Asus ZenFone 3s Max Review

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It seems like Asus is on a roll in the Zenfone 3 series. The Taiwanese company has launched a successor to the almost 5 months old Asus Zenfone 3 Max. The successor has been named as Asus Zenfone 3s Max (ZC521TL).

Comparing to its predecessor, the ZenFone 3s Max features 5,000 mAh battery, 8 MP front-facing camera and Nougat out of the box. And also there are slightly improved internals and minor design changes for us to get interested.

Let’s see what ZenFone 3s Max brings to the table and does it offer a well-rounded smartphone experience? Let’s find out!

Look and Feel

The one we get is Sand Gold variant. The device comes with metal unibody with slightly curved back and 2.5D glass all over the front. ZenFone 3s Max is well-built and the aluminum chassis gives it a solid feel.

Despite the fact, it has 5000 mAh battery; the device doesn’t feel cumbersome. The camera is placed on the top left corner on the back of the device with the LED flash next to it.

Asus has moved the fingerprint sensor to the front and embedded inside the physical home button. Surely this is a great move from Asus, so you no longer need to pick up your device from a table to unlock it.

Above the display, you have the sensors, selfie camera module and a 3.5mm audio socket on the top, and a hybrid SIM tray on the left. While the power and volume buttons are on the right. You’ll also find a Micro-USB port and speaker grilles on the bottom.


The ZenFone 3s Max sports a 5.2-inch HD (720p) IPS display with a 2.5D curved glass on top. It features a pixel density of 282 ppi which is a bit too low for a device in this price range.

Asus disappoints us with just HD display with ZenFone 3s Max when other low range smartphones feature a Full HD display.

Nevertheless, we believe that Asus has decided to go with lower resolution display in order to extend the battery life. Also, we shouldn’t forget that the devices intention is battery life.

The display is sharp with rich colors and brightness is pretty good. It does offer good sunlight visibility.


The performance of the device is really surprising for us. With a MediaTek MT6750 under the hood, we never expected such a wonderful performance from this device.

The combination of MediaTek SoC and 3GB of RAM does the job smoothly without any issues. ZenFone 3s Max doesn’t have any issue in handling day to day activates and handles multitasking nicely without any lags.

Gaming experience in this device was smooth without any lags while playing casual games. The device also handles high-end games like Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 without many lags. ZenFone 3s Max does heat up after 5 or 10 mins of Asphalt 8 gamming.

Asus ZenFone 3s Max Gaming

Besides, I didn’t face any issues when switching between apps in the split-screen mode. The mode works both in landscape and portrait mode.

The GPU performance is somehow balanced and the graphic performance is decent with the 720P display.

The audio output of the speaker is pretty loud, while the headphone audio is fine. Further, this smartphones does support VoLTE.

Proceeding to the video, the device is able to play full HD (1080p) videos without any issues.

The fingerprint sensor is accurate, but the issue is Fingerprint scanner is not active. You need to press the button and then only it works.


The ZenFone 3s Max sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with phase detection autofocus and dual LED flash. The image quality from the rear camera is good in well-lit conditions, with mostly accurate color replication. But the photos lacks details and aren’t sharp enough.

Asus ZenFone 3s Max Camera UI

Asus ZenFone 3s Max Camera UI

The device does better with close-up shots, but lack details as usual. In low-light conditions, only some of the shots come out decent, but most of the shots are noisy with messed up metering.

The 8MP front facing camera performs well outdoors under bright lighting conditions, but about just okay in indoor conditions.

Please find the camera samples:-

Normal Mode:-

HDR Mode:-

User Interface (UI)

This is the first Asus’ smartphone to feature Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with Asus ZenUI 3.0 skin on top. The latest version of ZenUI 3.0 is a complete makeover and offers a clean UI with subtle animations.

Of course, as like all Asus device, it comes with a lot of bloatware pre-installed on it.

With this new ZenUI 3.0, you will get the updated notification system with the option to quickly reply from notification. You also get the multi-window feature, which allows you to run two compatible apps one below the other simultaneously.

Asus ZenUI 3-0 skin

The device also lets you double tap the multitasking key to quickly switch between apps.


The main highlight feature of the device is the 5000 mAh battery. Battery life of the device is really impressive, thanks to 5000 mAh battery.

This device lasts almost 2 and half days in my usage with 4 hours of watching videos. 2 hours of casual gaming, half an hour of Asphalt 8 gaming. Also covering regular browsing & watching videos online via WiFi and 4G mobile data.

With heavy gaming and mobile data on all the time then it will last a full day without any issue.

Zenfone 3s Max gave me a screen-on time of around 5 hours, 57 minutes, which is really good.

The disappointing thing is Asus doesn’t include fast charging in this device. With the charger included in the box, it takes 3.15-3.5 hours to get it to 100 percent.


On the whole Asus ZenFone 3s Max is a decent smartphone. It is targeted to those who are looking for a smartphone with bulk battery and if it’s you, then go for it.

The device impresses with stellar battery life, which lasts for a couple of days. ZenFone 3s Max also packed with decent performance and built quality. But it is not a well-rounded smartphone at the sub 15K segment. Consumers have better options out there in the market under the sub 10K segment itself.

If Asus priced this device under Rs. 10,000, then this could have become as a game changer.













  • Battery Life
  • Performance
  • Gaming
  • Camera


  • No Fast Charging
  • Lacks Full HD Display
  • Pricing

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