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