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ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Lite Review - An Affordable Phone with LONG Battery Life!

Huawei Nova 5T
The ZenFone 4 Max has a lower-end sibling for the masses, the ZenFone 4 Max Lite. But despite its "Lite" monicker, it is one of ASUS's most promising budget phone.
ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Lite Review - An Affordable Phone with LONG Battery Life!
ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Lite review

As a matter of fact,  the said device initially impressed us with its build, ergonomics, cameras, and very long battery life out of the box.

But, is it as good as advertised? Here's our full review!


Display Quality

Average display
Average display

The ZenFone 4 Max Lite has a 5.2-inch HD 720p IPS screen with 282 pixels per inch. Sharpness is just fine, but it would have been better if it is full HD in resolution. Color accuracy is far from the best, but it is decent in quality considering the price.

The phone can also go bright enough to be usable under direct sunlight. Viewing angles are also decent for the price. This is good enough for watching videos, viewing photos, and etc.

On the display software part, it has an auto brightness and bluelight filter mode. The bluelight filter has level 1 to 5 of strength. In lowlight, the level 5 of bluelight filter mode provided the best protection to our eyes.

ASUS also allowed its users to change the display and text size.

Surprisingly, it has 10 points of touch which is great for typing, swiping, and gaming.

Audio Quality

Below, the ZenFone 4 Max Lite has a single speaker. Audio quality is mostly good with crisp and clear enough details. Bass is almost non-existent as expected from a smartphone speaker though. Max loudness for indoor use is decent, but it isn't that loud when used outdoors. It has some audible distortion on max loudness.

Headphone audio output is decent and balanced sounding. It can also provide good bass response at times. Mids are a bit tinnier than expected though. It is also far from the loudest around. Don't expect it to drive big headphones and multi-driver earphones that well.

The ZenEar included has great audio quality for a freebie. It has deep bass response, decent mids, and crisp enough highs.

Microphone quality is usable for recordings. For calls, it is clear enough overall.

Battery Life

Battery score
Battery score

Like most ZenFone Max phones, the ZenFone 4 Max Lite has a BIG battery capacity. In particular, ASUS loaded it with a 4,100mAh battery with fast charging support. In our PC Mark battery test, it clocked 15 hours and 23 minutes in total. In comparison, that is longer than what the ZenFone Max Plus M1 got.

STRONG BATTERY SCORE!

Actual usage is also outstanding! It can truly last for 2 days on single charge even on heavy usage. Our heavy usage include LTE or WiFi on all the time, social media apps, gaming, taking photos and videos, and more.

It also has the PowerMaster app where it can double the battery lifespan, choose battery modes, and more.

Charging time is a bit slower than expected though. It can charge the device from 0 to 100 percent in 3 hours.

It has a reverse charging feature (power bank mode) that can charge other devices using the ZenFone 4 Max Lite via USB OTG.

Camera

Dual cam on a budget!
Dual cam on a budget!

The ZenFone 4 Max Lite is the most affordable ZenFone with a dual camera setup yet. At the back, it has a 13MP f/2.0 primary shooter paired with a 5MP f/2.2 120-degree wide-angle lens.
Main camera UI
Main camera UI

It has a simple camera interface where you can choose to use the normal or the wide-angle mode. It also has HDR, portrait (for background blur), face beauty, super resolution, and more.

It also has a pro mode with ISO 50 to 3200, shutter speed of, 1/4000 to 1/3 of a second, EV -2 to +2, WB, and manual focus. It also has levels that you can use as a guide.

Respectable camera performance!

Quality is actually great overall and better than most ZenFones found in the under PHP 12K range.

Autofocus speed is fast! Doing macro shots is possible in daylight. However, shooting speed and saving time is a bit slower than what I liked. HDR is even slower.

But fortunately, picture quality is considered as good for the price. It simply looks better than the regular ZenFone 4 Max in quality. Images in daylight are not that noisy and has great color accuracy for the price. However, there are times  where it'll underexpose the some shots even in bright lighting condition.

The secondary 5MP f/2.2 camera is lesser in quality, dynamic range, and colors, but it has a 120-degree wide-angle lens with barrel distortion which could look like an action camera shot.

