The newest phone to come to the Asus ZenFone line is the Asus ZenFone Max Plus. It utilizes the latest Android operating system and is accompanied by Google Play’s online services. The phone itself is perfect for those looking to purchase a great camera focused phone on a budget.
The phone comes with an enhanced camera and an app that allows users to pick and choose their favourite photos and show them off. The phone features a 16MP main camera, with a second camera adding a 120° wide-angle view. If you are worried about your phone dying on you during the day, don't, as the ZenFone Max Plus is equipped with a massive 4,130 mAh battery which claims to offer up to 26 days of usage off a full battery. The model comes with 3GB of RAM and an addition 32 GB of storage. The phone is modeled with an 80 per cent screen-to-body ratio at a size of 5.7” full view display, all for $299.99 CAD.
During the original setup I was asked to complete a variety of tasks to ensure my phone’s security. These included face biometrics, dot pattern recognition, and voice commands. The entire set-up procedure took around eight minutes and it was fascinating to see how facial biometrics worked. After taking a couple of photos of my face, the set-up was complete. Eager to try out the new security measures, I tested out the facial biometric program. To my disappointment and surprise, the facial security program did not work. I faced a similar problem with the dot pattern and voice command. The phone asked for me to say “Okay Google” so it could get a read on my voice patterns. After completing this, my voice commands were only received about 20 per cent of the time. The rest left the device unresponsive. With the dot pattern recognition, I found the screen to be too sensitive; it was too easy to slip and connect the wrong dot with my thumb. This problem often prevented me from accessing my phone quickly. I had to hold the device with both hands to make sure I did not connect the wrong dot.
The size of the phone can either be a great asset or an uncomfortable design choice. To make a comparison, this is slightly smaller than an iPhone 7 Plus. I am not normally used to holding a phone of this size and to me it felt a little awkward. I understand the appeal of a larger screen, but I felt like Asus sacrificed comfortability for functionality. The phone felt too large and I was not able to use it properly with one hand, and I was required to use both hands to operate the device. I will not deny that the large screen made playing Mario Run fun and engaging.
There is one other design choice about the phone that I found to be a little awkward, the power and audio control buttons are on the same side and are right next to each other. I am typically used to having the power button on one side and the audio on the other. So while I am holding the phone, my index finger is the one controlling the power and volume while my thumb does nothing.
On the flip side, the Asus ZenFone has one of the most enduring battery lives I have ever seen in a phone. With 4130 mAh battery capacity, users will find that the phone will remain active for 26 days on standby, 26 hours of call time, 13 hours of video playback, and 21 hours of WiFi web browsing. After one day of charging, I used the phone for web browsing purposes. After about a sold nine hours of doing so, I was surprised to see that the phone was still 65 per cent charged.
One of the more exciting features on the phone are the amped up camera functions. The phone is equipped with dual 120°16 MP cameras that ensure that the phone is able to capture high quality photos. This is further enhanced by the phones 2160 x 1080 resolution and 80 per cent screen-to-body ratio. Compared to other ZenFone models, the Max Plus comes with a 200 per cent wider view and it is accompanied by 18:9 full picture view.
Aside from the typical camera function, the ZenFone Max Plus also comes with the app Selfie Master. Here users are able to edit skin toning, skin softening, skin brightening, eye enhancement, and cheek thinning. Once users have edited till their heart's content, selfie master allows users to put their favourite photos in a collage or slideshow. In collage mode, users can organize their photos in various ways. If ZenFone users want something more cinematic, then they can access the slideshow mode, where, after choosing their favourite pictures, a video is created. You are able to choose what type of backdrop you want to accompany the gallery. These include graceful, romantic, happy, groovy, and comedy. Each backdrop has their own way of displaying the photos and their own soundtrack.
While the face biometrics, voice commands, and size hinder the overall experience, the camera, battery life, and resolution are something to be admired. If you are looking for an inexpensive, camera-based phone, then I would suggest this model, but for those who do not feel that this suits their needs, I would suggest you take your money elsewhere.
A retail version of this device reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. You can find additional information about CGMagazine's ethics and review policies and procedures here.
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