ASUS India has had a good number of phones in different price ranges under the ZenFone 3 series in the past few months in India and even though some of them were great devices, the price didn’t give them a good response. The company recently had announced a good price cut for some of the ZenFone 3 series phones and that made these phones, including the ZenFone 3, quite worth it.
The latest device from the Taiwanese company is quite different from the recent developments and launches. It is the ASUS ZenFone Live. As the name suggests, it has something to do with Live videos, and that is what it does – make your Facebook Live videos better. But, a phone for only that? The specs are not top-notch and ASUS has not managed to even run the latest Android OS on it, but it does what has it has to do, with the camera.
Specifications of ASUS ZenFone Live
- 5-inch 720p IPS display with 2.5D curved screen
- Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor along with Adreno 305
- 13MP rear and 5MP front camera
- 16GB internal storage and 2GB RAM. Expandable up to 128GB via MicroSD card
- 2600 mAh non-removable battery
- ZenUI based on Android 6.0.1
Starting off with the review, I’ll be taking on every aspect of the phone.
Design, Build quality
This is one of the factors I liked this phone. Holding it in the hands, it just feels like holding any other premium smartphone with those curvy edges and sides. The 2.5D curved glass on the 5-inch display on the top makes it even better in looks and feels great while using.
The metallic finish feels great on the hands including the 75% screen-to-body ratio. The phone is very sleek with a just 7.95mm thickness which doesn’t feel like it is, because of the curved design.
All the four sides of the phone are equipped with something or the other. The buttons including power button and volume rockers are placed on right, the left has the SIM tray which takes in two Nano SIMs or a Nano SIM & MicroSD, the top has a 3.5mm headphone jack along with secondary noise cancellation mic, and the bottom has a Micro USB charging port along with the speaker and the primary mic.
On the front, it has a 5MP camera sensor along with LED flash, proximity sensor, and a primary speaker for calls. The front bottom has the three touch capacitive buttons which have no LED backlights. On the back are the camera and LED flashlight along with ASUS logo with shiny silver finishing. This logo looks great on the back.
The feedback of the buttons when pressed is very great. The buttons do not have any loose contacts and with the textured design of the buttons, they feel better while presses. Overall of the design, I liked it pretty much and you will also. But, you have to go without the fingerprint sensor.
On the 5-inch 720p display of the Zenfone Live, it must be good enough for the phone of this size. But no, the display is a huge downside of this phone as it doesn’t exactly feel like a 720p display and with the photos taken, the display does no justice for them. You won’t be able to see the photos properly until you watch them on your PC or any other phone.
The colors seem to be good enough and thanks to the ZenUI in which you can change the color scheme to vivid or customize it of your own. The brightness levels are good enough for which you can use it under direct sunlight too, be ready for your battery to be eaten away. There’s also a blue light filter which you can use while reading or using the phone in dark conditions.
All over, the display is not up to the mark even for the 720p display. However, Asus made this phone for one special reason and you can’t expect much from this one.
As you all know, all the Asus phones run on their own custom ZenUI which has many customization options. The Zenfone Live runs on ZenUI bases on Android 6.0.1 with a security patch level update of April 1st, 2017.
Talking about the features, there are many such as Easy mode, Kids mode, and in the ZenMotion, you’ll find many touch gestures, motion gestures, and on-hand mode which can be used for your convenience.
There are several pre-installed apps as it’s the ZenUI. You get Google apps package along with of their Asus apps. And due to this, the only storage that is available for the user to use will be around 9.91GB out of the 16GB provided. So basically, the OS and the bloatware itself takes about the 6GB of the phone’s storage and all you’ll be left with is 9GB.
Coming to a conclusion, I like the ZenUI in some cases for the features and customizations that it provides. If you are using a smartphone for the first time or you don’t like any custom UIs, this is not the one for you.
The Zenfone Live has a very old Snapdragon 400 CPU along with Adreno 305 GPU. The Snapdragon 400, which is a quiet old chipset, is not very good in terms of performance. I have not played any heavy games in this except a multiplayer shooting game (Standoff) and Traffic Racer. And no, the performance was not up to the mark. There were some frame drops and lags between the gameplay.
Multi-tasking on this one is acceptable for some certain number of apps. And after that, the phone won’t hesitate to lag. It also heats up a bit while multi-tasking and gaming which can be neglected as it never crossed the limits. Again, RAM management is not that good enough on this one due to all the bloatware consuming most of the RAM.
Performance wise, this phone is not to be considered at any cost.
This section is the specialty of this phone as it lets us go Live on our social media networks with the beautification all the way. The camera has always been one of the best parts of all the Asus phones. All thanks to the camera UI of these phones.
The Zenfone Live has a 13MP f/2.0 rear camera and 5MP f/2.2 front camera. As Asus claims, this is the world’s first live streaming, real-time beautification providing one. The front has a 1.4µm pixel sensor for 2x light sensitivity. It has LED flashlight for natural skin tones, 82-degree wide-angle selfie along with HDR and low light selfie modes.
The rear camera has different modes such as real-time beautification, low light, rear selfie, HDR Pro, Super resolution, night mode, panorama, time-lapse, QR code, and auto mode.
That’s where things kick in. This is all about the real-time beautification that is offered by the smartphone’s software and that works so well. The company calls it the “world’s first live streaming beautification technology” and it is all about the BeautyLive app, removing all the blemishes and not being too unnatural while doing live videos on social media, especially Facebook, where live streaming is a thing now. Not just that, even if it isn’t relevant about the camera here, ASUS has included Duel MEMs microphones and a 5-magnet speaker to make the audio better while doing those live videos.
Overall, the camera is the only highlight of the Zenfone Live.
Check Camera Samples
With the 2600 mAh battery that is provided on this phone, you’ll get up to 4-5hrs of screen-on-time with a standby time of 158.8 hrs and 3G talk time up to 24 hrs. I didn’t find any battery draining and it was giving a day’s good battery back up. The only battery drain I found was while gaming which can be neglected for most of the parts. Video playback was pretty good and Asus claims that it also has a music playback time of up to 10.5 hrs. Overall, the battery did pretty well for me for what this phone can be considered buying.
The speakers on the down left are good enough in terms of volume but always come in between, you know, while playing games or videos in landscape mode. The Zenfone Live has a 5-magnet speaker and the dual-mics pick up the voice clearly. The call quality is nice for it has the secondary noise cancellation mic along with a primary mic.
The Zenfone live supports 4G LTE along with VoLTE which is required for the usage of Jio without installing any third-party apps. It has Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and also has Wi-Fi hotspot sharing. In the GPS, it has GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS.
Coming right to the point, I would only consider buying this phone for the real-time beautification feature or for its design. The processor, Snapdragon 400, is quite an old one which also has some heating issues. Coming to the downsides of this one, it falls down in display and performance. If I was looking for a phone under this price segment I wouldn’t buy this.
This phone is especially for the people who want the live beautification while going live on their social networks. The only people who go live a lot are the ones who have a good following for them. So, if you have followers in some pretty numbers and you love going live for them, you can consider buying this phone as a secondary phone.
Talking about the alternatives, you have many other phones in this price segments which you can consider buying. You can look into the Redmi 4 instead.