The Asus ZenFone test 3 Max: only autonomy to save him

Asus isn’t as famous as Samsung & Co manufacturer but that doesn’t mean can’t it make a name with the ZenFone range and its many variants. ZenFone 3 Max wants to have good battery life at a low price, but is this really the case in practice? He really stands ZenFone 3, the old ZenFone Max and the rest of its competitors? You’ll find everything in our full review.


  • very good battery life

  • Design and finish on the rise


  • Interface ZenUI annoying

  • fluidity problems

  • simple HD screen Definition

  • camera disappointing


ZenFone 3 Max – Release Date and price

there are several models of the phone. The first (model ZC520TL) has a very affordable price since it is located just below the 200 mark euros with a cost of €199 for 32 GB. my older brother of 5.5 inches (model ZC550KL) costs a similar amount on Amazon but for a smaller internal memory (16 GB).

If these two smartphones are called every two ZenFone 3 Max, you should know that there are different on many points: size screen, the definition, the technical configuration… In this test, we use the model ZenFone 3 Max (ZC520TL), which was presented last July and is marketed since August.

For 199 euros, you can find the Honor 5 X that has a size of 5.5 inches and also a fingerprint reader, or the Honor 5 c, which is slightly smaller (5.2 inches) but also less efficient than its predecessor.


ZenFone 3 Max – Design and finish

we don’t have to do a high-end camera and it shows fast. There is nothing wrong with that, the device isn’t ugly so far, on the contrary it is surprisingly pretty good on this point. At the front, it is all that there is more classic and if you removed the logo it could almost be taken for a One more. At the back, we find an aluminum shell that does not breathe the nobility that can be found on a high-end but that is the trick.

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the device offers a most noble appearance. © AndroidPIT

the most interesting lies at another level. The dimensions of the unit give the idea of a fairly clumsy device 149.5 x 73.7 x 8.6 mm and this impression is a little bit confirmed once the camera in your hand but you get used quickly. You should know that we have inside a 4130 mAh battery, so it is obvious that we cannot get a remarkable finesse. In purely aesthetic terms, it is a shame to have a ratio size of screen/size of the phone as low (67.7%), but it was probably difficult for Asus to do otherwise.

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on the left side, we find a space for SIM cards / microSD card. © AndroidPIT

I find a little bit unfortunate that the transition between the shell and the ends dedicated to antennas is also obvious, both visually and in touch. That said, overall the feel is nice and for a camera of this price is quite satisfying. Slices are large but gray embellishes table and bracket shell is smooth thanks to a well thought curve. To the touch, we can feel the difference between the range and the layer of glass, but it’s not embarrassing.

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on the right, we find the volume keys and the power button. © AndroidPIT

as usual, Asus doesn’t offer us physical on the device key if the volume keys and the power button, all located on the right edge of the device. Left, we only have the location for SIM cards and microSD. It’s the same configuration as on the ZenFone 3: you can either use two SIM cards, or a SIM card with a microSD card.

Unlike the reader of fingerprints of the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Max is more classic. It is not the fastest, but it has the merit to function properly, which is not the case of all fingerprint readers. The sensor of the camera, it is very well integrated into the shell and does not exceed.

In short, we find a smartphone rather successful design. The metal on the case and the glass at the front gives it some air of nobility that can work to my advantage.


ZenFone 3 Max – screen

in our test, we had the ZC520TL model that offers a 5.2-inch display. The other model, the ZC553KL, offers him a 5.5 inch screen. As noted in the introduction, this device is intended to have good battery life so he’s missing out on a too advanced definition which would consume too much energy. ASUS use on this screen IPS LCD a definition 720 x 1280, the pixel density is 282 pixels per inch. In comparison, the previous model offered a density of 267 ppp for a same definition pixels and a superior screen size (5.5 inches).

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low definition allows to save more battery. © AndroidPIT

in theory, this screen is not exceptional, but in practice this low definition is not a big problem. Of course, everything depends on your usage, but if you are interested in a camera in this class you probably not too demanding expectations.

The maximum brightness is high enough to be able to use it in almost all light conditions. The screen has some weaknesses and tend to slightly pull the yellow, but it is not possible to configure anything. However ill is possible to place a blue filter to avoid the fatigue of the eyes. It is neither more nor less than a customizable night on 5 levels mode, higher the level and the Blue will be filtered, so more your screen will be yellowed.

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you can set up a night mode (the result is not visible on the screenshot). © ANDROIDPIT

in summary, we have here an acceptable screen, little energy and suitable for “simple” phone use. If you are lover of virtual reality you can go your way.


ZenFone 3 Max – software Interface

here is the biggest weakness of the phone. I have nothing against the custom interfaces, but Asus here exaggerates. As my colleague Pierre said in my test of the ZenFone 3: ZenUI still has a long way to go.

We find Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0 interface. It is a rather bad name because it does everything except make us zen. The menus have graphics worthy of Windows in safe mode, the quick access bar show the big round buttons in gray, blue or green, and we find of course the bloatware that can be disabled but not removed.

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here’s what ZenUI looks like. © ANDROIDPIT

it is normal that a manufacturer wants to put its own applications in its devices, but he also allows himself to install more, we end up with impossible to uninstall applications. Among them we can quote ZenCircle from Asus or even Facebook. Of course, they return regularly in notifications in case you have forgotten that they are there. The system lacks fluidity at times, the opening of windows or applications takes sometimes 2 or 3 seconds, this can be frustrating at times.

