Asus is slowly turning out to be one of the biggest smartphone brands in India as the company is very actively launching their global products in India as well. The company forayed into the mobile segment with the launch of Zenfone 5 smartphone back in 2014 and till the latest offering; the Zenfone Live, Asus has never backed out despite the criticism it faced for the Zenfone 3 series pricing. In this regards, today we will be taking a closer look at the company’s latest offering; the Asus Zenfone Live. The Zenfone 3 has the Live feature as its USP. Let’s get started.
Asus ZenFone Live (ZB501KL) Specifications: The Asus ZenFone Live sports a 5-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixels) IPS 2.5D curved glass display with 75% screen-to-body ratio and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage with a microSD card slot for memory expansion up to 128GB. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Zen UI 3.5 overlaid on top.
In the camera department, the device features a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, 5P lens and a 5-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture, 1.4 um pixel size, soft LED flash, 82-degree wide-angle lens. Connectivity features includes 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS. A 2650mAh battery is on board for all the battery requirements. It has dual MEMS microphones to eliminate background noise and enhances voice pickup, five-magnet speaker and smart amp for powerful audio.
Build and Design: The device feels compact and fits perfectly well in your hands with curvy edges and rounded corners. The 2.5D curved on the 5-inch display makes it even better while using and also gives it a premium look and feel. Though it is entirely made of plastic, it has that Metalic finish across the device and it very sleek at the just 7.95mm thickness and weighs just 120 grams. However, we would have loved to see a metallic build given that competing brands like Xiaomi, Huawei include solid metal body build to their budget smartphones as well.
Up front, there is a 5-megapixel camera with soft LED flash, primary earpiece, sensors, and down below the display sit the three touch type capacitive buttons that aren’t backlit and we gave up expecting this from Asus. The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right, while on the left there is the SIM tray with two Nano SIMs or a Nano SIM & MicroSD hybrid slot. On the top, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack along with secondary noise cancellation mic and Micro USB charging port on the bottom along with the primary mic. Flipping the device to the rear side, there is the 13-megapixel camera and LED flashlight along with ASUS logo. Overall, the design of the Zenfone Live is quite good for the price, and we did like the way it felt in our hands while using it.
Display: The Zenfone Live packs a 5-inches HD (1280 X 720) display, which is enough for a compact sized smartphone like the Asus Zenfone Live. But, the display is a bit off a let down for us, the colors are nowhere near natural, but you can adjust the color contrast in the display setting which is possible with Zen U.I. The brightness levels are good when you are in indoors. However, you will have to push the brightness to maximum outdoors and under broad sunlight which in turn drains your battery. The blue light filter comes in handy while reading or using the phone in dark conditions.
Overall, the display on the Zenfone Live is not on par with other 720p displays on the market. If you expect very much, you will surely be disappointed with the display.
Performance: The Asus Zenfone Live is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC with Adreno 305 GPU. As you can guess, the chipset used in the Zenfone Live is quite old, and that reflects on the overall device performance. Apps open up very slow and also lags even when there are just default apps running in the background. Multitasking is acceptable until you put pressure on the device with more number of apps than it can handle. We also noticed slight heating issues while gaming and multitasking, nothing that can’t be handled, but something that is worth pointing out. It can play 720p HD videos without any issues. However, there is slight freezing issue seen with 1080p videos even if they were played via third party apps like MX Player. The sound output via the loudspeaker is good enough, but the speaker grills come in the way while gaming or watching videos in landscape mode.
We didn’t play many games on this one; we played games like Subway Surfers, Temple Run 2, Riptide GP 2, all these games were laggy and dropped frames even with lowest graphic settings. The Asus Zenfone Live is a smartphone with a purpose, so can’t expect extraordinary performance, that said, the smartphone should be powerful enough to at least handle day-to-day tasks without showing much lag, in which the Zenfone Live fails to live up the expectations.
Camera: This is the biggest selling point of Asus Zenfone Live, it enables beautification once you go Live on our social media networks. Coming with a solution to address the consumer complaints about terrible camera performance during the LIVE video, Asus has to include a lot in the camera department to meet the buyer requirement. And, the Zenfone Live is a clear winner in this department. The device packs a 13-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera and a 5-megapixel f/2.2 selfie shooter. The Zenfone Live is the first smartphone in the world with real-time beautification functionality.
The BeautyLive app removes all the blemishes and enhances the picture quality without being too unnatural during the Live video which is a thing on Facebook these days. Asus has also addressed the audio Duel MEMs microphones and a 5-magnet speaker for a much better audio experience. The images shot with the rear camera are quite decent with good details and color reproduction. However, the device suffers to maintain the same during low-light. Images are with full of noise and look washed out, though it comes with LED flash, it doesn’t help much.
The front 5-megapixel also comes with LED flash and does a decent job in clicking selfies and video chats. Overall, the camera will remain as the biggest positive feature of the Asus Zenfone Live.
Software and User Interface: The Zenfone Live comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Zen U.I on top. Over the years, Asus has tinkered a lot with their Zen U.I and the experience is now as close as stock Android. The Zen U.I is a feature rich interface with the lot of features and functionalities like Easy Mode, Kids Mode, Motion gestures, motion controls. Access to theme store where you can change the theme of the device and give it brand new look and feel; you can replace the icon pack to suit your taste. Apart from Google Apps, Asus apps and bloatware come pre-installed, but the good thing is that you can uninstall them if you find yourself not using those apps often.
Out of the 2GB, 900MB is available to end user with just default apps running in the background. The memory management is terrible, apps run out of memory and we foud ourself constantly waiting for the apps to load again from the start despite being in the background. The 16GB internal storage can be expanded, but out of the 16GB, users get around 9GB of storage.
Battery: The Asus Zenfone Live packs a 2600mAh battery which is capable of giving one good day’s battery life in single charge. I did not find any battery drain issues overnight or even when the device is left ideal for quite some time. However, the battery starts draining once you game or watch videos for an extended time. The music playback on this device was around 10.5 hrs which is good considering the lower capacity battery. Overall, the battery performance is quite decent and does what you would expect.
Conclusion: The Asus Zenfone Live is a smartphone that was launched to fulfill a purpose with the Live feature on various social media sites that has become a thing today. Though it does the intended function with ease and impresses us, the other departments like the general performance, display, gaming experience that fail big time. Now, if you’re the one who needs the real-time beautification functionality, then the Asus Zenfone Live is no brainer at all, if in case that isn’t your thing, then you can simply skip this one and pick alternatives from Xiaomi, Huawei or other brands in the market.