Notebookcheck

Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Martin Jungowski), 03/22/2018

Marathon runner. The ZenFone 4 Max is supposed to combine maximum battery life with awesome photo quality. Accordingly, it is equipped not just with a dual-camera, but even a wide-angle lens. That said, all that glitters is not (rose) gold, as we found out during our camera tests.

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Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL

Just over a year ago, we had the Asus ZenFone 3 Max in review - a smartphone that prided itself on its particularly large battery. Unfortunately, the device’s performance was subpar and inferior to similarly priced competing smartphones. This year’s successor is supposed to be better in every single aspect, and it even features a dual-camera setup with a wide-angle lens on top. A smaller 5.2-inch ZenFone 4 Max device, model number ZC520TL, is also available. Not only does it have a smaller screen, its battery capacity is also just 4,100 mAh, and it only features a quad-core instead of our review unit’s octa-core CPU.

The ZenFone 4 Max’s main competitors are other smartphones at similar price points, such as the Wiko WIM or the Samsung Galaxy J7. The Motorola Moto E4 Plus is also a worthy competitor - it is much cheaper, but equipped with a similarly large battery. And we are obviously also going to include last year’s Asus ZenFone 3 Max in order to witness any improvements or regressions first-hand.

At the time of writing, the Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL was available for $200 at various retail outlets.

Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL (Zenfone Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel 267 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 23.3 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio jack, Card Reader: MicroSD up to 256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM (850/​900/​1,800/​1,900), UMTS (850/​900/​2,100), LTE (B1/​B3/​B5/​B7/​B8/​B20/​B40), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.9 x 154 x 76.9 ( = 0.35 x 6.06 x 3.03 in)
Battery
19 Wh, 5000 mAh Lithium-Polymer, Quick Charge
Operating System
Android 7.1 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, videos @ 1080p/30fps (main camera); 5,0 MP, depth of field, wide angle lense (secondary camera)
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix 8.0MP, f/​2.2, LED flash
Additional features
Speakers: bottom-facing mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, USB OTG dongle, headset, USB power supply, USB cable, SIM tool, Themes, Selfie Master, Mobile Manager, Asus Webstorage, 24 Months Warranty, USB OTG, bandwidth (download/​upload): 150Mbps/​50Mbps (LTE), SAR: 0,302 W/kg (head), 1,2 W/kg (body), fanless
Weight
181 g ( = 6.38 oz / 0.4 pounds), Power Supply: 65 g ( = 2.29 oz / 0.14 pounds)
Price
269 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Compared to its 5.2-inch predecessor, the new model has grown slightly now to 5.5 inches. Therefore, it is not just bigger than its predecessor, but with its average thickness of 8.9 mm (~0.35 in) also quite bulky for a 5.5-inch smartphone. The rear cover is made of aluminum, and our review unit was clad in gentle Rose Gold. Other available colors include Gold and Black, and only the latter features a black front while the other two models are white instead. All things considered, the smartphone feels good in hand, and it is fairly soft and ergonomic thanks to its rounded edges.

Applying pressure to either side has immediate effects on the display, and we were able to warp the case slightly, which caused a visible ripple effect on the display. Overall, the build quality is quite decent. The metal case looks fairly premium, but the smartphone’s design is by no means especial in any way.

Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL

Size Comparison

Connectivity

One of the ZenFone 4 Max’s defining features is its triple slot for two SIM cards and one MicroSD (up to 256 GB card) at the same time. Unfortunately, MicroSD cards can only be formatted as external storage, and thus cannot be used to offload and store apps.

Equipped with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space, the 4 Max is identical to its own predecessor. It is not uncommon to see smartphones with just 16 GB of storage in the 4 Max’s price range. It is thus more than adequately equipped. It also supports USB OTG, but unfortunately lacks an NFC chip.

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Software

The ZenFone 4 Max is running Android 7.1.1 out of the box with up-to-date Android security patches (3/1/2018) at the time of writing. An update to Android 8 has already been announced, but Asus has not yet specified when exactly that is going to happen.

Asus’s own in-house user interface - ZenUI 4 - is preloaded on the 4 Max, and it comes with some useful apps for extra security or smartphone maintenance as well as an app called “Selfie Master”, which does exactly what the name suggests. The user interface supports themes. Various Facebook apps are preloaded as well, but these can be uninstalled if necessary.

Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Software
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Software
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Software
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Software

Communication and GPS

Wi-Fi support is limited to 802.11b/g/n only, and the Wi-Fi chip turned out to be quite lethargic to boot (just like its predecessor). Connected to our Linksys EA8500 reference router, the 4 Max only managed transfer speeds of 52.7 Mbps (receive). It does not support the less commonly used 5 GHz bands.

LTE support is limited to just 7 bands and a maximum download speed of 150 Mbps - the 4 Max is thus at the lower end of the spectrum. Using the 4 Max outside of Europe will be a major challenge due to the different LTE frequencies used in other regions of the world.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Wiko WIM
Adreno 506, 626, 64 GB eMMC Flash
351 MBit/s ∼100% +566%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
251 MBit/s ∼72% +376%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=297)
205 MBit/s ∼58% +289%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
121 MBit/s ∼34% +130%
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Adreno 505, 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
52.7 MBit/s ∼15%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 32 GB eMMC Flash
47.4 MBit/s ∼14% -10%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
42.1 MBit/s ∼12% -20%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
280 MBit/s ∼100% +424%
Wiko WIM
Adreno 506, 626, 64 GB eMMC Flash
276 MBit/s ∼99% +417%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=297)
200 MBit/s ∼71% +275%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
100 MBit/s ∼36% +87%
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
Adreno 505, 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
53.4 MBit/s ∼19%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 32 GB eMMC Flash
49.7 MBit/s ∼18% -7%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
46.8 MBit/s ∼17% -12%
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test at the window
GPS test at the window
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors

Indoors, the device had absolutely no GPS connectivity whatsoever, not even when standing at the window. Outside, GPS reception and accuracy (6 m/~20 ft) was decent. We determine GPS accuracy by taking every smartphone on a bicycle tour during which it is up against a professional Garmin Edge 500 GPS unit. Overall, the ZenFone 4 Max did fairly well with only minor deviations and departures from the actual track here and there. Thus, the GPS is more than decent enough for occasional use.

GPS Garmin Edge 500 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – path
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – path
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – loop
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – loop
GPS Asus ZenFone 4 Max – overview
GPS Asus ZenFone 4 Max – overview
GPS Asus ZenFone 4 Max – path
GPS Asus ZenFone 4 Max – path
GPS Asus ZenFone 4 Max – loop
GPS Asus ZenFone 4 Max – loop

Telephony and Call Quality

The telephone app has been modified by Asus. The keypad can be found at the bottom right underneath a list of recent calls. Access to contacts and groups is implemented via a tab bar at the top of the display.

Call quality was very good for a device this cheap, and we were particularly impressed by the high maximum earphone volume and the largely non-existent distortions at maximum volume. The microphone was very sensitive and had trouble with loud voices, but it worked just fine otherwise. Speakerphone performance was loud and clear, albeit not as loud as earphone performance. We did notice some static here and there, but by and large, speakerphone quality was more than decent.

Cameras

front-facing camera sample
front-facing camera sample
wide-angle camera sample
wide-angle camera sample

The ZenFone 4 Max does not claim to be a camera phone. Instead, its main emphasis is put on the large battery. Nevertheless, it features a dual-lens camera with a wide-angle lens at the back and a single-lens camera with LED flash at the front. The main camera’s resolution of 13 MP is accompanied by the wide-angle camera’s 5 MP sensor. It is worth noting that the latter is so wide that its photos show a very pronounced fish-eye effect, as can be seen on the photo to the right.

Back light photos turned out surprisingly well despite the loss of details in the sky. That said, photos were subjectively rather pale and seemed to have a red tint to them. A higher-quality camera, such as the one on the Google Pixel 2, will produce images much richer in detail. Poor lighting was a challenge for the ZenFone 4 Max, and once again higher-quality cameras did much better in these conditions.

Videos are recorded in FHD at 30 FPS, and as with the photos, the videos also seem somewhat pale and dull. Sudden changes in lighting were processed with a noticeable lag.

Assuming adequate lighting, the 8 MP front-facing camera did a very decent job. Given its fix-focus lens one has to carefully choose the distance between the object and the lens, though.

The extensive preloaded photo software is also a plus.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

The red tint that we have noticed in our outdoor photos was also found on our lab photos taken under normalized conditions. Image focus was excellent, although text against red backgrounds was somewhat blurry and scruffy. We have also noticed occasional artifacts around the edges, and color representation was decent, save for occasional deviations in greens. Color accuracy was acceptable, and the red tint was most visible on white surfaces.

reference card
reference card
reference card (magnified)
reference card (magnified)
ColorChecker. Reference color in lower half of each square.
ColorChecker. Reference color in lower half of each square.

