Hands-on: ASUS ZenFone Max and ZenFone Laser

ASUS's ZenFone line is expanding — there's the standard ZenFone 2 and the 3x optical zoom ZenFone Zoom — but there's also the ZenFone Max and the ZenFone Laser. Each offers their own take on the smartphone experience, focusing on improving in one specific area over the ZenFone 2.

ASUS ZenFone Max

Let's start with the ZenFone Max. The "Max" in this case refers to the battery, which is an especially capacious 5000mAh. Announced back in August, the phone also sports a 13MP PixelMaster camera and laser autofocus. The entire package is surprisingly thin for how much battery is crammed inside. It's noticeably heftier than a standard smartphone, but also still lighter and thinner than we'd expect from this size battery. And certainly far lighter than adding on a battery pack with a USB cable or a battery case. From the front you wouldn't even know the difference — it looks like a standard ZenFone 2, and that's not a bad thing.

ASUS ZenFone Laser

Also first announced back at Computex, the ZenFone Laser is closer to the ZenFone 2 in size and weight, adding in a laser autofocus module for "lightning fast" focusing in the darkness and daylight. ASUS claims focusing speeds of as fast as 0.2 seconds for the 13MP camera, roughly matching the focusing speed that we've come to expect from the LG G4. This comes in a body that's 10.5mm thick with a 5-inch 720p display and a 3000mAh battery.

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Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.