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ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 Unboxing and First Impressions

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ASUS wants to improve on the original ZenFone 4 Max with the Max Plus M1. The original had good battery life, but had 720p display and polarizing cameras.
ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 Unboxing and First Impressions
Free clear TPU case!

We reviewed the original ZenFone 4 Max and we loved the battery life and the day to day performance but the phone was dragged down by its 720p display and terrible performing cameras.

You can read our review on the original ZenFone 4 Max here.

ASUS wants to change all that with the new ZenFone Max Plus M1 with a 1080p 18:9 display and improved camera hardware and software!

Let's see if it is indeed better than the original!

ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 (ZB570TL) Specs

Display: 5.7-inch FHD+ IPS 2160 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 424 ppi
CPU: 1.5GHz 64-bit MT6750T octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-T860MP2
RAM: 4GB
ROM: 32GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 16MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.4 wide angle lens w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0 w/ portrait mode and screen flash
Battery: 4,130mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat ZenUI 4.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, light, proximity, gravity
Others: Fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock
Colors: black, silver, gold
Dimensions: 152.6 x 72.7 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 160 g
Price: PHP 11,995

Disclaimer: The Max Plus M1 is a loaned unit from ASUS Philippines, but rest assured that is is our honest take on the product.

Unboxing / Accessories

Everything inside the box
Everything inside the box

Inside the box, you'll find the 2A wall charger, USB to micro USB data / charging cable, in-ear monitors with microphones, micro-USB to USB-A dongle (to charge other USB devices), jelly case, and documentation.

Build Quality / Design

Cameras, LED flash, fingerprint sensor, regulatory information sticker

The Plus M1's construction is a further refinement of the build quality found on the original ZenFone 4 Max. It is now sleeker, curvier and easier to hold in one hand.

Refinement of the ZenFone 4 Max build!

There's no mention of Dragontrail or Gorilla Glass protection in front though. The overall construction of the phone feels great in general.
Microphone and headphone jack
Microphone and headphone jack
Speakers and micro USB port
Speakers and micro USB port
SIM card tray
SIM card tray
Volume rocker and power button
Volume rocker and power button

Design-wise, it is a pretty sleek and striking phone for the expected price. We like its dark blue matte paint finish. The black bezels and the dark toned blue make it even slimmer than it really is. There is a slight camera protrusion at the back though. Negligible when you wear the jelly case on your phone.

Negligible camera bump!

Side bezels are pretty slim, but the bottom and top bezels is thick enough to negate the benefits of the 18:9 aspect ratio. Some would argue that this is because of the bigger battery. True, but the CloudFone Next Infinity Quattro has similar battery capacity but is able to put it in an immersive 18:9 display with little bezels.

General hold of the phone is also quite good. It is just a bit slippery at times though the matte texture does help. Most of the ports and buttons are on familiar locations. The headphone jack is above. The volume rocker and power button are on the right while the sim card tray is on the left. At the bottom are the speaker grills and the micro USB port. Only one speaker grill works though.

Initial Findings

1. Design of and construction of this phone is great despite the thick top and bottom bezels. The phone is also not too small yet not too big. Just right. The 5.7-inch FHD+ screen with 5 points of touch is quite good in performance for the price.
2. We were surprised when ASUS decided to not include the Snapdragon 430 from the original ZenFone 4 Max. What we have is the 1.5GHz clocked, 64-bit MT6750T octa-core processor that is paired with ample 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and 4,130mAh battery. The Specs are mostly spot on. We just wished that ASUS stayed with the Snapdragon. (or added a quick charge compatible chipset). Don't get us wrong, the MT750T chip is also quite good and has real support for dual cameras.
3. The phone runs Android 7.0 Nougat OS with the latest ZenUI which that was found on the ZenFone 4. This is a great addition to the Max line as it is cleaner, and easier to use than the aging ZenUI of yesteryear. 
4. The cameras are 16MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.4 wide angle lens w/ AF and LED flash for the rear while there is an 8MP f/2.0 w/ portrait mode and screen flash for the selfie camera. Our initial shots look decent (much better than the ZenFone 4 max. It does seem like it struggles in low light. We'll have to do more testing though.
5. This phone has LED notifications on top, on screen Android keys, and USB OTG support. The fingerprint scanner is quick and accurate most of the time. What surprised us is the quick and accurate face unlock feature. It is not as fast as the OnePlus 5T but this implementation is near or on par with the Vivo V7 or V7 Plus's face unlock!

Related: ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1: First Camera Samples

As of the moment

This phone is marketed as the #BatteryKing and so far in our initial impressions it is looking to more than just a marathon runner. 

If ASUS will price it right, this could be a pretty good deal due to its interesting set of features.

We will need to see how it holds up with our usual tests!

For our review: ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 Review - The Battery King?
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