ASUS announced their budget offering in the sub 10k INR price segment, the Zenfone Live with the USP of the device being beautify mode in Live streaming. The phone is specifically for those people who are looking to do a lot of live streaming on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. The Zenfone Live packs a 5 inch HD display and is powered by Snapdragon 400 Quad core chipset with 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage. It also comes with 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera with flash and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. So how does the Zenfone Live stack up against the competition?
Let’s find out in this detailed review.
Here is the video review of the device.
Design and Build:
ASUS Zenfone Live is a budget smartphone and hence ASUS has gone for a plastic build on the Zenfone Live. The design of the phone looks good with smaller form factor and it is also lightweight at 120gm. It has a metallic finish on the rear panel and has a unibody construction. The right side houses the power and volume keys while the SIM tray is on the left side. The bottom panel houses the micro USB charging slot and also the speaker unit. The top panel has the 3.5mm audio jack. The rear panel has 13MP camera and LED flash along with ASUS branding.
The front panel has 5MP camera, LED flash and 5 inch HD display. Below the display there is three capacitive touch buttons which are not backlit. In two weeks of our usage, we could see some scratches on the rear panel. While the design is good, the build quality could have been better.
Zenfone Live sports a 5-inch HD (1280X 720-pixel) IPS display. The display is quite decent in terms of color quality and the overall sharpness levels are also good. The brightness level is also quite good. You can also adjust the color temperature using Asus’ Splendid app. The touch response of the display was also quite impressive. The Sunlight legibility was decent. Viewing angles are also good on the display and it also comes with Bluelight filter which helps in reading.
The display also comes with 2.5D curved glass but there is no protection offered for it.
Zen UI, the custom ROM from ASUS has been one of the main attractions of Zenfone ever since it’s release. But over a period of time, ASUS hasn’t done too many changes to Zen UI and the Zenfone 3S Max comes with Zen UI 3.0. There are some visible changes to the UI, and few new features have been added to the Zen UI which is now on top of Android 7.0 and it is the first Zenfone to run Android 6.0 out of the box. Zen UI comes with lots of customization options. It does come with an app drawer and custom notification panel. The new UI does look refreshing with new options in the home screen.
The home screen offers a lot of tweaks and customizations in the form of icon packs, size, and font of icons and more. You can try out various combinations on the home screen. The Zen UI also supports third party icons which you can download from Play store. The new theme store app also comes with handy themes and there are both paid and free themes available.
Mobile Manager has been added in Zen UI which offers to free RAM and storage space as well as check performance and app permissions similar to other Chinese OEMs. There are still a lot of pre-loaded apps in the Zen UI which we feel is a bit too high for our liking. Zen UI also comes with lots gestures and features like One handed UI, Kids Mode and Easy mode which are handy features in the UI.
Zenfone Live is powered by a Quad Core Snapdragon 400 Chipset and coupled with 2GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 400 was first announced in 2013 and for a phone released in 2017, it is quite disappointing to see a 4 year old chipset. The phone performed quite well in day to day tasks, but struggled when it comes to heavy multitasking or intensive gaming. We could see a lot of lag in gaming and not suited for intensive gaming. The call quality and speaker performance was quite good and there is also DTS sound on the phone speaker. It also comes with dual microphones, so the recording taken with the device, especially the videos will have good audio quality.
The phone comes with 16GB of internal storage and you get close to 10.5GB in the first boot. Another disappointing aspect of the phone is that there is no fingerprint sensor on the device and for a phone priced 10K INR, this is definitely a feature people will be looking at.
ASUS Zenfone Live packs a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera for selfies and video calls. There is a LED flash for rear as well as front camera. One of the specialties of Zenfone Live is that there is live beautify mode for camera for live streaming. The beautify app available only for Zenfone Live provides you with options to enable beautification and this will be available when you are live streaming.
The camera interface is quite similar to what we have seen on other Zenfones but does not feature the manual mode. It comes with filters, panorama and other effects to choose from. The camera samples taken with the rear camera had decent clarity but the color quality was not consistent and at time we could see a violet tint in some photos, especially the close up one. The overall clarity of the photos taken in daylight was just average and not really great for a phone priced 10k INR. The front camera performance was again decent with front facing flash, helping you in taking selfies even in low light. Here are some of the samples taken with the camera.
The Zenfone Live has 2650mAh battery and for a 5 inch screen size the battery capacity seems adequate for a day of usage. We tested the battery performance of the device and found that it can last a day with moderate usage. Since the hardware is outdated, it is not an efficient performer in terms of battery life. So Zenfone Live is not for users who are looking for great battery life. There are some battery modes available in the phone to optimize usage.
Priced at Rs 9999, it is definitely tough to recommend the Zenfone Live especially with the outdated hardware and when phones like Redmi 4 and Redmi Note 4 are being offered at sub 10k price segment. The Zenfone Live has a good HD display and front selfie camera with flash for better live streaming along with the beautify app. But the good aspects end there, with a 4 year old hardware which struggles with performance and a steep price tag won’t help Zenfone Live in sales. If you are into live streaming quite often, probably the Zenfone Live is worth a try.