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[Share] Zenfone 5 vs. Zenfone Max Pro M2: Beauty and the Beast

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jrbcarino PHL Level 4 | All posts
Last edited by jrbcarino on 2019/2/8 21:33

Hi guys! It's been a while since I posted a review here in Zentalk. I'm here to answer one common question that I come across in various social media platforms: What should I buy and which is better than the two, Zenfone 5 (2018) or Zenfone Max Pro M2 (2019)


Before I give out my verdict, let me share my own version of comparison between the two devices, given that I currently am using both.

So let's begin!

1. Build Design


Asus is known for creating beautiful devices and both Zenfone 5 and Zenfone Max Pro M2 are no exceptions. Both devices are clad in glass front, the Zenfone 5 back remains glass while Pro M2's back is made of a polycarbonate glass-looking material which brings out the beauty in their designs. Both devices are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass: v3 for the Zenfone 5 and v6 for the Max Pro M2 - which says that Max Pro M2 is more scratch resistant than 5. Still, glass is glass and no matter how you protect it, it will scratch so I still recommend slapping a screen protector, preferably on both sides. Design wise, I prefer the Zenfone 5. It looks classier and is prettier to look at.

WINNER: Zenfone 5

2. Display


Specs wise, Zenfone 5 and Max Pro M2 are not that different. The only noticeable difference is the screen size. They also both sport a notch on top but the Max Pro M2 seems to have a smaller one. Unfortunately, smaller doesn't mean better. The Max Pro M2's notch extends lower than the UI's status bar and it is annoyingly noticeable in all apps unlike the Zenfone 5's notch which also has an option to be hidden. The display of apps in the Zenfone 5  can also be adjusted by extending it out of the notch or into the notch. Zenfone 5 wins by a mile because of those options. Even with limitations, Max Pro M2 looks brighter because of the absence of an automatic warming filter for the screen, which might be better for some people.

WINNER: Zenfone 5 wins this round, because of the options for the notch, and the inclusion of an automatic warming filter which in my opinion is better than pure white light.

3. Sound Quality

Both devices sound great but if you listen closely, the Zenfone 5 has better audio output overall. Also, the louder Max Pro M2 gets, the more audible the cracked sound gets. I even tried to play Spotify on both devices to hear the difference and it showed. It's not easily detectable because both still have great speakers, but audiophiles will hear the difference.


Zenfone 5 also has a built in equalizer (AudioWizard) which helps it gain better sound output than Max Pro M2.

For a regular user, Max Pro M2 won't really be a problem.

WINNER: Zenfone 5

4. Performance


Both devices are equipped with a Snapdragon 600 series processor: 636 for the Zenfone 5 and 660 for the Max Pro M2. Both also runs on Adreno 500 series GPU: 509 for the Zenfone 5 while 512 for the Max Pro M2. Zenfone 5 may be equipped with a newer processor but it doesn't mean that it is stronger. Max Pro M2 has more power than the Zenfone 5 and is better in handling games. That doesn't mean Zenfone 5 lags behind. Both are also capable in handling AI tasks but since Zenfone 5 has the newer processor, it handles it better than the Max Pro M2.  


As for my experience, both devices breezed through any application that you give it. Some open faster in Zenfone 5 (like Facebook, Instagram) while others open faster in Max Pro M1 (like Mobile Legends, Twitter). You will not notice the difference at all if you're not paying real close attention.

They are almost equal in performance but Max Pro M2 wins this round. It truly is built for gaming.

WINNER: Zenfone Max Pro M2

5. Battery

You would say that because of Max Pro M2's 5000mAh battery, that it would be a clear winner here but you're absolutely incorrect. Zenfone 5 is equipped with a better battery saving feature from its chipset that let's it last longer with use than that of Max Pro M2. Playing Mobile Legends (with the same settings on both device) got my Max Pro M2 draining faster than my Zenfone 5. The only difference is that Max Pro M2 lasted a little longer because of its very huge battery.


On standby, both phones last days but the Max Pro M2 lasts longer because of its huge battery.


Winner: Zenfone Max Pro M2 still wins this round because if you're a power user, you would definitely want to have that extra oomph in battery.

6. Charging

One thing I really really dislike about the Zenfone Max Pro M2 is the absence of quick charging technology. The Zenfone 5, with its 3000mAh battery, usually charges in an average of 1hr and 15 minutes. The Max Pro M2, however, charges in an average of 3 hours because of its huge 5000mAh battery and absence of quick charging and for a person who really doesn't like leaving things charging long, this is a step down.

Winner: Zenfone 5

7. UI

This is highly subjective but I really prefer ZenUI instead of Stock Android. I know Stock Android is easier to navigate through but ZenUI feels more fluid and has more features.


For me Zenfone 5 wins this round.

8. Camera: Front


The Max Pro M2 has a great front camera. I personally like it mote than the one on the Zenfone 5 because it produces clearer selfies (yes, clearer means more pores) but that doesn't mean Zenfone 5 is bad. Its front camera does the job and takes better daylight photos but Max Pro M2 takes better shots overall and it has the front facing flash which helps take clearer selfies even at night.

Shot with Zenfone 5

Shot with Zenfone Max Pro M2

Winner: Zenfone Max Pro M2

9. Camera: Back


In the battle of smartphone cameras, people say that megapixel count matter in comparing devices. I can definitely say that it doesn't. Zenfone 5 and Max Pro M2 are both equipped with 12 megapixel Sony lenses but that doesn't mean they are the same.

When I used the Max Pro M2 for photos, I could tell that this wasn't a regular 12mp camera and it felt as if it wasn't really 12mp because the camera of the Zenfone 5 produces so much better results. Don't get me wrong, Zenfone Max Pro M2 still takes good shots, Zenfone 5 just takes them a lot better. A whole lot better!


They also say DxOMark are just numbers, but for me, those numbers prove that your smartphone camera can handle anything you throw at it the higher the score you have. With a 93 photo mark, Zenfone 5 overpowers Max Pro M2 by a whole lot.

The photos I took from their cameras are completely different. The one from Max Pro M2 is good but very far from the shots the Zenfone 5 makes.

Shot with Zenfone 5

Shot with Zenfone Max Pro M2

Another difference is the addition of the wide angle lens for the Zenfone 5 instead of a depth sensor lens (which is pretty useless unless you are taking macro shots and portraits) which is in Max Pro M2.

Like UnboxTherapy once said, adding a second camera that has a different purpose (like telephoto, wide angle) is much better than just having a depth sensor camera that really doesn't do much.

WINNER: Overall, Zenfone 5 clearly wins this round by a mile. Max Pro M2 can still take good shots, but if you want the best photos possible, then Zenfone 5 is the phone for you.


Zenfone 5 is one of the most beautiful devices ever crafted by Asus and it clearly shows, while Zenfone Max Pro M2 is the terrifying beast when it comes to battery and performance. Both devices give out different qualities that will suit every user's needs.


Zenfone 5 is a mid-range flagship. Having it go head to head with Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a little bit unfair to that device because clearly, Zenfone 5 wins by a mile.

To be clear, even though Zenfone 5 won, it still depends on what you need for your day to day activities. If you want a phone that will last you for days and is enough for non-stop gaming, then Zenfone Max Pro M2 is the phone for you. BUT, if you want the overall package including one of the best cameras in the industry, then Zenfone 5 is the choice for you.


As for me, if you were to ask me what phone I would keep between my two devices, I'd definitely stick to Zenfone 5.
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