Just a few days ago, before the official launch of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro, I had the opportunity to attend the pre-launch briefing of ASUS’s new smartphone. During the briefing, I must have heard the names “Xiaomi Note 5 Pro” & “Redmi Note 5” being mentioned more than the ZenFone Max Pro, which is where I figured that ASUS is really in the mood to dethrone Xiaomi from the top.
Their weapon of choice, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro!
Design & Display
The most surprising bit about the ZenFone Max Pro is definitely its ergonomic design. It comes in at 180 grams which is still 1 gram lighter than the Redmi Note 5 Pro despite housing a slightly bigger battery!
Each comes with a brushed metal finish at the back which gives both a premium touch. Though, of the two, I found the Redmi more comfortable to use purely because of the sharp edges. Some plus points for the grip.
Both come with a bezel-less full HD+ 5.99-inch screens which are good.
One thing I did notice when I turned adaptive display off on both the devices and turned the brightness down to its lowest. The ZenFone Max was still brighter than the Redmi Note 5, but that doesn’t mean that the ZenFone screen is any better. Just an observation.
Performance & Hardware
ASUS picked on of the best performing processors in the market and bundled it with its new phone. Yes, both the Note 5 and the Max Pro run on the Snapdragon 636 processor. Now, that really heats up things here.
The interesting bit here is that the Redmi Note 5 comes in two variants being the 4GB and 6GB whereas the Max Pro offers only a 3GB and 4GB variant. Maybe ASUS feels it’s not a 6GB RAM market after all. There is hardly any difference in terms of performance although one would only go for a 6GB variant just to satisfy his pocket.
The Max Pro offers ‘almost’ stock Android experience with ‘almost’ no bloatware. It comes updated with the latest Android Oreo but again it’s tough to coerce the MIUI lovers.
Though, I am not a big fan of custom user interfaces, I still feel ASUS has done a decent job with the ZenUI in the Max Pro. Also, I feel the sound output is much better on the ZenFone.
The biggest advantage that the Max Pro holds is that it comes with a dual-SIM card slot and separate MicroSD card slot. The Note 5 Pro has only a hybrid dual-SIM card slot.
Camera & Battery
The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a 16+5-megapixel rear camera and a 20-megapixel camera on the front. This compared to the ASUS’s 13+5-megapixel setup is much superior.
Considering the price bracket, I can overlook some of the blemishes in both the cameras but when pitted against each other, the Xiaomi camera setup definitely has an upper hand advantage.
The most upsetting bit about the Max Pro camera is that it doesn’t offer the option of shift exposure when you’re recording videos. You can only shift exposure while clicking pictures.
Even the camera interface on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is much more easier to navigate. Sorry ASUS, but the camera interface disappointed me.
Here are some of the samples clicked from both the phones:
A whopping 5000mAh sits inside the Max Pro and once charged forget about finding a charging socket for at least the next two days. Its battery management capabilities are very efficient.
Though, the Note 5 Pro comes with a lesser 4000mAh battery pack, still, it is capable of delivering ample amount of juice. Obviously not as much as the Max Pro.
Which One to Buy?
The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Redmi Note 5 Pro when you take into consideration some of the specs like display, processor and even the display, but there’s still a lot of ground it needs to cover up in terms of other features.
Like the camera setup on the Max Pro isn’t up to the mark and it needs major work in that space.
The Zenfone Max Pro has been priced at Rs 12,999 for the 4GB variant while the 4GB Redmi comes in at Rs 13,999.
If I were to pick one of the two, I’ll definitely go for the Redmi Note 5 Pro just because it has a much better camera setup and I at least will not compromise my camera experience for a difference of 1000 rupees. Would you?
BUT! If you’re wanting that extra battery juice on your phone and really are into the whole “pure-Android” experience and hunting for the same in the sub-15k price bracket, then the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro fits the bill perfectly.
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