The specifications of the Asus Max Pro M1 on paper seemed too good to be true - the right hardware running stock Android at an unbelievable price. Asus has ditched its Zen UI and included the latest version of Android OS, 8.1.0. Although stock Android leaves no room for bloatware and unnecessary apps, Asus has added some - calculator, FM Radio, sound recorder, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. These won't be a nuisance as they are used quite often.
My review unit was the base model which had 3 GB RAM with 32 GB onboard storage. Of this, 7.1 GB was consumed by the system and 2.2 GB by the apps, leaving close to 22 GB of onboard storage for use. There is also a dedicated memory card slot along with two nano-SIM slots. It is powered by the latest Qualcomm's Snapdragon 636 chipset.
There is a 13-MP primary camera and a 5-MP secondary camera, which manage to instantly focus on the subject while blurring the background, resulting in superb bokeh images. The only thing missing is the option to adjust the background blur while capturing the image or while editing it - a setting many smartphones have these days. The camera app layout is pretty neat. There are different modes to shoot with - HDR, Auto, Portrait, Landscape, etc. The sound output of the phone is impressive, which makes it ideal for multimedia consumption. The small cardboard accessory in the box can amplify the sound further.
The 5.99-inch display with 2,160x1,080p resolution is bright and offers good sunlight legibility. The 18:9 aspect ratio of the screen has resulted in slightly bigger dimensions, but the curved edges make it easy to grip and use. The phone has a micro USB port for charging and a 5,000 mAh battery which lasts close to two days on a single charge. Apart from the fingerprint scanner at the rear, Asus also has the face unlock feature, which is nothing to write home about.
With the Zenfone Max Pro M1, Asus has broken into the big league. It packs in great features at a compelling price.