Asus Zenfone Max 4 Review

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The hideously named ASUS Zenfone 4 Max is a stellar device at an outstanding price. I’m very pleasantly surprised to the point that it has unexpectedly replaced my iPhone 7 Plus as my daily phone.

The ASUS Zenfone 4 Max (henceforth Zenfone) is an Android 7 device with a 5.2” screen, a fingerprint reader, a mid-range Qualcom 430 CPU, 16GB of storage, and 2GB of RAM. There is a 5.5” version of this phone that has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. I opted for the smaller device, as I miss a smaller phone. (Not that 5.2” is particularly small, but I digress.)

The Zenfone has a dual rear-camera setup. The main camera is pretty fast and takes decent shots, the second is a lower-quality wide angle camera. The cameras are decent, comparable to my old BlackBerry Passport, but are the only major step down from my iPhone 7 Plus.

The Zenfone has a headphone jack and decent speakers. I would say that the speakers sound better than my iPhone but not as good as the Passport. I’ve been mostly using the Zenfone with my Apple Airpods. They work great with this Android phone. If you’ve invested in AirPods and are looking to move away from iOS, have no fear. They work just as well. (Minus Siri integration, of course.)

The Zenfone is a nice device to hold and use. It is a well balanced device with very small bezels. The phone has nicely rounded corners that makes it comfortable in the hand. The screen is not retina-grade but is good for the phone.

The Zenfone takes a Micro SD card and two nano SIM cards. I have the 128GB SD card, formatted ExFAT, from my Passport installed and working happily in the Zenfone.

The phone feels just right. Not too heavy, not too light, a good size all around. Everything about the phone is decent. Not stellar, but on par with my iPhone 7 Plus in all ways but the camera. (Which is still adequate.)

Android 7 is much nicer to use. My last Android phone was an LG G3 running Android 5. 7.1 is much improved. It’s pretty fast and fluid. I still don’t like Android. Many of the apps are pretty terrible, but it is far last visually insulting than it used to be. Notifications are at least as good as iOS and are on par with what I was used to in BlackBerry OS. I still don’t like how iOS or Android multi-task, but it’s fine.

As mentioned, I’m still using my AirPods, I still use Apple Music. I need to figure out what to do with photos, but that’s been a problem for me since my first digital camera in the early 2000s. If anyone has a brilliant cross-platform solution for photos, please let me know.

As with the last Android phones I’ve used, the thing that makes the experience worthwhile is BlackBerry’s Android software. It’s so good that it deserves it’s own review, which I will work on after this.

To wrap up, I honestly don’t see anything wrong with the Asus Zenfone. Hardware quality-wise, it feels as good as my iPhone 7 Plus. I prefer the hardware to the iPhone, and generally, I prefer the software to iOS. I miss the hardware mute switch and the camera. Otherwise, I’m far happier with the $220 Asus Zenfone than I am with the $1200 iPhone 7 Plus. And, if I drop it or damage it, I’m far less worried.

The 5.2” Asus Zenfone 4 Max is a good phone at any price, and is a stellar option at $220. If you’re looking for a decent inexpensive phone, I don’t think you’ll regret this one.

GoSaBe Blog - Jan 27, 2018 | Hardware