Accessories and Warranty

The box contains the power supply, a USB cable, a SIM tool, a headset, and a USB OTG dongle; the only thing missing seems to be a protective case. Speaking of which: at the time of writing, there were no model-specific accessories available directly from Asus.

The phone is sold with a 24-month limited warranty.

Input Devices & Handling

Handling was very smooth overall. The touchscreen was very sensitive up to its edges and corners. A fingerprint reader capable of waking the phone from standby mode is located right underneath the display, and responded to our fingers quickly and reliably. Once unlocked, the button the reader is integrated into served as home button, enframed on either side by capacitive back and app switcher buttons. The home button as well as the right capacitive button can be remapped in the settings.

Various gestures can be found under “ZenMotion”. These include, but are not limited to double tapping to activate standby, flipping the phone over to mute all sounds, or automatically answering phone calls.

A simple mode and kid’s mode are also available, and they allow further customizations for one’s individual requirements and needs.

keyboard in portrait mode
keyboard in portrait mode
keyboard in landscape mode
keyboard in landscape mode

Display

subpixel geometry
subpixel geometry

The ZenFone 4 Max’s display resolution of just 1280x720 is fairly low considering its massive 5.5-inch screen even when taking its low price into account. Similarly priced phones often feature FHD displays instead. At just 394 nits, the average brightness was also quite low - the Lenovo Moto G5 Plus was more than 100 nits brighter. APL50 further confirmed our initial measurements. At 87%, the brightness distribution was decent enough for a somewhat uniform color representation, but it was far from ideal given that differences in display brightness were visible to the naked eye.

395
cd/m²
420
cd/m²
381
cd/m²
383
cd/m²
417
cd/m²
392
cd/m²
367
cd/m²
404
cd/m²
390
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 420 cd/m² Average: 394.3 cd/m² Minimum: 9.69 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 417 cd/m²
Contrast: 802:1 (Black: 0.52 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.8 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.76
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
IPS, 1280x720, 5.5
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
IPS, 1280x720, 5.5
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Wiko WIM
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.5
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Super AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.5
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
IPS, 1280x720, 5.2
Screen
17%
20%
-8%
34%
14%
Brightness middle
417
425
2%
503
21%
344
-18%
454
9%
507
22%
Brightness
394
425
8%
495
26%
353
-10%
463
18%
474
20%
Brightness Distribution
87
93
7%
96
10%
90
3%
86
-1%
85
-2%
Black Level *
0.52
0.37
29%
0.31
40%
0.53
-2%
Contrast
802
1149
43%
1623
102%
957
19%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.8
4.7
19%
6.2
-7%
5.7
2%
2
66%
4.7
19%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.5
8.3
13%
9.8
-3%
12.2
-28%
5.3
44%
7.2
24%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.2
4.6
12%
6.8
-31%
5.1
2%
1.7
67%
4.8
8%
Gamma
2.76 80%
2.17 101%
2.33 94%
2.73 81%
2.1 105%
2.25 98%
CCT
7467 87%
7445 87%
8113 80%
7407 88%
6394 102%
6441 101%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 2451 Hz ≤ 23 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 2451 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 23 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 2451 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8773 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Due to a rather high black level of 0.52 nits the display’s contrast ratio was just 802:1, and thus the lowest of all candidates in our test group. In addition, we found PWM flickering at brightness levels of 23% and below. Fortunately, the frequency was high enough to not cause any issues.

Color accuracy was pretty poor, but at least sRGB color space coverage was very good. Gray scale representation suffered from a quite severe blue tint.

CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color space
CalMAN color space
CalMAN gray scale
CalMAN gray scale
CalMAN saturation
CalMAN saturation

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
16.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 6.4 ms rise
↘ 10.4 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 14 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 19.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 38 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Despite the fast and reliable ambient light sensor, outdoor usage turned out to be something of a mixed bag due to the display’s low maximum brightness. The screen is highly reflective, which was particularly bothersome on bright sunny days.

