Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is riding high on the success of the newly launched Redmi Note 4. In the phone's first flash sale that was held on 23 January, the company managed to sell more than 250,000 units. The second sale was held on 30 January. In direct competition with the Redmi Note 4, rival phone maker Asus is launching the Zenfone 3s Max in India on 7 February.
Asus launched the Zenfone 3 Max worldwide in July last year and in India in November. Its selling point was a budget level offering with a great 4,100 mAh battery. The Zenfone 3s Max takes things a notch further with a 5,000 mAh battery.
One of the device's unique features is that it supports reverse charging. So, you can charge another phone or a gadget through the Zenfone 3s Max.
There isn't much change in design in the new phone compared to the earlier Zenfone 3 Max, besides the rear camera having been shifted to the corner from the centre. Overall, the phone looks like any other budget phone in its price range.
The Zenfone 3s Max has a 5.2-inch 720p display, which is disappointing given that phones costing around ₹10,000 carry a full HD display. Asus has upgraded the phone with a newer 64-bit MediaTek processor, and it has a 3 GB RAM capacity along with 32 GB of internal storage.
The rear camera carries a 13 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture and the front camera carries a 5 MP sensor. After a week's use, the phone seemed good if you are on the move but don't expect a performance powerhouse. I viewed many videos on the phone and streamed content through the Internet, but the battery lasted well over a day.
One of the phone's strength is the software. Asus has begun 2017 with launching a phone that runs on Android Nougat 7.0 out of the box. While there is customisation painted over it, it is not as overwhelming as it used to be with the earlier Asus phones.
Asus is planning to launch the phone on 7 February. There is no information available on the pricing yet though Asus might want to keep the device competitively priced with an eye on the Redmi Note 4.