Asus may have got into the smartphone market a little late, but they offer smartphones in most diverse categories. Their latest and most affordable Zenfone is here. Asus calls it the Zenfone Live. Apart from being a regular affordable smartphone, Zenfone Live has some pretty cool tricks up its sleeves. Check out all about that in this detailed review.
Build Quality & Design
Zenfone 3 series smartphones have a great design. I’ve said that in my previous reviews of other Zenfone 3 smartphones. The Zenfone Live is no exception. It has a great design with rounded edges and sides that nake it easier to hold. It is available in 3 different colors viz Black, Pink, and Gold. We got the Pink color Zenfone Live and it does look a bit like the Rose Gold colored iPhone.
It feels extremely light to hold as it is just about 120gms heavy. Zenfone Live is primarily made out of plastic and, therefore, does not feel premium.
The Zenfone Live has a 5-inch screen and I like this because I personally don’t like the huge 5.5-inch smartphones as they are too big. This one is handy and light. The display comes with the signature 2.5D curved glass that you will find on all Zenfone 3 series smartphones. Capacitive buttons are on the bottom instead of on screen buttons. These aren’t backlit due to which you can miss them in darkness.
The Power and Volume rockers are on the right whereas the hybrid sim tray is on the left of the smartphone. The micro-USB port is placed at the bottom along with a single speaker grill and the microphone, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top. On the front, above the display, there is the regular front facing camera along with the sensor and also a front facing LED (selfie) flash. At the back, there is the rear camera with LED flash and ASUS logo. Zenfone Live misses out on the fingerprint sensor which is not good.
Asus has opted for a rather old SoC i.e is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400. This SoC was launched back in the year 2013. This SoC powers the Zenfone Live with a Quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and a 2 GB RAM. Internal storage is 16 GB out of which only 10 GB is available for the user. It can be expanded up to 256 GB via micro-SD card while sacrificing the second sim.
The battery is non-removable and has a capacity of 2650 mAh which is rather small. It is 4G VoLTE enabled. In the box, Asus provides a USB-cable, 5.2W charger, manual and a sim tray ejector tool.
Zenfone Live Camera Performance
Asus Zenfone Live has a 13 MP rear and a 5 MP front camera. The camera app has lots of modes to choose from. You basically won’t need any other app for getting better images.
The rear camera focussed quickly in good light conditions and the images captured were pretty average. The camera struggled in low light conditions. The images captured had too much noise in it. There is a “low light” mode that increases the ISO and lowers the shutter speed. To click good images using this mode, you need to have a steady hand. In this mode, the resolution is dropped to 3 MP.
It records video at 1080p but there is no autofocus in this case. You need to tap to focus it. Also, to use the video stabilization (that is software driven), you need to record at 720p.
The front camera had similar output. It captured good images in brightly lit conditions. Beautification mode is turned on by default. In low light, however, the images were grainy and not acceptable. The front camera has the advantage of selfie flash which can be turned on and with the addition of low light mode, good selfies can be clicked in complete darkness.
The best part of Zenfone Live is that there is a BeautyLive app that can stream live video on social media. This feature is heavily advertised by Asus and it works like a charm. The app not only streams video but also adds “beautification” to the video. It has levels from 1 to 10 and depending on which level you choose, the video quality is tweaked. Surprisingly, I looked much better on level 10 than I did at level 1.
Overall, the camera is pretty average but the option of live streaming your video on social media like this is a great addition. Kudos to the Asus team who thought of such a neat trick. This app is applicable for both front and rear cameras.
Performance Of Zenfone Live
This smartphone uses the same SoC that is on my Moto G (1st gen). Even though it is backed by a Quad-core processor that is clocked at 1.5 GHz and 2 GB RAM, it was still evident. Apps were loaded slowly and there was a visible lag. Resource hungry games didn’t run as good either. Only older and smaller games ran smoothly without any problems.
The test smartphone that we received had a light bleeding at the bottom of the display. Also, during calls, the voice wasn’t particularly smooth either. The smartphone also had network issues when 2 sim cards were in place out of which 1 was using 4G data constantly. I hope issues as these are just confined to our unit.
The ZenUI skin is on top of outdated Android Marshmallow. Asus has done some really good improvements on ZenUI since its Zenfone 1 series. This latest ZenUI is much smoother to use and is quite close to stock Android. Also, Asus has removed much of the bloatware which makes it look clean. There are gesture controls that let you turn the display on and off just by double tapping the display. Also, you can launch apps by drawing alphabets on the screen.
I ran the Geekbench 4 benchmark and below are the numbers.
The numbers aren’t thrilling by any means. But that’s what I can expect from a 4-year old SoC.
When you are constantly on 4G data and are doing heavy tasks, battery runs out pretty quickly. So, if you are a gamer and like to play games for longer sessions then the 2650 mAh battery won’t be sufficient for you. On an average usage, you will get the battery backup for a day. Even though it charges pretty quickly, charging it that often isn’t interesting.
Priced at Rs 9,999 on Amazon, the Asus Zenfone Live isn’t up to the mark when compared to the Chinese competitors. The budget smartphone category has gotten a lot better in recent days. Zenfone Live is a good smartphone and unique for its live streaming feature, but when it comes to sheer performance and battery life, the competitors are much ahead.