Viewing angles were decent, and we did not notice any signs of loss of brightness or deviation of colors, even at acute angles.

outdoors - maximum brightness
outdoors - maximum brightness
viewing angles
viewing angles

Performance

Granted, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 is not the fastest SoC, but it is still a massive improvement over last year’s ZenFone 3 Max. Looking at the devices in our test group, the 4 Max was significantly faster than the Motorola Moto E4 Plus but practically outclassed by the Moto G5 Plus (between 20 and 40% depending on benchmark). The 4 Max’s Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU is also a noticeable improvement over last year’s model; while it beat the Moto E4 Plus hands down, it was unable to keep up with the rest of the field.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
42798 Points ∼17%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
30619 Points ∼12% -28%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
64705 Points ∼26% +51%
Wiko WIM
67000 Points ∼27% +57%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
47339 Points ∼19% +11%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
30365 Points ∼12% -29%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (42798 - 47066, n=15)
44925 Points ∼18% +5%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 250848, n=382)
74754 Points ∼30% +75%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
3827 Points ∼37%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
2768 Points ∼27% -28%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
5039 Points ∼49% +32%
Wiko WIM
4660 Points ∼45% +22%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3722 Points ∼36% -3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (3508 - 3892, n=13)
3699 Points ∼36% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (0 - 9868, n=247)
4493 Points ∼44% +17%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
5290 Points ∼40%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
3624 Points ∼27% -31%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
6285 Points ∼48% +19%
Wiko WIM
5621 Points ∼43% +6%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
4920 Points ∼37% -7%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
2517 Points ∼19% -52%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (3347 - 5290, n=15)
4632 Points ∼35% -12%
Average of class Smartphone (3681 - 13211, n=415)
4907 Points ∼37% -7%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
816 Points ∼40%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
620 Points ∼30% -24%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
699 Points ∼34% -14%
Wiko WIM
933 Points ∼46% +14%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
10 Points ∼0% -99%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
703 Points ∼35% -14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (10 - 866, n=14)
461 Points ∼23% -44%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=491)
691 Points ∼34% -15%
Graphics (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
715 Points ∼2%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
208 Points ∼1% -71%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
1007 Points ∼3% +41%
Wiko WIM
965 Points ∼3% +35%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
533 Points ∼2% -25%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
210 Points ∼1% -71%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (715 - 788, n=14)
740 Points ∼3% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=491)
1695 Points ∼6% +137%
Memory (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
742 Points ∼12%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
591 Points ∼9% -20%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
991 Points ∼16% +34%
Wiko WIM
1007 Points ∼16% +36%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
1265 Points ∼20% +70%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
780 Points ∼12% +5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (530 - 1209, n=14)
771 Points ∼12% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=491)
1218 Points ∼19% +64%
System (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
1761 Points ∼11%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
1086 Points ∼7% -38%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2746 Points ∼17% +56%
Wiko WIM
3549 Points ∼22% +102%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
2368 Points ∼14% +34%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
1041 Points ∼6% -41%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (1281 - 2154, n=14)
1714 Points ∼10% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=491)
2464 Points ∼15% +40%
Overall (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
935 Points ∼11%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
536 Points ∼6% -43%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
1176 Points ∼14% +26%
Wiko WIM
1339 Points ∼16% +43%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
353 Points ∼4% -62%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
588 Points ∼7% -37%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (0 - 1055, n=15)
654 Points ∼8% -30%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=495)
1229 Points ∼15% +31%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
2089 Points ∼5%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
952 Points ∼2% -54%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2688 Points ∼6% +29%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
2371 Points ∼5% +13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (1731 - 2224, n=10)
2031 Points ∼5% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 21070, n=188)
4393 Points ∼10% +110%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
2466 Points ∼7%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
1562 Points ∼4% -37%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
4319 Points ∼12% +75%
Wiko WIM
4562 Points ∼13% +85%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3777 Points ∼10% +53%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (2270 - 2889, n=13)
2575 Points ∼7% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=238)
4242 Points ∼12% +72%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
651 Points ∼10%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
556 Points ∼9% -15%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
844 Points ∼13% +30%
Wiko WIM
939 Points ∼15% +44%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
736 Points ∼12% +13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (619 - 681, n=13)
654 Points ∼10% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=239)
1251 Points ∼20% +92%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
1217 Points ∼29%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
783 Points ∼19% -36%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2152 Points ∼51% +77%
Wiko WIM
2106 Points ∼50% +73%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
1522 Points ∼36% +25%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
699 Points ∼17% -43%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (1034 - 1360, n=15)
1192 Points ∼28% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (549 - 4183, n=344)
1627 Points ∼39% +34%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
244 Points ∼5%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
79 Points ∼1% -68%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
383 Points ∼7% +57%
Wiko WIM
381 Points ∼7% +56%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
199 Points ∼4% -18%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
83 Points ∼2% -66%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (234 - 271, n=15)
249 Points ∼5% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (69 - 5241, n=344)
1166 Points ∼22% +378%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
297 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
