It’s been quite some time since the launch of the original ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage version. While that variant is a smartphone that is really, really affordable, many of our readers here are actually aiming for the 6GB RAM variant. More RAM is always better, right? But what else has changed?

Let’s take a look at what’s new and what’s different between the 3GB RAM and 6GB RAM variants of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1).

Since many aspects of these two smartphones are the same, we’ll be skipping over these parts of review:

  • Design
  • Connectivity and ports
  • Display
  • Software
  • Charger

For the full review, please refer back to our full in-depth review of the 3GB RAM variant here.

Unboxing

Exactly the same. Nothing out of the ordinary or special with the 6GB RAM variant. Even the packaging is exactly the same. The only way you can actually differentiate between 3GB and 6GB version is by looking at the specs list behind the box.

The contents remain the same – and you also get a redemption code for Garena Free Fire’s orange techware set.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

The contents remain the same here as well – the earphones, charger, and also micro USB cable.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

What’s different?

There’s actually a table of differences between the variants of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1). It’s quite confusing – and this table helps to clear things up.

Chipset
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
    • 8×1.8 GHz Kyro 260
    • Adreno 509
RAM 6GB 4GB 3GB
Storage
  • 64 GB
  • supports microSD card up to 400 GB, dedicated slot
  • 32 GB
  • supports microSD card up to 400 GB, dedicated slot
Display
  • 5.99-inch
  • 18:9 IPS LCD
  • 1080 x 2160
Camera (rear)
  • 16 MP + 5 MP
  • f/2.2 + f/2.4
  • PDAF
  • 13 MP + 5 MP
  • f/2.2 + f/2.4
  • PDAF
Camera (front)
  • 16 MP
  • f/2.2
  • 8 MP
  • f/2.2
Battery Non-removable 5,000 mAh
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo
SIM Dual SIM (Nano) + MicroSD Slot
Connectivity
  • GSM / HSPA / LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.2 A2DP, LE
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Features Rear fingerprint scanner

The first notable difference between the 3GB and 6GB RAM variants is the camera. The 6GB RAM variant comes with a 16MP + 5MP dual rear-facing camera setup and a 16MP selfie camera. The second difference here is… well, the 6GB RAM of course. Every other thing remained the same.

Does the differences make a… difference?

We know two things have changed – the cameras and the RAM. We already griped about how terrible the camera on the Max Pro (M1) really is when we first reviewed the 3GB RAM version. At the back of our minds, we’re wondering if the 6GB RAM variant with a 16MP sensor will be better.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

These two things are different from each other – so let’s take a look at the cameras and the performance separately.

Cameras

I took 6GB RAM variants out for a walk and took some pictures. Here are some of the picture samples. You can check out the full album of pictures on our Flickr album here.

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IMG_20180810_172440

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Once I looked at the product of these images, I’m not impressed. Seriously.

I actually cascaded the 6GB and 3GB RAM variants side by side so I can take the same scene with two different phones for better comparison. I’m glad I did that – because there are some differences.

The most notable one is with the picture of the doggo. Picture taken with the 6GB RAM variant appeared to be brighter and wow, the difference is day and night – literally. For most indoor shots, the 6GB RAM version is indeed better than the 3GB version.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) camera comparison
See the difference?

I actually find that the 6GB RAM version is little less sharp than the 3GB RAM version in most of the comparison shots that I’ve taken. Not sure what’s the issue here, but yes – that’s happening.

When it comes to night shots, both are just abysmal too. Just don’t take low-light shots with this phone.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

In terms of shutter speed, both 6GB and 3GB RAM variants are just slow compared to other phones in the market. However, when compared only between the 3GB and 6GB RAM variants, there is no clear winner. Sometimes the 3GB RAM version takes the image faster, and sometimes the 6GB RAM version is faster.

And the camera app is still as terrible like the 3GB RAM variant. Please just use back the ZenUI camera app.

Performance

One might wonder and think that 6GB RAM variant will have better performance than 3GB RAM variant. And that’s somewhat true, but not entirely. Let me explain – but first, let’s take a look at the specs:

  • 6-inch 18:9 aspect ratio IPS LCD display with 2160×1080 resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset with 14nm FinFET technology
    • 4x 1.6GHz Kryo 260 LP + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 260 HP
  • Adreno 509 GPU
    • 96 ALUs
  • 6GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Pure Android Oreo experience

If we focus solely on benchmarks to show the differences and benefits of having more RAM in a smartphone, then we won’t see anything at all. We compared the benchmark scores between the 3GB and 6GB RAM variant and found minimal performance difference.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM VRMark benchmark ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM 3DMark benchmark

For the full benchmark scores of the ASUS ZenFone MAx Pro (M1) against other smartphones, check out the full review here.

What about the battery life?

Actually, the 6GB RAM variant does have better battery life – at least in theory. From our usual battery test, it lasts more or less about the same amount of time. In real life usage however, the battery life changes and overall user experience changed.

Remember those apps that used to kill other apps for so-claimed “longer battery life”? If you went on a murder spree and start killing every app that is running on your phone consistently, it’s actually going to be bad for your battery life. Why?

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

Simple. Imagine if you kill the keyboard app – say Gboard for this matter. Killing it consistently means you’ll need to re-launch Gboard each time you want to type. Relaunching the app alone will take a higher toll than digging out the app that is suspended in the RAM.

Difference in everyday usage experience

With the 6GB RAM variant, multitasking is also better. Let’s say you’re playing The Room: Old Sins and you’re stuck somewhere and want to Google for the guide using Chrome. With 6GB RAM, you can switch between the game and Chrome browser without having any of your apps killed. This goes back to the first point about not having to re-launching apps and conversing battery. Get my point?

It will have some impact to the battery life, but not much since the 5,000mAh battery is quite difficult to even consume 80% of it in a single day.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM

And not only that – but I do realize an issue with Android that has lower amounts of RAM. The 3GB RAM variant has an issue where when I unlocked the phone after about 3 hours of not using it, the phone takes about a minute or so before it gets itself sorted out and runs smoothly again. Why? Because I’m always using around 2.9GB of RAM – and that 3GB of RAM just isn’t enough for my day-to-day usage.

On the 6GB RAM variant, this does not happen. I have another 3GB of RAM to spend before choking it to death – that means my apps don’t have to be murdered to clear off RAM, and I still have extra gigabytes of RAM to spare.

Wrapping up the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) 6GB RAM review

In this entire review, we only focused on the differences and benefits of the 6GB RAM variant when compared to the 3GB RAM version. We have a slightly better camera, and obviously double the amount of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage.

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) itself, regardless of of the amount of RAM, is already a great phone. It uses the energy-efficient yet powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset alongside with a 5,000mAh battery, 6-inch screen with 18:9 aspect ratio with 2160×1080 resolution, and dedicated card slots for SIM1 + SIM2 + microSD. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) can literally last for two days without any issues.

All of these greatness for just RM999 – which is actually quite good for its price. Just that the camera itself is disappointing.

Where to buy?

Over at ASUS’s official LazMall page right here.