Indoor performance is decent overall. Lowlight performance is softer, has more noise, and lesser dynamic range though. Use the flash when needed.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight HDR
Daylight HDR
Normal
Normal
Wide
Wide
Close-up 1
Close-up 1
Close-up 2
Close-up 2
Portrait mode
Portrait mode
Lowlight normal
Lowlight normal
Lowlight wide
Lowlight wide

In front, the phone has an 8MP f/2.2 w/ 85-degree wide-angle sensor with softlight LED flash. It has the usual HDR mode, adjustable face beauty, and portrait mode. We also liked that it has a speedy focus and touch to focus mode. Saving time is a bit slow again though.
The easy to use selfie camera UI
The easy to use selfie camera UI

The selfie camera performance is decent enough for the price, but don't expect it to perform as good as the dual cameras behind. Details are mostly good in daylight snaps, but we find its colors to be a bit more saturated than expected.

The portrait mode bokeh can really blur your background, but it is far from natural looking. The LED flash is very useful in taking lowlight selfies and groufies though.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Daylight face beauty
Daylight face beauty
Portrait mode
Portrait mode
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie

For videos it can shoot in 1080p 30 fps quality in normal and wide-angle mode at the back. It can also shoot up to 1080p 30 fps with face beauty for selfies. Color quality is identical to stills, but autofocus is a bit slower than still. Expect your videos to be shaky due to lack of OIS too.

Video Samples


Performance

AnTuTu and Geekbench scores
AnTuTu and Geekbench scores

Inside, the ZenFone 4 Max Lite sports Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor with Adreno 308 GPU, 2GB RAM, and 16GB expandable storage.

The Snapdragon 425 chipset is on the same league as the MT6737T found on the lower-end Huawei Y5 2017. The Snapdragon 425 chipset is also found on some phones like the Vivo Y53 and Xiaomi Redmi 5A.

We could have liked it better if it has bigger 3GB of RAM!

Actual performance is respectable in running most of the basic apps like Facebook, Instagram, and native apps like the camera, browser, and more. It is mostly snappy as long as you won't open too many apps at the same time.

However, we would have liked it better if it has at least 3GB of RAM. 2GB of RAM is considered as low compared to other similary priced phones for the price.

The storage is also quite small. Yes it has 16GB of expandable storage, but the usable storage for apps is just around 8.3GB.
NBA 2K18 is not playable
NBA 2K18 is not playable

Gaming is possible if you won't play demanding games like NBA 2K18. The likes of Mobile Legends, Asphalt 8, and other lighter games are playable. Thermal management is decent, it doesn't get hot (warm only) even on LTE and gaming mode.

ZenUI
ZenUI

Like most of the modern ZenFones, the ZenFone 4 Max Lite runs with Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS w/ ZenUI 4.0 skin. It is cleaner looking and lighter than ever, but it still has some bloats that some won't need. Most of the ASUS bloats like the Selfie Master is uninstallable.

Mobile Manager
Mobile Manager

The good thing is some of the apps from Google and Social Media apps are uninstallable. Plus, it has the nice Mobile Manager app where you can optimize, clean, and manage the system of your device.

ASUS also retained the easy mode (simple UI), kids mode (where you can restrict apps and set playtime), Game Genie (game mode to avoid interruption and optimize the game), and ZenMotion (gestures).
ASUS also included a responsive fingerprint reader. It is one of the fastest we tested at this price point.

Telephony experience is also great. It has strong signal reception in our area and some other places most of the time. Bluetooth, LTE, and GPS also works. The OTG can be used for file transfers and reverse charging as well.

It has no gyroscope for those who wanted to play AR games and use VR applications though.

Pros - Great design and premium build, good rear camera quality, selfie camera flash, LTE connectivity, responsive fingerprint scanner, very long battery life with reverse charging
Cons - Thick bezel on top, low RAM and ROM for the price, no gyroscope sensor

Verdict

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Lite is a respectable smartphone priced at PHP 7,995 (PHP 6,995 sale price).

It even has capable cameras with wide-angle mode that should be great outdoor shots. It also has the strongest battery performance and the best fingerprint reader in its class.

The use of Snapdragon 425 for this price forgiveable, but it would have been better if ASUS paired it with at least 3GB RAM and 32GB storage.

Overall, we think that this is the phone for those in need of a smartphone with extra long battery life and capable cameras on a budget.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 3.75
Audio - 3.75
Battery - 4.75
Camera - 4
Performance - 3.75
Average - 4 / 5
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