38 days of standby time and the ability to power another smartphone — the monster battery of the Asus Zenfone Max hasn’t been a secret for a while now.
The Taiwanese company itself teased the phone several times last year, first at a press event in India in August, and then later at the IFA Consumer tech show in Berlin last September.
We saw it again at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas last January, shortly before it began rolling out around the globe, and finally, last week it arrived at the GadgetMatch lab.
Like all the other Zenfones, the Zenfone Max ships in the familiar matte white rectangular pull-out box with the name and phone printed on the cover. Highlighted on the right side are the specs unique to the phone.
Removing the cover reveals the phone wrapped in a protective plastic seal. Underneath you pull up a door-like carton cover to see the User Guide and Warranty Card pamphlets.
Tucked in their mini compartments are a standard micro USB cable, a 5V 1A USB wall adapter, earphones and extra buds.
Unique to the Zenfone Max package is an OTG cable (micro USB to USB) that converts the phone into a powerbank when you connect it to another phone using any standard micro USB cable.
Look and Feel
Up front, the Zenfone Max is identical to every other Zenfone variant – the earpiece, ASUS logo, and front-facing 5MP camera up top, capacitive buttons and signature concentric circle design at the bottom.
Flip the phone over and you’ll notice subtle changes in its design language. The Zenfone Max has a less pronounced curved back, making the phone feel thinner than the Zenfone 2, Selfie, and Laser, albeit still considerably hefty.
When it was previewed, the phone had a removable back plate with a rubbery matte finish, but thankfully Asus opted for a textured leather-like back that not only makes the phone less slippery, but also improves its overall aesthetic. Completing the look is the light gold plastic band that frames the sides of the phone.
The micro SD card and dual micro SIM card slots are tucked underneath the rugged cover, as well as the non-removable 5,000 mAh battery.
Also on the back of the phone are the 13MP PixelMaster camera flanked by a dual tone LED flash, and sensor for the laser autofocus. Below the Zenfone branding are the speaker grilles.
The only physical buttons on the device are its volume rocker and the power button on the right hand side of the device. The headphone jack is located on top of the device, while the micro USB port and microphone are on its bottom.
Out of the box, the Zenfone Max runs Android 5.0.2 skinned with Zen UI, ASUS’ implementation of Android. It’s not our favorite implementation of Android, but its not that bad either. We like all the customization options, but also think the phone could do away with the bloatware.
Overall the Zenfone Max feels more premium than the other Zenfones like the Selfie and Laser, and at P8,495 in the Philippines and Rs. 9699 in India (approx $185) not only do you get a good-looking phone but also a powerbank to charge your less powerful phone if need be, all for under $200.
[irp posts=”11934″ name=”ASUS ZenFone 3 Max’s new update boosts battery life”]
realme 9 Pro+ Unboxing and First impressions
All about that Sony IMX766 sensor
Just in time as things slowly get back to its former nature with this pandemic, realme releases a combination of smartphones that are packed with serious image capturing devices — the realme 9 Pro and the realme 9 Pro+.
Right now, we will be looking at what the realme 9 Pro+ has to offer.
Once again, the signature yellow realme box
A warm welcome from the realme family
Some of the accessories, a smoke gray jelly case, SIM ejector pin and manuals
The 60W SuperDart charger and the USB-C cable
Here is the shiny realme 9 Pro+ in its classy looking Aurora Green colorway
At the bottom is the headphone jack, USB-C charging port and speaker grille
Onto its left is the SIM card slot and the volume rockers
And to the right is the power button
The realme 9 Pro+ has a 6.4-inch, 90Hz, Super AMOLED display with a punch hole selfie camera on the upper right
The screen is also home to the under display fingerprint sensor
A closer look of the cameras wrapped in blue green chrome rings with the OIS labeling
What really got me excited with this phone is that it is armed with a Sony IMX766 sensor. It shoots 50 megapixels for its main camera, 8 megapixels ultrawide and 2 megapixels for its macro.
For those unfamiliar with camera sensors, the Sony IMX is what a lot of flagship phones run on. It’s bigger than the usual sensors we’re used to. That means it will capture more light and perform better under difficult lighting situations. This also means it will result in an overall cleaner image. Plus, a bigger sensor will also produce more depth and dimension creating a more desirable output.
I’ve already gone out for a test run with this camera and I am genuinely amazed at the images it can produce. So better watch out for our full review on this one.
Here are some of the samples I took.
Specs and performance
Onto its other specs, this is also equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G Chipset, 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage that is all being powered by a 4,500 mAh battery.
A superior chipset to the already great performing Dimensity 900. So expect that this is also a capable performer for day-to-day tasks and will keep us connected with the fastest cellular networks available.
And judging by our initial testing, swift performance, high refresh rate display and great cameras, this is one snappy feeling phone.
I know you’re probably eager to get your hands on the realme 9 Pro+ to #CaptureTheLight so be sure to tune in to the livestream launch for the realme 9 Pro and realme 9 Pro+ on March 15, 2022 on realme’s official Facebook page.
realme 9 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions
A real pro?
realme redefines the midranger again this year with their release of their camera-focused powerful duo — realme 9 Pro and realme 9 Pro+.
Now, let’s take the realme 9 Pro out of the box and check out what they have in store for us.
The phone comes in realme’s signature minimalist yellow box with just their branding.
Lifting the lid, you’ll be greeted with a slim yellow box welcoming you to the realme family.
