Telstra Tough Max 2 (T85) Review

Welcome to the Telstra Tough Max 2 T85 review for 2018. The Max 2 is the replacement for the original Max model which was a decent enough phone that could handle a bit of rough by being ruggedised – but not as much as it’s case suggests. The Telstra Tough Max 2 follow on from the original but now priced outright at $432.

In terms of construction the Telstra Tough Max 2 is very good, bearing in mind the toy like materials the case is made from. It is a solid feeling phone in both bend-ability and in the hand feel. It doesn’t look like a premium smartphone and that’s what you should expect in ant sort of ruggedised phone. The blue colour is disappointing as it can blend in with its surroundings, a yellow or orange scheme would be idea.

In terms of hardware specifications the Telstra Tough Max 2 is just slightly higher than an entry level smart phone for 2018. Why? the Max 2 has 3 Gig of RAM, only entry level phones have 2 these days. First thing you notice is how close the screen is to the glass it’s impressive and surprising for a cheap phone. Better specs include a 16MP camera and 8Mp front camera. A fingerprint scanner on the back and a dedicated flash light button! Other features include NFC, quick charging and Wireless charging  and a good looking Gorilla glass screen. The screen resolution may only be 720 x 1280 but it does look as good.

In terms of use the Telstra Tough Max 2 is Android OS based so a very good highly customizable interface and is smooth and fast. Launching apps like the browser is fast and dependent on the website can be quite speedy or slow. The feel in the hand is the expected bulky plastic ridges to prevent slipping out of the hand. It’s not a premium feeling but that is expected. The interface is Android 7.1 so everything works as expected. The CPU may only be a 1.4 Ghz quad core but its quite quick when using Facebook, Instagram Whatapp and any other non-game app you can think off.

The conclusion is simple, the Telstra Tough Max 2 is a notable improvement from the prior model and still made by ZTE and rebranded as Telstra. Now, we don’t think the re-branding is of any good to both brands as past smartphone models in particular have been more cheap and overpriced. In addition all our ZTE/Telstra models have died just after 2 years some due to battery and others just stopped working, maybe we are just unlucky. Regardless the Tough Max 2 works well for it’s specification but there are others, in particular the Motorola G5 Plus with a Otterbox case. Overall a good phone and worth a closer look.


  • Telstra Tough Max 2
  • Network
    3G + 4G + LTE + VoLTE
  • Design
    Touch screen
  • L144 x W71.5 x D11 mm
    Weight 153 grams
  • Display
    5 inch LCD
    720 x 1280 LCD
  • Camera
    16 MP auto-focus
    LED Flash
    2nd forward facing video call camera 8MP
  • Video Camera
    1080p 30FPS main video camera
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth V4
  • CPU
    Octa Core 1.4 Snapdragon 430
    Qualcomm Adreno 505
  • Memory
    3 Gig RAM
    Up to 32 Gig for user
    MicroSD expansion
  • Features
    Android OS 7.1.2
    Quick charger
    Qi Wireless charging
    IP67 toughness
    FM Radio
  • Power
    3000 Li-Po mAh battery
    Up to xx Days Standby
    Up to xx hours Talk Time
  • Price history
    Approx $432 AUD January 2018 (Outright)