ASUS' latest ZenFone and its big battery will hit the US next month

Oh, and it has a really awkward name.

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ASUS' ZenFone line is still pretty fresh in our minds, but that didn't stop the company from showing off yet another new smartphone here at CES 2018. The awkwardly named ZenFone Max Plus (M1) -- yes, ASUS is insisting on the parentheses -- is set to launch in the US next month for $329, and its claim to fame is its 4,130mAh battery. Sure, it might not be quite as capacious as ASUS' own ZenFone 3 Zoom from last year, but that battery is still bigger than any you'll find in a normal flagship phone. Not bad at all, considering the asking price.

Gallery: ZenFone Max Plus (M1) press shots | 5 Photos


Beyond the battery, the ZenFone Max Plus (M1) also packs a 5.7-inch, 2160x1080 display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, along with an octa-core MediaTek chipset, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Around back you'll find a fingerprint sensor and, above that, a dual camera that combines a standard 16-megapixel sensor with an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with a 120-degree field of view. For those keeping track, that's very similar to the setup used by the LG G5 a while back. Even better, both the main and front-facing camera (which also shoots 16-megapixel stills) have f/2.0 apertures to help suck up as much light as possible for landscape shots and selfies. Squeeze all of that into a handsome, if slightly generic-looking, metal body and that's the ZenFone Max Plus (M1).

So far the Max Plus feels like one hell of a value smartphone, but not everything here is ideal. Most notably, it runs an older Android 7.0 Nougat build painted over by ASUS' hit-or-miss ZenUI. That it runs software over a year old is pretty problematic; we've reached out to ASUS to see why exactly the ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is stuck in this position. Despite the Nougat situation and the inherent oddness of its name, we're still glad to see the ZenFone Max Plus (M1) wrapping up a few flagship features into a sleek-looking body. Stick around -- we're going to go track one down soon for a little hands-on time.

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