Zenfone Max Pro M2 proves trickle down effect

 Zenfone Max M2  woos mid-price phone buyers with  premium features

Bangalore, December 15 2018: The  dizzying pace with which  new smart phones hit the market,  reminds one of  media guru Marshall McLuhan's mantra : 'If it works, it's obsolete'.   But there is an upside to this  frantic  upgrade of technology, best expressed with another adage: Patience is a virtue.  If your mouth salivates at some new feature like AI-assisted shake-free photos or multiple cameras to iron out any flaws, while your  purse is not up to the asking price -- just wait. In a few months the tech will trickle down to a more affordable price band.

Asus is a past master at this particular effect -- and in the last few weeks of the year it has  launched no less than 5 variants of its Zenfone Max M2  family of phones, with prices  in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 16,000 range, but features that were touted by much costlier options  a few months ago.

We have been trying out the top end  of this mini-series, the Zenfone Max Pro M2which has three  options, a 3 GB RAM model with 32 GB of storage for Rs 12,999; a 4GB/64 GB for Rs 14,999 and a 6 GB/64 GB for Rs 16,999.   All three variants go as far as one can go today with add-on micro SD cards --  2 TB -- more than most desktop PCs today.

Anyone investing in such insanely huge storage can be  expected to be a fiend of a user -- and Asus  recognizes this by putting in a 5000 mAh battery -- good to go  for almost 2 full days.    Dual 4G VoLTE sims are supported, the OS is  unfettered Android 8.1 and an upgrade to Android 9 Pie is promised in early 2019.

The front dual camera has 12 MP and 5 MP lenses with some clever  stabilization tech to  compensate for shaky hands  as well as  AI-assisted  scene recognition that was a USP of the company's high end handsets -- till now. The front selfie camera is   a 13 MP clicker that can shoot full HD video.  The 6.3 inch display  is full 1080p HD to match, that at a 19:9 aspect ratio, ekes out  the maximum viewing area.

The Max Pro M2 is available from December 18, while a slightly more affordable Max M2 costing Rs 9,999  to Rs 11,999  with  marginally lesser camera and RAM, goes on sale two days later. 

We were interested to see the extent to which  Asus  has Indianized the look and feel: when you switch on  for the first time the screen pops up with  "Suswagatham" in devanagiri and   -- a selector for Hindi,  Marathi, Bengali and Urdu as the operating language. English is just one option --not the default. And   conceding  that 'we are like that only', the  5-element speakers  belt out really loud volume -- if you choose.    Swagatham to that! VISHNU ANAND