Launched alongside the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser in Vietnam, the ZenFone 3 Max is yet another budget phone with a rather attractive calling card. This time around, the promise is a battery that lasts for days, with the option to charge another mobile device using the Max’s reverse charging mode.

And with a 4,100mAh cell, it would be fooling to bet against the new Max—even though we haven’t put a retail unit through its paces yet.

The ZenFone 3 Max has also been redesigned from the ground up for 2016, so the removable plastic back of last year’s Max is no longer part of the equation. Ditto for the bulk and unnecessary length that undermined the original’s appeal to the average consumer. Metal (or a similar material) wraps the front, back, and sides of the phone.


ASUS ZenFone Max (left) and ZenFone 3 Max (right)

It must be said, however, the ZenFone 3 Max, despite the contrast in outward appearance, feels more like an update than an upgrade. And that’s largely due to the reduced battery capacity (from 5,000mAh), which should impact usage time significantly.

Without a bigger-than-big battery, the ZenFone 3 Max doesn’t have anything that makes it stand out like last year’s model. Sure, on paper, the fingerprint reader on the back of the device is a nice addition, but it doesn’t work as well as it should. The rest of the specs are either mild improvements or holdovers from the previous year, depending on what you’re looking at.


The phone is priced at the equivalent of $200, and will likely be available sometime in August. At that price, we’d rather fork out a bit more for the ZenFone 3 or ZenFone 3 Laser—either one is a nicer alternative than this phone. The Flash Plus 2 is also a worthy alternative; it may cost less, too.

For more about the ASUS ZenFone 3 Max, checkout the video embedded on this post, if you haven’t already.



The ZenFone 3 Max (right) has on-screen buttons, while the ZenFone 3 Laser (left) makes use of capacitive ones


The ZenFone 3 Max (left) has a squarish fingerprint reader

ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.5-inch review