Battery life is the number one concern when people think about buying a new smartphone, to the point that if a phone had nearly double the longevity of even the most expensive flagship handsets, it would be easy to overlook some of its faults. But at some point deficiencies start to drag down the novelty of having a really big battery, which is precisely the problem with the Asus ZenFone 4 Max. This thing has one of the biggest batteries you can find in a smartphone—and it’s only $200! Yet budget components take all the fun out of it.
I don’t feel like I ask for much when it comes to budget phones: I’m mainly looking for a solid build and quality components new enough to not make the handset feel dated. At first glance, the $200 ZenFone 4 Max seems to fit the bill. It’s got a mostly aluminum build with a big 5.5-inch screen, a built-in fingerprint sensor and even dual cameras in back, a feature that’s all the rage among phone makers nowadays. Asus also gave the ZenFone 4 Max a card tray with room for two nano SIMs and a microSD card, so you don’t have to choose between easy multi-country cell service and expandable storage.
The ZenFone 4 Max’s battery life is some of the best I’ve ever seen.
Many components and specs are a little too budget, even for a phone that costs $200.
Reverse charging lets you use the ZenFone 4 as a battery pack, but you’ll need a dongle to charge devices with a USB-C port
Not compatible with CDMA networks (i.e. Verizon and Sprint)
Android 7.1 • 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 LCD screen • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 CPU • Adreno 505 GPU • 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage • built-in fingerprint sensor • 8-MP front camera • 13-MP main rear camera/5-MP 120-degree wide angle secondary rear camera • 802.11b/g/n wi-fi • Bluetooth 4.1 • dual SIM+microSD card slots • micro USB port • headphone jack • 5,000 mAh battery with reverse charging • no water-resistance.