Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 vs Nokia 6.1 Plus: Stock Android experience in two different flavours

first_imgIn 2018, we have seen consumers increasingly demanding a complete stock Android experience on smartphones priced below Rs 20,000. The fact that stock Android offers a very clean and smooth user experience as compared to the customised user interfaces has made enhanced the demand for such smartphones. Many manufacturers are jumping in on the bandwagon by launching new models running either on Google’s Android One ROMs or maintaining a stock AOSP (Android Open Source Project) ROM with minor tweaks. Asus and Nokia have been practising this concept on their budget smartphones for a while and their latest contenders in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 16,000 segment offer the best of stock Android experience with solid hardware.The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 is the latest of the lot, offering a fairly powerful chipset with an absolute clean build of Android Oreo 8.1. It offers a big 6.28-inch display with Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass 6 for enhanced protection against scratches. With a big 5000mAh battery and a choice of up to 6GB RAM, there couldn’t possibly be a better option for the price, especially when you consider that the base version with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage starts at Rs 12,999.On the other hand, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is HMD Global’s latest attempt to offer a polished smartphone experience. The device adheres to Google’s Android One programme and is unarguably one of the most premium looking devices in its segment. Nokia only sells one variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage in three colour variants for Rs 16,999. The smartphone has had the privilege of being one of the few Android smartphones in the market to get the latest updates as fast as possible and will continue to do so, considering Nokia’s reputation since the last two years.advertisementZenFone Max Pro M2 vs Nokia 6.1 Plus design and displayIf you are after classic unparalleled styling, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is the one blindly to go for. Nokia has given the 6.1 Plus elegant proportions and a compact body made out of premium materials. This makes it one of the most stylish smartphones in the segment, even without going for the gradient finishes that its rivals possess. The rear is made out of glass, with a capacitive fingerprint sensor and the dual rear camera module stacked vertically at the centre. The front houses a modern narrow-bezel display with a notch on the top and a noticeable chin at the bottom. There’s a metal frame that holds the front and rear panels, and also sports a USB-C port alongside the usual array of buttons and microphones. The display measures 5.8-inches and is an IPS LCD panel, which performs well in most scenarios. The clever design packaging makes the Nokia 6.1 Plus a very handy phone. On the other hand, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 defines the modern big smartphone with a big 6.28-inch display at the front. A layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protects the display from scratches and scuffs and should hold up well when dropped on solid surfaces. The display holds a notch on top and a fairly thick chin. Being an IPS LCD panel, the display can show vibrant colours and contrast even under direct sunlight. The rear of the Max Pro M2 also features a gradient glossy panel, albeit made out of plastic. Even the frame is made out of plastic. There’s a micro USB port sitting at the bottom, which is a bummer considering the Nokia offers the newer and faster USB-C port.While both smartphones offer modern notched display designs, I prefer the Nokia 6.1 Plus over the Max Pro M2. The Nokia’s elegant design and compact footprint make it a much easier phone to live with. However, the Max Pro M2 with its bigger display makes it a better choice to consume media.ZenFone Max Pro M2 vs Nokia 6.1 Plus cameraThis is where the competition really heats up between the two. The Nokia 6.1 Plus offers a combination of a 16-megapixel primary camera with F2.0 lens and a 5-megapixel depth sensor for the rear unit and a 16-megapixel camera with F2.0 lens for the front. On the other hand, the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 features a 12-megapixel main camera with an F1.8 lens and a 5-megapixel secondary camera for depth sensing. For the front, there’s a 13-megapixel camera with an F2.0 lens accompanied by an LED flash.While the specs sheet points towards an advantage for the ZenFone Max Pro M2, the real world performance for both the smartphones are very close. The Nokia 6.1 Plus captures decent pictures in daylight with natural colours and contrasts. However, the photos tend to appear dark and with loss of ambient lighting, the 6.1 Plus’ capability to capture details goes