99 Points ∼2% -67%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
469 Points ∼10% +58%
Wiko WIM
466 Points ∼10% +57%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
247 Points ∼5% -17%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
103 Points ∼2% -65%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (284 - 330, n=15)
303 Points ∼6% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (86 - 4734, n=352)
1115 Points ∼24% +275%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
1212 Points ∼29%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
753 Points ∼18% -38%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2150 Points ∼52% +77%
Wiko WIM
2140 Points ∼52% +77%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
1535 Points ∼37% +27%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
741 Points ∼18% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (1002 - 1339, n=15)
1194 Points ∼29% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4150, n=376)
1522 Points ∼37% +26%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
502 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
133 Points ∼2% -74%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
722 Points ∼9% +44%
Wiko WIM
742 Points ∼9% +48%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
278 Points ∼3% -45%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
128 Points ∼2% -75%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (483 - 535, n=15)
508 Points ∼6% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (55 - 8312, n=376)
1599 Points ∼19% +219%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
577 Points ∼9%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
163 Points ∼3% -72%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
847 Points ∼13% +47%
Wiko WIM
868 Points ∼13% +50%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
340 Points ∼5% -41%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
157 Points ∼2% -73%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (554 - 613, n=15)
582 Points ∼9% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (69 - 6454, n=384)
1361 Points ∼21% +136%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
10364 Points ∼13%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
8390 Points ∼11% -19%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
8390 Points ∼11% -19%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
16267 Points ∼21% +57%
Wiko WIM
16939 Points ∼21% +63%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
12955 Points ∼16% +25%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
7298 Points ∼9% -30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (8864 - 10364, n=14)
9165 Points ∼12% -12%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=530)
12735 Points ∼16% +23%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
9627 Points ∼2%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
3183 Points ∼1% -67%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
3183 Points ∼1% -67%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
13380 Points ∼3% +39%
Wiko WIM
13241 Points ∼2% +38%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
7456 Points ∼1% -23%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
3369 Points ∼1% -65%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (9342 - 10271, n=14)
9721 Points ∼2% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 162695, n=530)
17607 Points ∼3% +83%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
9782 Points ∼5%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
3692 Points ∼2% -62%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
3692 Points ∼2% -62%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
13929 Points ∼7% +42%
Wiko WIM
14074 Points ∼7% +44%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
8318 Points ∼4% -15%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
3827 Points ∼2% -61%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (9231 - 9977, n=15)
9586 Points ∼5% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=531)
14817 Points ∼7% +51%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
16 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
6 fps ∼0% -62%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
23 fps ∼0% +44%
Wiko WIM
23 fps ∼0% +44%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
12 fps ∼0% -25%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
5.9 fps ∼0% -63%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (15 - 18, n=15)
16.3 fps ∼0% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=554)
30.4 fps ∼0% +90%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
25 fps ∼1%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
11 fps ∼0% -56%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
19 fps ∼1% -24%
Wiko WIM
23 fps ∼1% -8%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
12 fps ∼0% -52%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
10 fps ∼0% -60%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (14 - 27, n=15)
20.7 fps ∼1% -17%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=557)
24.5 fps ∼1% -2%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
7.1 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
2.2 fps ∼0% -69%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
9.9 fps ∼0% +39%
Wiko WIM
10 fps ∼0% +41%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
5.1 fps ∼0% -28%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
2.2 fps ∼0% -69%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (6.7 - 7.7, n=15)
7.15 fps ∼0% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=476)
16.3 fps ∼0% +130%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
14 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
4.8 fps ∼0% -66%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
10 fps ∼0% -29%
Wiko WIM
10 fps ∼0% -29%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
5.1 fps ∼0% -64%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
4.7 fps ∼0% -66%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (6.6 - 15, n=15)
11 fps ∼0% -21%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=479)
15.6 fps ∼0% +11%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
4.6 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
1.4 fps ∼0% -70%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
7 fps ∼0% +52%
Wiko WIM
6.4 fps ∼0% +39%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3.3 fps ∼0% -28%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
1.4 fps ∼0% -70%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (2.2 - 4.9, n=15)
4.27 fps ∼0% -7%
Average of class Smartphone (1.3 - 88, n=339)
13.9 fps ∼0% +202%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
10 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
3.4 fps ∼0% -66%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3.1 fps ∼0% -69%
Wiko WIM
6.4 fps ∼0% -36%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3.2 fps ∼0% -68%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
3.4 fps ∼0% -66%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (4.3 - 11, n=15)
7.65 fps ∼0% -23%
Average of class Smartphone (2.6 - 110, n=342)
13.6 fps ∼0% +36%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
2.5 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3.8 fps ∼0% +52%
Wiko WIM
3.8 fps ∼0% +52%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
1.9 fps ∼0% -24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (2.4 - 2.7, n=15)
2.54 fps ∼0% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (0.72 - 54, n=271)
9.64 fps ∼0% +286%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
5.2 fps ∼0%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3.5 fps ∼0% -33%
Wiko WIM
3.5 fps ∼0% -33%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
1.9 fps ∼0% -63%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (2.4 - 5.9, n=15)
4.09 fps ∼0% -21%
Average of class Smartphone (1.1 - 58, n=274)
8.71 fps ∼0% +68%

