ASUS ZenFone 4 Max heralds 2017 flagship series

Almost all major Android smartphone makers have already revealed their 2017 cards, save for Motorola and ASUS. No, the ZenFone AR doesn't really count. ASUS has yet to announce its ZenFone 4 flagship but, while bidding its time, it already sent out its herald to prepare the way. The company just announced in Russia the first member of that family, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max that is big in everything but its processor.

You might be disappointed if you expected the ZenFone 4 Max to be a higher mid-range giant phablet. Its screen is only 5.5 inches, with a Full HD resolution at that. And it runs on either a Snapdragon 425 or Snapdragon 430, Qualcomm's (lower) mid-range chips. Other than those, however, the Max is a rather formidable mid-tier phone.

For example, there'll be 3 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of expandable storage. There'll be twin 13 megapixel cameras on the back, each operating independently, one using a 120-degree wide-angle lens, with f/2.0 aperture and phase detect AF. On the front you get a so-so 8 megapixel camera with its own LED flash.

Being a Max, however, the ZenFone 4 Max's real power comes from its battery. In this case, an ample 5,000 mAh pack. That promises an average of 40 hours battery life, or a whole day of non-stop Wi-Fi Internet surfing. You can even use the ZenFone 4 Max to charge other devices, which seems to imply the use of the bi-directional USB-C.

• Operating System: Android 7.0• CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 430• RAM: 3 GB• Storage: 16/32 GB• Display: 5.5-inch 1920x1080 Full HD• Main Camera: 13 MP + 13 MP,. f/2.0, PDAF• Secondary Camera: 8 MP• Battery: 5,000 mAh

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max will start from 13,900 RUB, roughly $235 and comes in black, gold, and pink colors. No word yet on whether it will be sold in the US or if there is even a market for it there. The battery is definitely tempting, but might really be its only selling factor.