The interface offers some interesting features, for example to access the widgets directly from the applications menu, or access many customization options with a long press on the screen, but it’s still a little messy.


ZenFone 3 Max – performance

the ZenFone 3 Max uses a MediaTek MT6737M quadricore processor clocked at a maximum frequency of 1.25 GHz. To assist, we find the graphics chip Mali-T720 MP2 Mrs as well as 2 GB of RAM for the 16 GB model, and 3 GB of RAM pour model 32 GB. One you can see at the sight of these technical features, so don’t expect extraordinary performance.

Every day, I encountered several problems, but I can’t tell if they are related to performance, the ZenUI interface or the mixture of the two. Whatever it is, during the first launch of the phone the screen froze for about 10 minutes. Downturns are legion: reaction of the screen, launch applications, General responsiveness of the system… Rest assured, they are very short and you are never to wait several seconds that something is happening on the screen, but we can clearly see them.

Regarding communications, the device supports all the available bands so you shouldn’t have a problem with your operator. As explained above, you can use two SIM cards at the same time but it comes to DSS (Dual Sim standby): both can receive calls but when you are in communication with one, the other is disabled during the call.

The potential in video games is somewhat limited. Resource hungry games work but show-even when signs of shortness of breath. The definition of screen is not really to go either, it seems pretty obvious that this smartphone is not optimized for this type of function.

Below you will find the score of the smartphone on benchmarks:

  • Geekbench 4.0 single-core: 567

  • Geekbench 4.0 multi-core: 1501

  • PCMark Work Performance: 2541

  • Google Octane: 2712

  • 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited 2.0: 3765


ZenFone 3 Max – sound quality

like the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Max uses a mono speaker, which is this time located at the rear , the logo below. Strange idea since the release of my is a little bit clogged when you hold your device in hand or if you put it back on a table.

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the unique speaker is located at the bottom of the unit, under the logo. © AndroidPIT

If you want to use your smartphone to set the mood in the evening, you can get another because the audio potential of the device is very limited at this level. High volume, he crachouille and can be unpleasant, as the bass you can simply forget it. However, you can optimize the sound somewhat using software options.

With a headphone jack, the rendering is much higher. Not perfect, of course, but enough for a user who is not too demanding, that is, the target audience of this smartphone.

In terms of communication, it is rather good and clear enough. A slightly higher volume would have been a plus but it won’t be a big problem on a daily basis.


ZenFone 3 Max – camera

we find forward a goal of 13 megapixels with Aperture f/2.2.  The rear we find a 5 megapixel lens at the front with a f/2.0 aperture. This configuration is quite strange because my predecessor had him also 13 mpx in front but with a f/2.0, as the flash opening dual led it simply disappeared.

The application of the camera is intuitive and offers a number of settings. For example, you can set the machine to spend in burst mode, change the quality of the video recordings (640 x 480 or 1280 x 720, or simply set more professional preferences such as ISO or white balance. [])

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the camera of the phone does not exceed an inch. © AndroidPIT

the update is faster than on the previous model but it is a pity that Asus offers here a most advanced autofocus technology, for example a focus automatic laser or phase detection.

As all devices in this range, do not expect wonders in bad light conditions, the noise is present and this may upset those who have few expectations of their camera. That said, when the Sun (or at least the light) is the appointment, we come to enough average results but the camera really has a problem with the management of the light. The result is often disappointing, as you can see in the pictures below. Photography enthusiasts will hardly appreciate this device.

You can get an idea with the pictures below.

At the front, the result is quite acceptable results. It’s OK for selfies but we know better, especially when lighting conditions are not optimal.


ZenFone 3 Max – autonomy

discussed repeatedly: the autonomy of this smartphone is supposed to be its main feature. Sacrifices have been made on the definition and design in order to place a 4130 mAh battery, which is a considerable capacity for a camera in this class.

On paper, if ad very promising and in practice it actually is. The smartphone is one of the more autonomous devices of the middle range and, on this point, is perfectly able to compete with the high-end devices (although they have a low battery).

on benchmarks, the smartphone got the high score of 10:49 with the brightness around 75%

you should be able to go two days without too many problems in terms of fairly intensive use, or even 3 If you have a moderate use (discussions on WhatsApp from time to time, surfing on the Internet, listen to music on Spotify on the trip home (, etc). As a whole, the smartphone is for undemanding users wishing to first of all a good autonomy. Unfortunately, the device is not compatible with a quick charging system, which is regrettable with a big battery. Other hand, obviously quick reloading is overall a feature of smartphones more high-end than this device here.

final verdict

Asus promised us a monster of autonomy and this is indeed what he has to offer with this device. Thanks to a large battery of 4130 mAh, your device can go 2 days without too many problems. It took to make concessions to achieve this result: the definition of screen is not great and the unit is very thick.

autonomy alone can justify the price of 200 euros? The camera of the phone is acceptable (at least for a smartphone in this range), performance is far from being impressive either, but we had no great expectations. The big disappointment of this unit, for me, is ZenUI that night really forward to use. That said, it’s a matter of taste and if you like this interface, you enjoy then maybe this smartphone.

in the same price range, you can go look at the Moto G4 or Honor 5 c / 5 X . Certainly, they are not as interesting as this ZenFone 3 Max autonomy but have other advantages that are worth a glance.


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