The ZenFone Max was upgraded earlier this year to sport a Snapdragon 615 which is a powerful octa core chipset. The ZenFone 3 Max, however, gets a Snapdragon 430 Octa Core processor. It isn’t a weak processor by any means but is focused to be an efficient chipset and not an outright powerhouse. For the price we were expecting a much powerful chip and the presence of phones like the Lenovo Z2 Plus which have a Snapdragon 820 in this very price range does not help the ZenFone’s case. The phone is snappy to use and there is no lag or stutter while navigating through menus or while multitasking among apps. The 3GB of RAM onboard keeps things in order and we found it to have over 1GB of RAM free at all times. The RAM management is nice and the phone also comes with a Mobile Manager app that helps proactively free RAM, handle notifications and even save precious battery life.
We ran the ZenFone 3 Max through some benchmarks and these were the results, it scored 44,419 in Antutu Benchmark, 642 and 2027 in single and multi-core performance respectively on Geekbench. To put things into perspective, in the same test the much cheaper Redmi Note 3 manages 1464 and 2487 in Geekbench and an impressive 70,461 in Antutu.
The Max uses an Adreno 505 GPU for graphics and it struggles a little when under load. While the processor is decently powered we can’t say the same about the graphics chip. The Max, as a result, does not offer the best gaming experience.
It sports Zen UI, Asus custom skin on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. While we prefer a stock Android UI, this UI isn’t all that bad. It is close to stock in terms of functionality with a few custom additions like themes, in-built gestures and a few modes (Easy Mode and Kids Mode) to choose from. Easy Mode changes the UI of the phone to make it more suitable for the elderly to use, big icons, bigger buttons, and a bigger font are the changes that occur. The phone comes with a handful of apps pre-installed, while some can be uninstalled, the others can only be disabled. The Max has 32GB of internal storage out of which 23.20GB is available to the user. It does not have a dedicated MicroSD card slot but has a hybrid SIM slot, so you’ll have to choose between storage expansion and the second SIM slot.
The phone has a bottom firing speaker that can get blocked accidentally while playing games. The speaker isn’t very loud and you may miss out on a few calls in noisy environments. Asus does offer an outdoor mode option that makes the speaker a little louder but the sound quality goes down a few notches.