The Asus Zenfone Live is the latest entry in the budget smartphone segment. Zenfone Live is the new addition to the Zenfone series after Zenfone 3s Max which was launched early this year. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 9,999 and competes with the likes of Redmi Note 4, Nokia 3 and Coolpad Cool 1.
The Zenfone Live bears a dual-SIM slot and runs ZenUI 3.5 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Zenfone Live sports a 5.0-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display, and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and comes with 2GB of RAM.
The Zenfone Live rear camera has a 13-megapixel pixel master camera with a f/2.0 aperture tagged with dual-LED flash. The front camera bears a 5-megapixel camera with a 1.4-micron pixel sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 82-degree wide angle lens, and a soft-light LED flash. Zenfone Live comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage with the option to expand further via a microSD slot (up to 128GB).
Zenfone Live connectivity options include4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, FM radio, and GPS/ A-GPS. The Zenfone Live houses a 2650mAh non-removable battery. The Smartphone measures 141.18×71.74×7.95mm and weighs 120 grams.
As we all know, Asus has been playing around with the design of its Zenfones ever since the Zenfone 3 line up has been in works. The design on zenfone Live has to be praised for its compactness, as compressing a 2650mAh battery inside such a small form factor is not easy.
The front of the Zenfone Live has three capacitive keys. The SIM tray is on the left edge, and at the bottom is the loudspeaker and the micro USB port and a 3.5mm jack on the top.
The camera placement is unusual this time, as it is baked on the top left corner along down a dual-tone LED flash. Also, the loudspeaker grill has been shifted to the bottom. For the first time, there is no sign of Asus’ trademark concentric circle pattern anywhere except on the power button.
With a 2650mAh battery inside and a screen size of just 5.0 inches, the company has done a good job in keeping the phone considerably thin and handy. It measures 141.18×71.74×7.95mm and weighs 120gms. Overall, the Zenfone Live has a decent looking design, with nothing flashy at all. There are few new elements in the design, which are not seen in any of the previous Zenfones.
The Zenfone Live comes with a 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with HD (1280 x 720) resolution, and the pixel density is 294 PPI. The display is sharp with rich colors and the brightness is very good, offering great sunlight visibility and the display has a 2.5D protective glass on top. It gives a nice touch and feels. The viewing angles too are quite excellent. On paper, the display seems to offer an average point of the device; at least when even the low-end phones are offering full HD display.
It is, however, disappointing that the Zenfone Live sports only an HD display when other phones in the same – and even lower – price range feature a Full HD display. It’s good that the device packs in a smaller display, so this does not become a showstopper for a lot of people. Of course, it looks a poor sight on the specifications sheet.
Powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5GHz paired with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, further expandable by up to 128 GB via a microSD card slot. The dual SIM smartphones feature a hybrid slot, so you can either use the second SIM or the microSD card, but not both. The ZenFone Live chugs along nicely while multitasking offering a smooth Android experience. However, the chipset isn’t powerful enough as the ones powering some of the competitors. In 2017, it is quite disappointing that ASUS didn’t go for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, a terrific SoC for mid-range smartphones. Clearly, the device is geared towards casual smartphone users – and that is where it excels.
I was not really impressed with the performance on this phone as it stutters in many areas. Apps like contacts, Facebook, Instagram took longer than usual in many cases. Multitasking is handled decently with 2 GB of RAM but the performance is limited because of the disappointing single-core performance on MediaTek chipset.
With a 720p resolution display, the GPU performance is somehow balanced and the graphic performance becomes decent. Games like Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 can be played on this phone but occasional lags and frame drops can be expected after prolonged usage.
Looking at the price, the performance is not as impressive as it should be. When you have phones like Redmi Note 4 lined up in competition, Asus should have done slightly better than this. Frankly speaking, if use your smartphone to the fullest, then you might face issues with this smartphone after a period of time.
Audio quality was nothing extra ordinary on Zenfone Live. Sound through the headphones comes out be good but the loudspeaker feels sharp in some cases. It has fairly loud output but when it comes to sharp sounds, it does not handle them that well.
The ZenFone Live runs ZenUI 3.5 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The UI feels older, something which I saw on a ZenFone 2 series smartphone.
As we all know ZenUI is a highly customizable launcher that allows you to adjust almost everything from themes, fonts, animation effects, icon packs and a lot more. There is also a big chunk of bloatware apps pre-installed on the phone. These apps take up a lot of space on the smartphone and many of them are added unnecessarily in the pack. Out of the 16 GB of storage, about 6 GB is taken up by the system.
Asus also packs some extra features for selfie lovers that may come handy to some of you. It comes with a BeautyLive app to take beautiful selfies. I believe the ZenFone 3 series was much better in term of the software experience.
The Zenfone Live features a 13 MP rear pixel master camera with a f/2.0 aperture tagged with dual-LED flash. On the front it comes with a 5 MP camera with a 1.4-micron pixel sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 82-degree wide angle lens, and a soft-light LED flash.
The image quality from the rear camera is average in well-lit situations, with good colors, contrast, and dynamic range. In some cases, the Asus camera app overworks and blurs out the details on the picture to reduce noise. I was satisfied with the rear camera in good lighting but when it comes to low light, you have to be extra steady to get a clear shot. The night mode on the camera UI works well but the frame becomes laggy.
Front camera performance is also average because of front flash. The selfies did not look natural and the camera software tries a little too much to fix your photos.
Video quality is supported up to 1080p, the focus and details are fine but stabilization is an issue.
Zenfone Live houses a 2650mAh battery which is a bit less than the other smartphones in this segment. In this budget, Xiaomi is offering smartphones with over 4000mAh batteries.
A 720p display extends the already extensive battery life for at least an hour more than a 1080p display. On light usage, one can manage to use for the whole day. Sadly, the Zenfone Live does not support fast charging.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICE
Priced at Rs. 9,999, the Black, Gold and Rose Gold color variants of the smartphone are available via both offline and online e-portals.