Asus Zenfone 3s Max In-Depth Review

Asus recently launched the Zenfone 3 Max with a 4100 mAh battery which lasted more than 2 days. Who dosen’t like more battery? Asus heard people’s demands once again and launched another variant in the Zenfone Max series, the Zenfone 3s Max. It is basically an updated version of the Zenfone 3 max with a bigger battery and a nicer design.

Zenfone 3s Max (ZC521TL)

Zenfone 3 Max is a great device with a long lasting battery and good performance, but was a bit heavy. The Zenfone 3s Max comes with a bigger battery and a more clean design. It looks a little better than the Zenfone 3 Max and the design language has changed from the Zenfone 3 series. The Zenfone 3 Max has the similar design to the Zenfone 3 series, but the Zenfone 3s Max has an updated design. So without wasting any more time lets get into it.
Zenfone 3s Max


With a contoured 2.5D curved gorilla glass and a all metal body, the device feels premium with offering a great protection at the same time. The device measures 149x76x8.85mm and weighs 175 grams. The Zenfone 3s Max has a 5.2-inch display and a 75% screen:body ratio which feels comfortable in hand.
Zenfone 3s Max FrontZenfone 3s Max Back
On the front of the phone there is the usual, speaker grill with front facing camera on the front and proximity and other sensors on the left. Surprising “ASUS” branding on the front below the speaker grill. Below there is fingerprint sensor.
On the back there is “ASUS” branding in the middle with a horizontal band running towards the bottom. The camera console has been shifted to the top left. There is no laser autofocus like the Zenfone 3 Max. Rest there is a dual tone flash and a secondary microphone with the camera module.
Zenfone 3s Max RightZenfone 3s Max LeftZenfone 3s Max TopZenfone 3s Max Bottom
On the right there are the usual volume rockers and the power key. The power key has been given a different texture to differentiate it from the volume rockers when in the pocket. There is just the hybrid sim card tray on the left. On the top there is a headphone jack now the antenna bands has been shifted to the top. A Micro-usb port for charge and power constitutes the bottom along with the secondary microphone and the speakers.
With the front facing fingerprint sensor and top antenna bands the overall design looks more cleaner. The device is very light compared to is predecessor and packs a bigger battery than the its predecessor. Interesting enough, the fingerprint sensor is clickable and acts has a home button and there is no other physical buttons.


Zenfone 3s Max AboutZenfone 3s Max HomeZenfone 3s Max Lock
The device runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with Zen-UI 3.0 skin on the top. The software is less bloated compared to their Zen-UI 2.0 which is to great. The device has cold screen access, with double tap to wake and much more. There is also flip to silence and app lock built right in the core. The Nougat has a better battery management which helps the Zenfone 3s Max. Also Asus’s power management combined with the the inbuilt one bumps the battery management to a whole new level.
Zenfone 3s Max Zenfit
One of the hidden features of the device is the Zenfit app. It uses the phones camera and flash module to accurately measure one’s heartbeat. We used the Mi Band 2 to verify the result which were fairy accurate. The device comes with on screen buttons. On a personal note, physical buttons are better but then its just personal opinion.


The performance is what most of the people look after in a phone. Well a device with a 5000 mAh battery isn’t expected to perform great. To our surprise the device pretty well. With a MediaTek processor the device performs really well for its price. The Zenfone 3s Max comes with a MediaTek MT 6750 coupled with Mali-T860 and 3GB RAM. We were able to perform everyday tasks and a bit of heavy gaming and the device didn’t lagged a bit.
Zenfone 3s Max AnTuTuZenfone 3s Max AnTuTu
We performed our usual AnTuTu benchmark tests and the results and device yielded a result of 39,581. It was a little less than the Zenfone 3 Max but then also with a bigger battery and a lighter device here are compromises needed to be made.
Zenfone 3s Max GamingZenfone 3s Max Gaming
Zenfone 3s Max GamingZenfone 3s Max Gaming
We also ran our favorite Aspault 8 and the performance was brilliant. Lag free performance with a huge battery. Ideal for casual mobile gamers. Also the display on the device is also amazing for gaming which we will cover later on.
The fingerprint sensor is quite fast and can store upto 5 finger prints at a time. The fingerprint sensor however is not active, therefore screen needs to be turned on for it to read. Also the fingerprint sensor is clickable so as to click the button which reads the fingerprint at the same time and takes you directly to home screen. On a personal note, the forward facing fingerprint sensor is better than the back facing fingerprint sensor. It just looks so much more beautiful. Utility wise, the back facing fingerprint sensor is good due to it’s perfect placement. in the end it depends on the user’s preference.


