Let’s not beat around the bush. The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which is technically still ongoing but in all honesty finished as far as product announcements are concerned, has been a bitter pill to swallow for mobile enthusiasts.

With companies like Samsung, LG, HTC and even Sony looking to unveil the next generation of flagship Android phones between February and March, mobile underdog Asus was left grabbing unusual attention in Las Vegas this week.

We were so desperate to spend some one-on-one time with a decent smartphone at CES 2018 that we (largely) chose to ignore both the convoluted name of the ZenFone Max Plus (M1) and its prior appearances in Russia and other European markets.

Priced at a very reasonable $229 for a February US unlocked launch, the Asus ZenFone Max Plus M1 delivers an impressive amount of battery juice while following 2:1 “full-view” display trends.

There are other premium and trendy features offered at that irresistible price point too, including dual rear cameras and facial recognition. Also, the ZenFone Max Plus doesn’t look half bad on the outside, thanks to a respectably ergonomic and stylish metal build.

Android 7.0 Nougat software and middling MediaTek processing power are probably the handset’s most glaring flaws, but we’re still curious to see how everything performs over a more extended period of time.

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