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ASUS ZenFone 3 Max hands-on



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 Max Plus Unboxing and Hands-On

Near-borderless with a large battery!



It took a while, but we finally have ASUS’ first-ever near-borderless smartphone. And it’s not just a pretty face; it’s got a hefty battery and a pair of cameras at the back, too. Is there any more to the ZenFone Max Plus? Find out in our unboxing and hands-on video.

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ASUS ZenFone Max Plus Hands-on

ASUS’ first 18:9 near-borderless phone



Phones with 18:9 displays became the norm last year, and it wasn’t a premium feature that’s exclusive to flagship devices. We’ve seen a few midrange near-borderless phones, and here’s another one from ASUS.

If you find the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus familiar, it’s because it’s virtually the same phone as the Pegasus 4S which was launched exclusively in China last November and landed in Russia shortly after.

Another factor that will make you think that you already saw the phone before is its identical design to its smaller sibling — the ZenFone 4 Max. Basically, the ZenFone Max Plus is a taller and more modern-looking variant of the ZenFone Max family.

What makes this phone modern is its 5.7-inch Full HD+ panel. This is ASUS’ first phone with an 18:9 display or Full View as ASUS calls it. While it’s not as edge-to-edge or borderless as premium phones, the taller display gives the phone a fresh trait among budget smartphones.

On the right are the physical keys of the phone: a long button for volume up/down and a shorter one for power/screen lock. Both have the concentric circle pattern for texture, but we wish the power button were more distinct.

At the bottom are the good old micro-USB port and symmetrical holes for the microphone and loudspeaker. Like its non-Plus sibling, ASUS opted not to bless the phone with the reversible and future-proofed USB-C port.

Up top are the 3.5mm headphone port and the noise-canceling microphone. It’s worth noting that the top and bottom portions of phone’s body are plastic to allow radios to pass through, while the main back panel is aluminum.

Thanks to its fantastic paint job, both materials blend well together as can be seen on the back. The phone has a dual-camera setup with an ultra wide-angle secondary camera. The phone’s fingerprint reader is also found on the back which is easily reachable by the index fingers.

Wide-angle dual-camera setup

The phone’s dual rear cameras are a combination of 16- and 8-megapixel shooters. The main shooter has an aperture of f/2.0 and shoots the usual photos like this one:

The secondary 8-megapixel camera is for taking action camera-like shots with its ultra wide-angle lens:

As with any wide-angle cameras, there’s a noticeable distortion or fish-eye effect from the camera, but that’s already expected.

To show the big difference between the main camera and wide-angle secondary camera, check out these photos:

As for selfies, there’s an 8-megapixel shooter accompanied by ASUS’ feature-rich camera app. It has multiple modes including, of course, “beauty” which boasts a number of beautification features.

There’s also portrait mode which applies an artificial bokeh effect. With a single front camera, the effect is somehow unimpressive.

We’ll be taking the phone for a full spin in the coming weeks. Check back soon for more sample shots from the dual wide-angle rear shooters and selfie camera.

Initial impressions

The phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6750T processor. Our model has 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage, but the configuration is region-dependent. Some countries have either 2GB or 3GB of memory and 16GB of storage. There’s a dedicated microSD card slot for additional storage along with two nano-SIM cards.

Android 7.0 Nougat runs on the phone with ZenUI 4.0 on top. We’re not yet sure if the phone will receive Android 8.0 since it’s not named as a member of the ZenFone 4 family, which ASUS promised would get Oreo.

As for the battery, it’s disappointing that it has a smaller 4130mAh cell versus the 5000mAh of the ZenFone 4 Max. But still, ASUS boasts long battery life and fast charging features. The phone can also act as a power bank for other devices through reverse charging with the use of a USB OTG cable. Full battery tests will appear in our review soon.

Official Philippine pricing is PhP 11,995 while in Malaysia is MYR 899.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 4 gets Android 8.0 Oreo update

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OPPO F5 6GB Hands-On

It looks absolutely stunning in red!



The highest-end model of the OPPO F5 family is here.

This is the OPPO F5 6GB. The 6GB RAM is great for gaming and multitasking. It also has 64GB of storage so you can take more photos and selfies!

Speaking of selfies, this one still has that AI Beauty mode. Plus, it’s available in stunning red. What an eye-catcher!

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