Zenfone 3s Max Display
The device has a amazing 5.2 inch (1080×1920) display. The display as we mentioned earlier is just amazing. The colors are so bright and accurate. The display overall has a good brightness level. Sunlight readability was beyond expected. The viewing angles are beyond expected. This makes Zenfone 3s Max really good for gaming and watching videos and movies. There is Asus’s usual glove mode which enables one to use the device with a glove. That a standard in Asus phones. Can definitely say the display is way better on the Zenfone 3s Max than its predecessor.


Zenfone 3s Max Camera
The Zenfone 3s Max has a 13MP f/2.0 primary camera, and 8.0MP f/2.0 secondary camera. The camera app is easy to use had has 12 pixel master modes. Users can choose between Manual, HDR Pro, Beautification, Super Resolution, Low-light, QR Code, Night, Depth of the field, Effect, Selfie, GIF animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time rewind, Slow motion, or Time Lapse modes. All of these modes are available on other Zenfone 3 series devices also.
Zenfone 3s Max Camera  Zenfone 3s Max Camera
The close up shots were pretty amazing with the back camera being equivalently good. The absence of a laser auto focus made focusing images a bit of a time consuming task, but the auto-focus didn’t suffered in terms of quality due to that. The front camera is also upto the mark. The modes like beautification is definitely something a selfie lover will look out for.
Zenfone 3s Max CameraZenfone 3s Max Camera
The low light mode buffs up the color but at the same time decreases the resolution. The camera was pretty much same as the Zenfone 3 Max with minor technology changes.

Connectivity, Storage And Battery Life

Zenfone 3s Max StorageZenfone 3s Max RAM
The device comes with standard connectivity module, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS. The Zenfone 3s max also supports 4G VoLTE and USB OTG. The OTG cable didn’t come with the box which was dissapointing. The Zenfone 3s Max like the other Zenfone Max series has the ability to charge other devices. To do the same connect your phone to the Zenfone 3s Max using the OTG cable and the Zenfone 3s Max is charging your under battery phone.
Zenfone 3s Max BatteryZenfone 3s Max Battery
The 5000 mAh battery lasted around 2 days in heavy usage, gaming with full brightness and much more. On a average usage the device lasted around 3 days. The device is told to last around 34 days on 4G standby. Couldn’t really test that but judging with the battery performance, it might be true. A turbo charger is provided with the device to boost up the charging of the massive battery.
Zenfone 3s Max Power Manager
The Zenfone 3s Max has a Android 7.0 Nougat’s battery management along with Asus battery management software which takes the battery management game to the next level. The battery operating modes like Performance, Normal, Power Saving and Super Saving which can help one manage the battery consumption based on the usage.
The Zen earbuds provided are truly good. The speaker  though looks like is a stereo setup but it is not. The speakers were loud enough, louder than its predecessors. Outdoor mode boosted the audio a bit but with that loud amount of volume, outdoor mode isn’t needed.


The Zenfone 3s Max certainly is a attractive device both aesthetic wise and also performance wise. The 5000 mAh battery is overwhelming. Who said unlimited power isn’t possible. They outdid themselves with the Zenfone 3s Max. The device is available both online and offline with a price of Rs. 15,999.Its a bit overpriced. The Zenfone 3s Max is ideal for someone who dosen’t like carrying a powerbank wherever they travel. So if you are one of those people we would definitely recommend buying this device.

Lalit Wadhwa

Tech Geek, BlackBerry Lover and a Engineer

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1 Response

  1. 28th May 2017

    […] ASUS, the Taiwanese smartphone maker. Launched its latest phone Asus Zenfone live in the Indian market, the phone offers a very exciting feature. It brings live beautification option which could be used while going live on Instagram and Facebook. It resolves the present problem of looking dull in the live video. […]

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