With the influx of mobile data post Reliance Jio, more and more Indians are now going live, and Asus has been the first smartphone manufacturer that tries to cash in on the burgeoning trend. The Asus Zenfone Live has been designed to play its part as a technology enabler to enhance Live video experience for affordable smartphone buyers. But, is it cut out for the task? Let’s try and answer that in our Asus Zenfone Live review.
Design and Build
The Asus Zenfone Live is a compact phone that’s quite easy to handle (this also helps while going live). It’s entirely made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap. Asus has added 2.5D glass on the front with an oleophobic coating and the back of the phone feels good when you grip it. The build quality is also assuring.
The best part is that the Zenfone Live is feather light. At 120 grams, it’s about the lightest phone that we have come across in a while and till we lived with it, we didn’t even realize how much of a difference shaving off 20 to 30 grams could make.
The Asus Zenfone Live has a 5-inch HD display. The color temperature, viewing angles, and contrast doesn’t give us much to complain about, particularly keeping in mind the price tag. Zenfone Live fairs better than most of its competitors when it comes to display quality.
The display is a bit reflective outdoors, but once the brightness is cranked to its maximum, it’s certainly useable. Overall, Zenfone live offers a good display but you can still get a higher resolution full HD display smartphone under 10,000 INR.
The selfie camera takes precedence here. On the front, Asus has used a 5MP camera with LED flash and f/2.0 aperture lens. The camera software allows you to beautify images as well. Using the beauty Live app, you can also beautify video stream real time while directly pushing it on apps like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
We liked the live recording quality and overall experience in good lighting. What Asus does better than others is the Audio part. The phone can capture robust and clear audio while you go live, better than what you will get on other phones in the same budget.
The rear 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture does a fine job too, but it’s a bit slow. It takes some time to focus on nearby objects and gets confused with tricky metering. We suspect that the dated SoC being used is the culprit here. Overall, the camera performance is above average. The Live video recording tricks make sense, but seeing them operate on a more powerful camera would have been ideal.
If you are someone who does a lot of Facebook, Instagram or Youtube live, then Zenfone live can be a good budget option for those live videos.
Performance and Software
This is where the Asus Zenfone Live alters. Using the aging Snapdragon 400 chip to drive a reasonably heavy Zen UI skin doesn’t work very smooth. The phone stumbles and stutters every now and then if you are anything but a basic user. You can switch to performance mode to extract more of the SoC but that inculcates a battery penalty.
We imagine that the target audience – active Netizens who love to go Live on the fly – would prefer a mightier workhorse. The chipset is paired with just 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, which means your performance suffer during heaving multitasking or while opening gaming apps.
The Android Marshmallow based Zen UI 3.0 is rich is features and customization options, but Asus should have dialed back on customization, bloatware and even features in light of the hardware being used.
Other than that, the call quality was excellent in our area. The audio output from headphones and loudspeakers is pretty good too.
Battery backup, Price, and Verdict
The 2650mAh battery on the phone lasted longer than what we had expected. If you are a basic and moderate user, you should be able to extract one day out of the phone rather comfortably.
Priced at Rs. 9,999 INR, the Zenfone Live sounds like a good option for very basic users who love going Live on social media. Once again, the approach and implementation of live features make sense but Asus should have sided with a more powerful chipset to make everything else work seamlessly. Consumers will also find it hard to look past the missing fingerprint sensor.
We can still recommend Asus Zenfone Live to basic users who are looking for compact and light phone that can enhance their live videos on social networks.