Asus Zenfone 4 Max (ZC554KL) is your reliable daily driver

Packed with 5,000mAh of battery, power efficient internals, as well as a decent performing camera, Asus may have just made their most compelling offer easily available to just about anyone with the Zenfone 4 Max.

Let’s get something out-of-the-way: The battery life of this phone can easily last the whole day plus change on your late night out with friends after work and still have some juice left to charge in the office the next day.

It’s not that I didn’t try. I did.

It all started out one day to test the longevity of the battery plugging-off at 10am with casual usage of social media browsing in 4G. Replied to some emails on the way, messaging on FB Messenger, as well as played videos shared on Facebook, tweeted, and just about any time-wasting activity until I reached my destination.

I used the dual-cameras at the back to its full extent. The standard camera works well under direct sunlight with some struggles on low-light shooting but the manual mode included will aid in this department considering you have steady hands or a tripod present when you do so. The secondary wide-angle camera got me to some creative shots specially those that are looking a little too tight on the frame.

The cameras

The 13 Megapixel camera works well in most conditions with great lighting. Images are crisp and clear when the processor gets the white balance just right in tandem with the focusing. It’s perfectly understandable considering the budget restraints of the Zenfone 4 Max but some patience and a little it of a learning curve will grant you great results.

The manual mode will slow the whole experience a bit since the included processing capabilities will have to divert all its attention into translating your shot.

The secondary 5 Megapixel wide-angle camera will sacrifice a bit in favor of more of the scenery to come in to play to the shot. getting up close will show some distortion on the image thanks to the semi-fish-eye qualities of the lens which is still perfectly understandable. All wide-angle lenses do that. It’s more for far away scenic scenarios (try saying that 10 times fast) and those points where you want to add a little bit of something happening on the side to aid in you story telling.

Shots will come out with noise and some blur in scenarios without ample lighting as seen in those taken at night or those indoors without much light to aid in the shot.

The 8 Megapixel front facing camera works wonders, too, for a device with such limited capabilities where images are clear when taken outdoors. Some aspects of the quality will falter a touch specially in low-light scenarios. Fortunately Asus has included a front-facing soft-light flash to aid in this situation. Nifty, isn’t it?

All the cameras are capable of taking Full HD videos.

The screen

Because of the aforementioned budget restraints, the display will be a standard 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD. A lot of the colors are a touch muted when placed side-by-side with the Zenfone 4 Pro, for example, with some struggles on creating deep blacks from video playback and the whites are a tad yellowish.

There will be some struggle in viewing under direct-sunlight here even with the brightness slider set as far right as it can possibly go.

The innards

Processing capabilities come from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset with Adreno 505 GPU and 4GB of RAM with 32GB of on-board storage and the option to expand to 256GB with a very nifty dedicated memory card slot on top of dual-sim capabilities.

The physique

It’s pretty much a standard iPhone-esque design aspect here with the camera placements on the top-left corner and nothing much else on the metal rear casing with plastic caps on the top and bottom portions for signal reception apart from the logo.

It’s a micro-usb enable device for charging and data transfer located at the bottom flanked by speaker grilles and the mic. The headphone jack and the secondary microphone can be located at the top.

It’s a standard volume rocker on top of the wake/lock/power button on the right side with the SIM card cum micro SD card slot on the opposite end.

The home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner with capacitive non-back-lit navigation keys with the back button on the left found at the chin of the phone. The fingerprint scanner is accurate with 9 out of ten tries in a series of 30 tries but is leaning towards a slower wake-time compared to flagship devices, of course.

The OS

The Zenfone 4 Max will be running Android 7.1.1 with all the crapware under the ZenUI 3.0 but fortunately the ZenUI 4.0 is already waiting for you to install to remove most of what plagued previous Zenfone devices that only includes some apps you may or may not utilize complete with BeautyLive. In case you’re not aware, BeautyLive is an app that allows for live beautification mode during videos as well as to Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter live capabilities.

The limelight

As I have mentioned it was not that I didn’t try draining the battery of the Zenfone 4 Max within reasonable usage capabilities.

All throughout testing it for a good 3 days straight of calling up apps, interacting, taking photos, using it as a hotspot, and playing games with it, I would still have enough power to charge my Zenwatch with it going home.

This sample showed how long-lasting this phone really is on a regular day.

The verdict

There are some sacrifices on the side for taking up a phone like the Zenfone 4 Max in favor of longevity as well as all the basics plus some benefits like the secondary wide-angle camera.

It’s a good daily driver if you don’t mind the interface that is leaning towards a touch of non-intuitive but everything else is a very compelling argument for a phone that will only set you back Php 9,990 or $ 195 USD. What’s your take on this phone’s longevity? Hit us up on the comments section or on Twitter @MNLMash.

If you have questions or thing you wish for me to check out then you can let me know on Twitter @ginuhit.
Mabuhay Manila.

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