Asus ZenFone Lite (L1) and ZenFone Max (M1) launch in India: What you need to know

Asus ZenFone Lite (L1) and ZenFone Max (M1) launch in India: What you need to know

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Yesterday we covered the launch of the Lenovo K9 and the Lenovo A5, two phones launched by Lenovo to compete with the Xiaomi Redmi 6 and the Xiaomi Redmi 6A. The budget smartphone segment in India is becoming the new focus of attention for device makers. The Realme C1 was announced last month as Realme’s offering. Now, Asus has joined Xiaomi’s list of competitors by launching the Asus ZenFone Lite L1 and the Asus ZenFone Max M1.

Asus has achieved great success in India this year with the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, a lower mid-range phone that competes with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro. The ZenFone Max Pro M1 has gone on to become a bestseller, while the flagship Asus ZenFone 5Z has also experienced decent success. Now, with the ZenFone Lite L1 and the ZenFone Max M1, Asus is targeting the budget price segment in India. Apart from the Redmi 6 and the Redmi 6A, phones like the Realme 2 are also available in this price range. Full specifications of Asus’ new phones are noted below:

Asus ZenFone Lite L1 and Asus ZenFone Max M1 – Specifications at a glance

SpecificationsAsus ZenFone Lite L1 ZA551KLAsus ZenFone Max M1 ZB556KL
Dimensions147.26 x 71.77 x 8.15 mm, 140g147.3 x 70.9 x 8.7 mm, 150g
SoftwareZenUI 5.0 on top of Android OreoZenUI 5.0 on top of Android Oreo
SoCOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (8x Arm Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.4GHz); Adreno 505 GPUOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (8x Arm Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.4GHz); Adreno 505 GPU
RAM and storage2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage; dedicated microSD card slot3GB of RAM with 32GB storage; dedicated microSD card slot
Battery3,000mAh, 5W charging adapter4,000mAh, 10W charging adapter
Display5.45-inch HD+ (1440×720) IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect ratio, 400 nits brightness, 65% NTSC gamut, minimum 800:1 contrast ratio, 82% screen-to-body ratio5.45-inch HD+ (1440×720) IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect ratio, 400 nits brightness, 65% NTSC gamut, minimum 800:1 contrast ratio, 82% screen-to-body ratio
SensorsAccelerometer, E-Compass, Proximity, Ambient lightAccelerometer, E-Compass, Proximity, Ambient light
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2
PortsmicroUSB port, dual nano SIM slots, 3.5mm headphone jackmicroUSB port, dual nano SIM slots, 3.5mm headphone jack
Rear camera13MP, 5P lens, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12um pixels, 0.03s PDAF, LED flash13MP, 5P lens, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12um pixels, 0.03s PDAF, LED Flash
Front-facing camera5MP with 3P lens, 1.12um pixels, f/2.4 aperture, LED flash8MP with 4P Lens, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12um pixels, LED Flash

The differences between the two phones deal with the battery capacity (3,000mAh vs. 4,000mAh), charging (5W adapter vs. 10W adapter), the front camera (5MP with 3P lens vs. 8MP with 4P lens), storage and RAM configuration (2GB/16GB vs. 3GB/32GB), and the presence of a fingerprint sensor on the ZenFone Max M1. The ZenFone Lite L1 only has face unlock. It’s worth noting that its primary competitor, the Redmi 6A, also lacks a fingerprint sensor.

Both phones share the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC. In terms of specifications, this SoC is older and theoretically less power efficient than the 12nm MediaTek Helio A22 of the Redmi 6A. It’s also much slower than the MediaTek Helio P22, which is found in the Redmi 6, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, which is found in the Realme C1.

Asus states that the ZenFone Max M1 features Asus PowerMaster, a suite of “intelligent power management technologies” that work to optimize battery life, ensure safety and long-term performance, and even provide reverse-charging capability. The 4,000mAh battery has twelve safety checkpoints including temperature monitoring and overvoltage protection, and when combined with automatic maintenance settings, Asus states that the battery has a 2x longer average lifespan compared to other smartphone batteries.

Pricing and availability

The Asus ZenFone Lite L1 and the Asus ZenFone Max M1 will be sold exclusively via Flipkart. The ZenFone Lite L1 will be sold for ₹5,999, while the ZenFone Max M1 will cost ₹7,499. Asus has not revealed the availability date yet.

Launch offers include the usual Jio “₹2,200 cashback” offer for users who buy either the ₹198 or ₹299 recharge plans from Jio. It comes in the form of instant credit of 44 vouchers of ₹50 each which can be redeemed upon subsequent recharges in the MyJio app. 50GB “additional data” is also offered in the form of 5GB 4G additional data voucher per recharge for the first 10 recharges.

In terms of the value proposition, the new ZenFones fail to match Xiaomi’s phones in terms of specifications, unlike the ZenFone Max Pro M1, which undercut the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in terms of pricing.