ASUS' ZenFone Max Pro M1 was one of the best budget phones of 2018, with the Taiwanese manufacturer managing to keep up with Xiaomi. Barely six months later, ASUS is looking to continue that momentum with the ZenFone Max Pro M2, which offers a slew of upgrades while retaining the same great price point.
The Max Pro M2 features a 6.26-inch Full HD+ 19:9 display backed by Gorilla Glass 6, with ASUS noting that it is the first manufacturer to bring Gorilla Glass 6 protection to the budget category. The M1 was powered by the Snapdragon 636, and ASUS is now offering the beefier Snapdragon 660 in the M2. The phone also has better cameras in the form of a 12MP f/1.8 + 5MP depth sensor at the back, and a 13MP f/2.0 front camera with LED flash.
You'd expect this kind of hardware on phones that cost well over $400.
Notably, the Max Pro M2 comes with just three pre-installed apps: Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. That said, the phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with the Pie update slated to hit the device in January. ASUS said it couldn't wait for the stable Pie build as it would've delayed the launch, and therefore it decided to roll out the phone with Oreo instead. Similarly, the brand mentioned that it will add AI-assisted scene detection and a manual mode to the camera later this month.
Elsewhere, you'll find a massive 5000mAh battery that should easily deliver two days' worth of use, traditional fingerprint sensor, face unlock, dual VoLTE, and there's also a 3.5mm jack. The M2 continues to offer a Micro-USB port for charging, and there's no fast charging available — ASUS mentioned that the device is meant to be plugged in overnight, and that the battery is large enough that there's no chance of it running out mid-day.
The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is making its debut in India, where the device will be available in Blue and Titanium color options. The pricing is ridiculous when you look at the hardware on offer: the base 3GB/32GB variant will be available for just ₹12,999 ($180), and the 4GB/64GB model will retail for ₹14,999 ($210). The option with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will be available in the country for ₹16,999 ($240). The Max Pro M2 will go up for sale starting December 18, and will be sold exclusively on Flipkart.