured by using earphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

It’s a Plenty Capable Smartphone

Our initial review of this device was already plenty comprehensive and nothing much has changed in its number crunching capabilities. The Snapdragon 660 on this phone, coupled with the 6GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage, can handle most — if not all — the tasked we asked it to complete during our review process.

In the gaming department, it managed really well with stable frame rates in each of the titles we typically use to test out phones. You can catch our gaming review by watching the video above.

Updates! Updates! Updates!

Asus was fully aware of the issues that were plaguing the Zenfone Max Pro M2 when it first hit store shelves and, thankfully, they were able to address most of it; even adding a few more things that weren’t brought up by the public.

With the new updates that we received, the issue with app compatibility seems to have been resolved; plus, the issue with the flawed battery management seems to have been eliminated as well. Of course, we’re not completely sure that all the bugs are out but at least some of the ones that we’re aware of have been ironed out.

Android Pie is already well on its way as well so for those wondering, sit tight!

A Better Camera

One thing that we also noticed with the updates that we received with the Max Pro M2 is that the image quality has slowly been bumped up with each succeeding one. Images are now a bit sharper than when we first tried the shooters out and the AI scene detection is snappier this time around.

We still do have an issue with the Camera UI that seems to have been oversimplified. When we sat down to talk to Asus Philippines representatives, they said it was done to enhance the point and shoot experience with the phone but not even having the exposure slider to tweak your shot may have taken it a bit too far. You still can but you have to go into Pro Mode.

There’s also the issue of focus hunting. Even though we were able to choose the focal point for the shot, the phone would sometimes re-adjust a few moments later. A little annoying but sometimes you have to take your time to get that perfect Instagram shot.

There are definitely more pluses than minuses in the camera department but we certainly wish they could tweak it a bit more for people who have a little more experience or want to do more with their smartphone cameras without going into the Pro Mode.

The Battery Life Has Been Maxed Out

One of the major complaints about the Pro M2 is that there was an issue with battery management that seemed to be draining the powers of this Battery King. Now, our tests on PC Mark Benchmark’s Battery Test still hover at around the same time but we did notice that we did get more juice with the device between charges with the phone lasting nearly 48 hours before needing to plug it in.

I don’t spend hours on end on my phone playing games so I would consider myself a moderate user and that sounds pretty darn good in my book. We still wish it charged a bit faster when you do need to top it up though.

Verdict: Should You Get this Battery King?

Obviously, if you’re all about getting the most out of your money, we can’t deny that there are other options out in the market that offer the same hardware configuration for a couple of thousand bucks cheaper. The main selling point of the Max line from Asus has always been the endurance of their phones in between charges and that’s what makes this phone a winner. There are a couple of things we wish it had, i.e. a USB-C port or faster charging times, but if you play your cards right you can almost get rid of that power bank in your every day carry.

If long-lasting battery life is a priority when you choose a smartphone in the mid-range scene, then we can definitely recommend giving the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 a look. It’s what the Max line from Asus has always promised and it’s what the Max Pro M2 delivers with a bit more oomph under the hood too.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 512 GPU
  • 4GB/6GB RAM
  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD Display; 1080×2280 resolution, 88% StB, 19:9 Aspect Ratio, Gorilla Glass 6 Protection
  • 64GB of Expandable Storage
  • 4G, LTE
  • 12-megapixel f/1.8 Main Rear Camera, Sony IMX486 Sensor with 1.25um pixels, AI Scene Detection, LED Flash
  • 5-megapixel f/2.4 Secondary Rear Camera, Depth Sensor
  • 13-megapixel f/2.0 Front Camera with LED Flash
  • WiFi, Bluetooth v5.0
  • Facial Recognition and Fingerprint Scanner
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Stock Android 8.1 Oreo

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    They should have waited a little longer in improving the software that handles the battery usage and camera.Putting usb c would’nt hurt it on the long run. Releasing it as all rounder, with these flaw is not a very good situation, especially now Samsung already released their m series and if it delivers what you see in paper, Asus would have a hard time fighting back.

    my max pro m2 does ghost touch when i’m using it while charging. is there someone here with the same issue?