Legend

 
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937), Qualcomm Adreno 505, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Wiko WIM Qualcomm Snapdragon 626, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 Samsung Exynos 7870 Octa, ARM Mali-T830 MP1, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash

Browser benchmark results paint a similar picture. The ZenFone 3 Max and the Moto E4 Plus were lagging behind noticeably while the other competitors were significantly faster. Website load times on the ZenFone 4 Max were pretty long overall, but the SoC is fast enough for decently written HTML5 pages.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 90938, n=413)
256 Points ∼100% +1330%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus (Chrome 57)
30.72 Points ∼12% +72%
Wiko WIM (Chrome Version 59)
26.965 Points ∼11% +51%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (Samsung Browser 5.4)
25.972 Points ∼10% +45%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (17.6 - 21.5, n=14)
19.3 Points ∼8% +8%
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL (Chrome 64)
17.9 Points ∼7%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL (Chrome 55)
16.471 Points ∼6% -8%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus (Chrome 60)
14.55 Points ∼6% -19%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=549)
5464 Points ∼100% +86%
Wiko WIM (Chrome Version 59)
4625 Points ∼85% +57%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (Samsung Browser 5.4)
4560 Points ∼83% +55%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus (Chrome 57)
4432 Points ∼81% +51%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (2604 - 3438, n=15)
3181 Points ∼58% +8%
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL (Chrome 64)
2939 Points ∼54%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL (Chrome 55)
2534 Points ∼46% -14%
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus (Chrome 60)
2273 Points ∼42% -23%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus (Chrome 60)
17405 ms * ∼100% -35%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL (Chrome 55)
14983 ms * ∼86% -16%
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL (Chrome 64)
12881 ms * ∼74%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (10396 - 14709, n=15)
12507 ms * ∼72% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=569)
11571 ms * ∼66% +10%
Wiko WIM (Chrome Version 59)
8781.2 ms * ∼50% +32%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus (Chrome 57)
8048.8 ms * ∼46% +38%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (Samsung Browser 5.4)
6820.9 ms * ∼39% +47%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Average of class Smartphone (27 - 362, n=277)
109 Points ∼100%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus (Chrome 57)
85 Points ∼78%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (Samsung Browser 5.4)
75 Points ∼69%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) (42 - 82, n=9)
60.4 Points ∼55%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL (Chrome 55)
35 Points ∼32%

* ... smaller is better

When benchmarked with our MicroSD reference card, a Toshiba Exceria Pro M501, the ZenFone 4 Max turned out to be very fast. In fact, read performance was better than on every single one of its competitors.

Internal storage read speeds were also very fast, but write performance was pretty poor in return. Accordingly, the 4 Max was outperformed by the Wiko WIM and the Moto G5 Plus.

Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KLLenovo Moto E4 PlusLenovo Moto G5 PlusWiko WIMSamsung Galaxy J7 2017Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TLAverage 32 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-4%
96%
17%
-17%
-35%
4%
-5%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
57.83 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
46.6
-19%
56.93 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-2%
61.4
6%
63.86 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
10%
29.59 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-49%
47.1 (3.4 - 87.1, n=111)
-19%
45.2 (3.4 - 87.1, n=313)
-22%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
84.38 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
66.3
-21%
74.72 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-11%
83.8
-1%
76.12 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-10%
47.67 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-44%
66.3 (8.2 - 96.5, n=111)
-21%
63.5 (8.2 - 96.5, n=313)
-25%
Random Write 4KB
12.3
29.4
139%
67
445%
13.34
8%
10.54
-14%
9.1
-26%
18.9 (0.75 - 77.3, n=149)
54%
15.7 (0.14 - 164, n=598)
28%
Random Read 4KB
39.3
19.15
-51%
68
73%
38.1
-3%
25.86
-34%
20.9
-47%
36.2 (3.59 - 117, n=149)
-8%
37.6 (1.59 - 173, n=599)
-4%
Sequential Write 256KB
70.8
42
-41%
132.5
87%
136.67
93%
52.98
-25%
65.15
-8%
94.6 (14.8 - 189, n=149)
34%
78.8 (2.99 - 246, n=599)
11%
Sequential Read 256KB
273
194.4
-29%
233.4
-15%
272.08
0%
198.47
-27%
174.2
-36%
230 (25.8 - 440, n=149)
-16%
227 (12.1 - 895, n=599)
-17%

Gaming

Thanks to the display’s low resolution, the ZenFone 4 Max turned out to be a somewhat decent gaming device. Both “Angry Birds” and “Dead Trigger 2” were running very smoothly. Response times were fast, and we had no issues with the touch screen or the orientation sensor while gaming.

Angry Birds
Angry Birds
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2

Emissions

Temperature

The maximum surface temperature under load was 35.1 °C (~95 °F) and limited to a tiny area. It was thus barely noticeable. Idle temperatures were much lower. All things considered, the ZenFone 4 Max remained comparatively cool.

Max. Load
 34.7 °C
94 F
33.5 °C
92 F
28.5 °C
83 F
 
 35.1 °C
95 F
32.5 °C
91 F
29.8 °C
86 F
 
 32.1 °C
90 F
31.6 °C
89 F
29.8 °C
86 F
 
Maximum: 35.1 °C = 95 F
Average: 32 °C = 90 F
29 °C
84 F
29.6 °C
85 F
30.9 °C
88 F
28.8 °C
84 F
29.3 °C
85 F
30.8 °C
87 F
28.3 °C
83 F
29.3 °C
85 F
30.8 °C
87 F
Maximum: 30.9 °C = 88 F
Average: 29.6 °C = 85 F
Power Supply (max.)  30.6 °C = 87 F | Room Temperature 20.6 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 32 °C / 90 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.1 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 35.8 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 30.9 °C / 88 F, compared to the average of 34.3 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28.7 °C / 84 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
heatmap front
heatmap front
heatmap rear
heatmap rear

Speaker

pink noise
pink noise

The ZenFone 4 Max’s speaker is located at the bottom of the device. Voices sounded rather tinny, but the music quality turned out to be quite decent. The ZenFone 3 Max had less pronounced mids and much more prominent highs leading to a much more tinny soundscape. Thus, the speaker has seen some noteworthy improvements. Unfortunately, it does not get as loud as it used to on the predecessor anymore.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.2452532.943.83137.239.14031.7405039.642.76328.329.98027.324.910026.930.312526.734.61602429.720020.935.625020.944.131519.549.840018.555.450017.556.763017.557.480015.758.6100015.865.3125016.666160015.865.8200015.466.1250015.568.931501670400015.868.350001669.4630016.371.5800016.370.61000016.270.91250016.472.61600016.468.3SPL28.680.3N1.144.8median 16.4median 65.8Delta2.19.931.64125.44125.335.432.930.533.633.331.627.728.429.62727.520.824.22229.221.326.720.834.721.242.919.44919.555.317.760.817.967.417.874.817.379.117.47916.777.317.276.218.274.117.973.517.676.617.775.417.87817.97918.166.518.258.630881.368.5median 17.9median 67.41.316.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAsus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KLAsus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.5% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (2.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 20% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 69% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 51% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 41% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (88.04 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 36.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 9.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 8.7% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (32.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 89% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 7% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 92% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 5% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)

