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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM variant — is it worth the extra money?
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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM variant — is it worth the extra money?

by Vyncent ChanAugust 22, 2018
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The ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) we previously reviewed came with 3GB RAM, and we gushed about how great value for money it was. Now that we have a 6GB variant in our office, does it offer the same value for money?

First off, there isn’t much difference between the two. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB has the exact same outlook, but we got the Deepsea Black variant to test, instead of the Meteor Silver ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 3GB we reviewed.

Specifications

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 3GBASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB
CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
GPU:Adreno 509
RAM:3GB LPDDR4X6GB LPDDR4X
Display:6.0″, FHD+ (2160×1080) 18:9 Full View IPS display, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 85% NTSC color gamut, 450 nits, 404ppi, 10-points multi-touch
Storage:32GB eMCP 5.1 (expandable via microSD up to 2TB) + 100GB Google Drive storage upgrade for 1 year64GB eMC 5.1 (expandable via microSD up to 2TB) + 100GB Google Drive storage upgrade for 1 year
Camera:13MP f/2.2 + 5MP f/2.4 rear camera
Single LED flash, 4K video
8MP f/2.2 front camera
16MP f/2.0 + 5MP f/2.4 rear camera
Single LED flash, 4K video
16MP f/2.0 front camera
OS:Android 8.1 Oreo (Pure Android)
Connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz) with Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.0 with HID
GSM, WCDMA, FDD-LTE (Bands 1/3/5/7/8/20), TD-LTE (Band 40), VoLTE
SIM:Dual nanoSIM + Dedicated MicroSD slot
Battery:5000 mAh (non-removable)
Weight:180 g

So here’s the difference in specifications. The first thing you will notice is the larger RAM and storage capacity of the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB. The cameras have also been upgraded, with 16MP f/2.0 cameras for both the front and rear. The rest of the specifications are shared between the two variants.

Performance

We will be running our usual suite of benchmarks. Antutu, Geekbench, 3DMark and PCMark to determine if the extra RAM yields a tangible performance boost in benchmarks.

And the short answer is NO. There is no appreciable difference between the benchmark scores. In fact, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB actually scores less than the 3GB variant in certain benchmarks.

User Experience

Now, both devices feature the same chipset, so I won’t go all out and tell you that the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB performs a whole lot better. But what I can say is that it is a fair bit smoother in daily use. My daily use involves a lot switching between social media apps and the Chrome browser, thus the 3GB RAM was definitely a limitation for me, with noticeable stuttering when switching apps on the go. With double the RAM at 6GB, I definitely enjoyed a more fluid experience.

Now the camera app is still retained, but the 16MP shooter definitely yields much better quality. The previous 13MP f/2.2 shooter does very poorly in dimmer environments. The new 16MP f/2.0 doesn’t entirely solve that, but at least noise is a lot better controlled here.

We didn’t bring the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 3GB to Taiwan, so here are some shots taken with the 6GB variant. Shutter speed is still very slow, and I found that I had to really practice my breathing techniques to get usable shots. We spent some time to use Snapseed on the images, and the images turned out a lot better. You can take a look at the full-sized edited shots on Flickr. The originals look a lot duller, and you check out the untouched samples here.  This shows that the processing is the main issue here, not the camera hardware. ASUS should definitely dump the Snapdragon Camera app and go back to the tried and tested PixelMaster app.

Conclusion

Is the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB as good a buy as the 3GB variant? I find it quite hard to recommend, to be honest. The camera is slightly better yes, and the extra RAM and storage does come handy. But, ASUS also offers the more affordable 4GB variant for RM849, with the same upgraded 16MP f/2.0 cameras on the front and back. The additional 2GB of RAM is not really going to get you anywhere, and at this price range, I am more interested in saving money. RM999 is actually pretty pricey for what this device here offers.

About The Author
Vyncent Chan
Technology enthusiast, casual gamer, pharmacy graduate. Strongly opposes proprietary standards and always on the look out for incredible bang-for-buck.

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