A smartphone that surprises

IN A market where a high-end smartphone comes with a price tag of almost RM4,000, it is refreshing to see a modest smartphone a little less than one-sixth of that price do well.

I did not have high expectations of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, but it still surprised me.

The phone is relatively large, with its 6in 2:1 ratio display and 8.45mm thick metal body.

Its width may be the same as a legacy phone with a 5.5in screen, but, among modern smartphones, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 can still be a handful.

However, with great size comes great advantages.

Firstly, the smartphone touts a large 6in FHD+ display. This is relatively standard for most phones today, but, it gets points for not having a notch and giving you the full use of the screen.

Secondly, the Max Pro M1 touts a 5000mAh battery.

In other words, it can survive a couple of days without needing a charge.

It also helps that the smartphone uses a modest Snapdragon 636 processor which is not power hungry.

The processor, combined with 3GB of memory, 32GB of storage, and ‘stock’ Android, gives the Max Pro M1 an advantage over other phones in its class just by virtue of not being power intensive.

Without a plethora of background apps and processes present in custom-branded user interfaces to slow it down, the Max Pro M1 can take full advantage of its humble processor.

Nevertheless, although it is using a ‘stock’ version of Android, this is not the best implementation of the feature.

The Android operating system on the Max Pro M1 still includes a few Asus-branded apps and is missing a few key features.

These include its inability to clone or create a twin app, or to connect to the faster 5GHz AC WiFi connection, as well as the inability to send files via WiFi direct.

However, the one thing that impressed me the most about the Max Pro M1 is its camera.

When posted on social media, the pictures taken with its dual camera system is comparable to the ones made using high-end phones.

Its camera system is not perfect, especially in low light, but it is impressive enough for a RM699 smartphone.

My biggest problem with the phone has to be its slow WiFi speeds, and its inability to run two WhatsApp messengers at the same time.

It may not be a problem for everyone, but to me, it is a dealbreaker.

I cannot fault the smartphone too much for its shortcomings. It just feels like a phone one or two generations behind, wrapped in a modern format.

Realistically, the Max Pro M1 is a practical choice for those who are looking for a contemporary device that will not give you buyer’s remorse.