Power Management

Power Consumption

Power consumption was fairly low as long as the phone was idle. In fact, it was lower than on many other comparable smartphones. Unfortunately, the tables were turned once we started using the device. 5.84 W maximum power consumption under load means that the phone was second to last in our test group, which was also true of the average power consumption under load.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.18 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.67 / 1.63 / 1.77 Watt
Load midlight 3.68 / 5.84 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
5000 mAh
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
5000 mAh
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3000 mAh
Wiko WIM
3200 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3600 mAh
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
4100 mAh
Power Consumption
-2%
-5%
13%
42%
-25%
Idle Minimum *
0.67
0.89
-33%
0.91
-36%
0.93
-39%
0.39
42%
0.74
-10%
Idle Average *
1.63
1.87
-15%
1.83
-12%
1.28
21%
1.06
35%
2.04
-25%
Idle Maximum *
1.77
1.98
-12%
1.87
-6%
1.37
23%
1.08
39%
2.22
-25%
Load Average *
3.68
3.04
17%
3.17
14%
2.39
35%
1.82
51%
5.57
-51%
Load Maximum *
5.84
4.01
31%
4.87
17%
4.25
27%
3.21
45%
6.59
-13%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

At 5000 mAh, or 19 Wh, the battery is indeed very large. Accordingly, the ZenFone 4 Max lasted for almost 16 hours in our Wi-Fi test loading and scrolling through websites in a loop. The battery should therefore easily last for two full days of regular use, and casual users might even get by with just one or two charge cycles per week. Thanks to Quick Charge, charging the battery from near empty to full takes just two hours. According to Asus, a total of 12 techniques aimed at improving the battery’s life time as well as reducing the risk of overheating have been implemented.

Second place in the battery benchmarks goes to the Samsung Galaxy J7, which ran out of power a mere 50 minutes before the ZenFone 4 Max, despite its much smaller battery.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
15h 52min
Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL
5000 mAh
Lenovo Moto E4 Plus
5000 mAh
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3000 mAh
Wiko WIM
3200 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3600 mAh
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
4100 mAh
Battery Runtime
-17%
-22%
-48%
-5%
-14%
Reader / Idle
1206
1950
1462
WiFi v1.3
952
788
-17%
746
-22%
492
-48%
904
-5%
814
-14%
Load
325
525
301
H.264
799
1096
845

Pros

+ very long battery life
+ stays cool
+ usability
+ extensive software
+ security patches up to date
+ USB OTC
+ separate MicroSD slot
+ decent speaker
+ plenty of accessories
+ fast MicroSD card reader

Cons

- slow Wi-Fi without support for 5 GHz
- limited selection of LTE bands
- comparatively high power consumption
- low display brightness
- red tint on photos
- wide angle lens distorts photos around the edges
- 720p display
- pressure-sensitive case

Verdict

In review: Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL. Review unit courtesy of Asus Germany.
In review: Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL. Review unit courtesy of Asus Germany.

The ZenFone 4 Max’s long battery life is quite special indeed. Not only are charging cycles few and far between, the battery is also fully charged very quickly. Furthermore, it is neither particularly heavy nor particularly chunky. Unfortunately, the camera was somewhat of a disappointment: photos are practically useless when taken under less than ideal lighting conditions, and the wide-angle lens’s fish-eye effect is too pronounced. While this effect could make for some nice photo effects, the visible red tint cannot, and it is very irritating. Wi-Fi and LTE support is quite limited, and the display’s resolution and maximum brightness are too low.

Now that we have all the negatives out of the way, let us focus on the positives. Call quality was quite decent on both earphone and speakerphone, the speaker was better than expected, and the metal case is quite fancy. The phone stays very cool by and large, the preloaded software is quite comprehensive, and so are the phone’s handling capabilities. Security patches were up-to-date at the time of writing, and an update to Android 8 is bound to arrive any day now.

Were it not for its ginormous battery, the ZenFone 4 Max would probably be considered just another fish in the sea of Android smartphones. However, if long battery life is of relevance to you, the ZenFone 4 Max is definitely worth considering.

Overall the device’s performance was solid with a positive peak in terms of battery life. If you do not mind the aforementioned drawbacks, or are looking for a smartphone with long battery life, the ZenFone 4 Max might be the right phone for you. That said, we cannot give the phone our full and unconditional endorsement just yet.

Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL - 03/16/2018 v6
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
67 / 75 → 90%
Pointing Device
96%
Connectivity
38 / 60 → 63%
Weight
90%
Battery
99%
Display
83%
Games Performance
19 / 63 → 31%
Application Performance
43 / 70 → 61%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Audio
56 / 91 → 62%
Camera
60%
Average
72%
83%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Asus ZenFone 4 Max ZC554KL Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2018-03-22 (Update: 2018-05-15)