down considerably. However, noise is contained to an extent and a little bit of editing could make for good looking photos on the overall. The bokeh effects in portrait mode are done well with a fairly good edge detection for the subject against a busy background. The selfie camera also maintains natural colour tones with almost no artificial enhancement and the portrait mode makes for great selfies with decent edge detection.advertisement The Zenfone Max Pro M2’s rear camera improves upon the weakness of the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ unit by capturing a wider dynamic range and brighter contrasts. While the photos look colourful on the whole, the issue of overexposure makes most shots undesirable. In low light and dark ambience, the camera tries its best to retain the details, but loses out on the noise suppression. This brings out too much noise, making the photo almost unusable. The portrait mode is rather average with its sub-par edge detection. The front camera takes bright pictures with rich colours, but also suffers from the problem of overexposure, bringing in excess noise in dark conditions.ZenFone Max Pro M2 vs Nokia 6.1 Plus performanceWhen it comes to performance, both the Asus and Nokia phones aim to offer a unified and refined Android experience. However, they both take different ways to deliver the same.While the specs sheet points towards an advantage for the ZenFone Max Pro M2, both the smartphones are very close when it comes to the real world performance.The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is the powerhouse of the lot, sporting a Snapdragon 660 chipset with up to 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. The smartphone still runs on the old Android 8.1 Oreo with a slightly dated UI that feels rough around the edges. In fact, the Max Pro M2’s interface feels rough around the corner. That said, performance is snappy in terms of daily usage. Whether you are switching between productivity apps such as Gmail, Chrome and WhatsApp, or stretching your thumbs with a short session of PUBG MOBILE, the Max Pro M2 never runs out of breath. The 5000mAh battery makes sure one can easily get through the day with around 35 per cent of juice remaining, even with heavy usage scenarios. The Nokia 6.1 Plus looks to be at a slight disadvantage on paper, especially with the inferior Snapdragon 636 chipset. However, the 6.1 Plus is an Android One phone and therefore, runs on the latest stable build of Android 9 Pie. The Android One ROM for Android 9 Pie is extremely polished and offers a similar experience to the latest Google Pixel smartphones. The new OS with its smart AI-based optimisations makes sure that the phone never runs out of breath while dealing with daily casual tasks such as texting, browsing the social media and taking pictures. The 6.1 Plus can even manage heavy games, but the Snapdragon 636 chipset makes it difficult to handle the peak performance for extended durations. The 3060mAh battery is down on muscle when compared to the 5000mAh unit on the Max Pro M2, but Android Pie’s clever optimisations make it easily last a day with around 15 per cent juice left.advertisementZenFone Max Pro M2 vs Nokia 6.1 Plus: Which one is betterWhile both offer a quality smartphone experience with a stock Android interface, it is evident that they appeal to completely different kinds of consumers. In my opinion, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 is aimed at power users looking for a reliable performer without spending a fortune. At Rs 12,999 for the base variant, it’s difficult to suggest any other smartphone that offers a smooth and reliable performance with mega battery life. If you are looking for a smartphone that can easily host some resource-intensive games and heavy multitasking without shedding sweat, look no further than the Max Pro M2.The Nokia 6.1 Plus is more of a style statement with its elegant and premium glass design and sleek bezels up front. The Android 9 Pie build is one of the most polished interfaces I have seen on a smartphone under Rs 20,000 and provides for a more versatile smartphone experience on a daily basis. It offers the same Android experience that Google tries on its Pixel smartphones. I would suggest the 6.1 Plus to someone looking for a dependable daily driver that can also make for a fancy pocket accessory to enhance your personality.For now, the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 is clearly a better bet out of the two, offering a powerful chipset and a huge battery with an extremely smooth user experience for an extremely affordable price of Rs 12,999.ALSO READ | Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 review: Fast hardware, crazy good battery helps it compete with Redmi Note 6 ProALSO READ | Nokia 6.1 Plus review: Stunning and priced just rightALSO READ | Asus Zenfone Max M2 review: Stock Android, powerful Snapdragon SoC make it a Redmi 6 Pro alternativelast_img read more