In today’s world of smartphones, you can get a powerful smartphone for less than RM1k. We actually reviewed one smartphone that has great specs yet priced at only RM699 – and that’s the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) with 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. The smartphone is great for those who aim to only do singular tasks instead of multitasking, and only uses a few background apps. For those who wanted to do more, they sought for the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM version which is priced at RM999.

Since many parts of the 6GB RAM version of the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is the same as the 6GB version, we’ll be skipping them. You can find out more on our original review of the 3GB RAM version here.

Specifications

In terms of specs, it isn’t that much different from the 3GB RAM version, so let’s take a look at what has changed and what remained the same.

Chipset
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
    • 8×1.8 GHz Kyro 260
    • Adreno 509
RAM 6GB 4GB 3GB
Storage
  • 64 GB
  • supports microSD card up to 400 GB, dedicated slot
  • 32 GB
  • supports microSD card up to 400 GB, dedicated slot
Display
  • 5.99-inch
  • 18:9 IPS LCD
  • 1080 x 2160
Camera (rear)
  • 16 MP + 5 MP
  • f/2.2 + f/2.4
  • PDAF
  • 13 MP + 5 MP
  • f/2.2 + f/2.4
  • PDAF
Camera (front)
  • 16 MP
  • f/2.2
  • 8 MP
  • f/2.2
Battery Non-removable 5,000 mAh
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo
SIM Dual SIM (Nano) + MicroSD Slot
Connectivity
  • GSM / HSPA / LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.2 A2DP, LE
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Features Rear fingerprint scanner

Apart from having more RAM and bigger storage, it now sports a 16MP + 5MP dual rear-facing camera setup and another 16MP for selfies. Other parts of the phone remained exactly the same.

Unboxing

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

If you were to compare the box of both model, you won’t actually see any difference from the front. The main differentiator here is at the back of the phone, where it states the 3GB RAM or 6GB RAM.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

Now, the content is pretty much identical between two of the phones. Earphones, TPU case, the charger, and also the Garena Free Fire’s free orange techware set redemption code. Even the charger is still at 5V 2A – which I hoped ASUS to upgrade it to QuickCharge 3.0.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM version

It looks exactly the same as the 3GB version that we reviewed here. The only difference here is the color – which you can actually get it in silver or black. We have the silver colored version here.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

For the display, everything is the same as well. It still uses an 18:9 aspect ratio display with 2160×1080 resolution. It still comes with the triple dedicated slots that we have all come to love. Seriously, this is what smartphones should have nowadays – a dedicated SIM1 + SIM2 + microSD card slot like this.

Review - ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM 1

And yes, the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM version does come with a TPU case as well. Rather decent quality and it has those dots that create a separation layer between the case and the back of the phone to prevent scratches.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

Cameras

Between the 3 different variants of the ZenFone Max Pro (M1), the 6GB RAM variant gets an upgrade for the cameras. The rear-facing camera has been upgraded to a 16MP + 5MP dual-camera setup, and the selfie camera has also been upgraded to a 16MP sensor.

Review - ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM 2
The 16MP + 5MP rear-facing cameras

In terms of picture quality, it doesn’t look particularly magnificent compared when compared with some other smartphones in the market. Low-light photography is just abysmal and the shutter speed is slow.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB and 3GB RAM versions camera comparison

However, I do realize that the shots taken with the 6GB version is a lot brighter than the 3GB version – but has an issue where the images don’t appear to be as sharp. Perhaps a future software update on the camera can provide some improvement.

Take a look at some of the sample shots with the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB version here.

Performance

Honestly, there isn’t much different between the 3GB and 6GB RAM versions. We are able to compare the performance difference between the two ZenFone Max Pro (M1) with different RAM capacities – and the score differences are minimal throughout our tests.

Here are the screenshots of our benchmarks.

However, the benefit of having more RAM here can’t be shown in benchmarks. The only way we can describe the benefit is through experiencing the difference in user experience.

Here’s the brief summary of what’s up – I can multitask better with the 6GB RAM version of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1). I don’t have to worry my games getting killed by the RAM management algorithm when I switch to Chrome browser.

To be frank, the 3GB RAM is really insufficient for my day-to-day use. Purely for gaming alone, I’m fine with it since we’re talking about single tasks at a time. When we’re talking about multitasking – which actually includes running WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger at the background. Some other apps like Facebook, Twitter, Lazada, Shopee, and similar apps will send you notifications in the background too – and at least a part of the app is running in the background. With that many background apps running, I consistently use around 3GB of RAM. That’s where the benefit of the 6GB RAM version of the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) comes in.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

With double the RAM capacity, I can do run many more apps and do more things at the same time – and I don’t have to worry about my apps getting murdered by the RAM management algorithm. And since apps aren’t murdered, the apps do not have to restart each time I launch them – thus resulting in better battery life. In today’s world of mobile computing, it doesn’t really happen that often – but it does take a toll on the battery life if it happens often enough.

Remember when those “RAM management” apps that kills every single app running except the Android itself that used to be popular in the Google Play Store? That’s the reason why they aren’t used anymore.

Verdict

The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB version is still the same old phone with the 3GB version that we reviewed here. You still have the 5,000mAh battery and the energy-efficient Snapdragon 636 together with a large 6-inch 18:9 FullView display with 1080p resolution, together with dedicated SIM1 + SIM2 + MicroSD card slots. Also, the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) comes with pure Android experience – which ASUS actually hinted that it’ll be upgradable to Android 9.0 Pie in the future – though no one knows how long they’ll take.

Review - ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM 3

ASUS did try to sweeten the deal for the 6GB variant of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) by bumping up the internal storage capacity and the camera to 16MP while doubling the RAM to 6GB. However, the only main highlight here is actually the RAM itself. Doubling the RAM does help a lot in terms of day-to-day use, especially for heavy users like me. The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is still a compelling offer – until we looked at the price.

For the retail price at RM999 at Lazada, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is not really such a compelling offer. We have the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 that actually has the same Snapdragon 636 and 6GB of RAM but with a lower price and supposedly better camera.

Pros

  • Still the same phone as the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 3GB version
  • Dedicated dual SIM slots and a MicroSD slot
  • Very good battery life
  • More RAM means more multitasking

Cons

  • Camera still isn’t great even with 16MP sensor
  • Price is not as compelling as the competitor

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