This contains the jelly case that comes with it, SIM ejector tool and manuals.
Removing those from the box, you’ll be greeted by the phone.
And underneath it, you’ll see the rest of the accessories such as the 33W Dart Charger and USB-C Cable.
Out of the box, you’ll see the unit that we got came in the Aurora Green varian. It looks pretty dazzling.
At its left side, you’ll find the volume rockers.
While on the right, you can find the power button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
Then at the bottom, you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack even if there weren’t any earphones that came with the phone. You’ll also find the USB-C port and speaker grille beside it.
The realme 9 Pro is powered up with a 5000mAh battery and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with 8GB of RAM + 5GB Dynamic RAM along with 128GB of internal storage.
With this chipset, the realme 9 Pro is a 5G capable smartphone that delivers an ultra-fast all around performance.
Out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is its pretty design. Especially the back part where you can see a sparkling streak of light that resembles photos of how outer space looks like. Without touching it, it looks like it’s made of glass but it’s actually made of plastic.
Bezels are pretty thin for this phone’s 6.6-inch FHD+ LCD Display except for the bottom bezels that’s a bit thicker.
I tried browsing through webpages for a quick test run and I quickly noticed how ultra smooth the experience is thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate. With its adaptive technology, every swipe and scroll feels more instant and responsive.
Now onto its cameras. The phone packs a 64MP Nightscape Camera, an 8MP 119° Super-wide Lens, a 2MP Macro Lens and a 16MP Selfie Camera.
I took the phone out for a photowalk and enjoyed it thoroughly. The realme 9 Pro produced really amazing shots, especially with its Street Photography Mode and its filters. I’m actually thrilled at how I can maximize the camera’s capabilities for my content creation.
With its early indications, I can say that this is a pretty badass midranger. To know more about the features of the realme 9 Pro and realme 9 Pro+, watch out for our review. Find out whether these power duo can really #CaptureTheLight.
Also, don’t forget to tune in to the realme livestream launch on March 15, 2022 at 6PM on realme’s official Facebook page.
This is not your usual projector
It’s the Samsung Freestyle
Samsung’s Lifestyle TV lineup is already diverse as it is. But it’s expanding even further by adding The Freestyle.
What exactly is The Freestyle? Samsung fancies calling it “not a projector, not quite a TV, but an entirely new type of device.” And it’s true, to a certain extent. There’s certainly nothing like it.
In terms of how it showcases images — both moving and otherwise — it has most in common with a projector. But it’s also running the same Tizen OS and interface found on Samsung Smart TVs. And most importantly, it’s super compact.
Tiny and light
It’s hard to really show a gauge of it’s actual size, but here it is side-by-side with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Now, Samsung’s latest flagship is quite the chonker, but for it to be close to size with The Freestyle when viewed like this is a testament to lifestyle product’s tiny-ness.
If you’re curious, here’s the actual measurement of The Freestyle: 4” x 6.8” x 3.75”. To boggle your mind even further. It weighs less than a kilogram, 0.83kg to be exact. And that’s with the lens cap on!
It’s tiny form factor makes it the kind of device that you can take with you wherever you go. It even has accessories for any outdoors plan you may have. These include a Carrying Case that almost makes it look like a water jug, a Battery Bank for extended outdoor sessions, and many more.
That portability also translates indoors. You can prop it up in any room in your house with a blank wall. Plug, place, and play.
A projector? A TV?
The Freestyle falls under Samsung’s lifestyle TV category where you’ll find products like The Sero, The Serif, and The Frame. These are all fresh takes on what a usual Smart TV is. And The Freestyle falls perfectly in that category.
Essentially, it is a projector. But in terms of smart technology and design, it’s certainly more than that. You still need to place it in a room with a blank, flat surface so it can project the content. But what The Freestyle does is eliminate all the hassle usually associated with projectors.
Instead of having to calibrate the image, The Freestyle smartly does it on its own. No need to worry about the picture looking squeezed, smushed, or overextended. The screen size is dynamic. It can go from 30” to 100” at 1080p resolution.
You also have access to the same version of Tizen OS found on other lifestyle TVs — specifically the Tizen 6.0 with the new 2022 Smart Hub. This lets you project not just Netflix shows and YouTube videos, but also some artwork or false window scenes.
For audio, it has an eARC port and supports 5W (360) sound. I don’t have the exact measurements of the room where it was demonstrated, but it was large enough to comfortably hold about 20 people. Even then, The Freestyle was able to fill the room with its sound. Safe to say, it won’t leave you wanting in the volume and clarity department.
Accessories and more
We already mentioned the Carrying Case and Battery Bank which are sold separately. Other accessories include a Bulb Socket and Freestyle Skins that come in three colors: Forest Green, Blossom Pink, and Coyote Yellow.
There’s also a lens cap that comes with the box. Speaking of things that come in the packaging, you get this sleek-looking remote control.
Aside from the usual navigation dial and volume control buttons, there are also dedicated buttons for streaming apps Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. It relies on Infrared (IR) technology instead of bluetooth so you have to know where you place The Freestyle to make it work.
Price and availability
The Freestyle retails for PhP 54,999. Pre-order period is from March 14 to April 17, 2022.
Samsung is holding a pre-registration raffle where users can win one of five Samsung The Freestyle units. It’s happening from February 14 to March 13, 2022. Details of the raffle are available in the link below:
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