These days, many people are shifting into more interactive content such as livstreams for sharing their stories online. And why not? having other people involved in creating your story is much more fun and engaging.
The Zenfone Live is ASUS’ answer to this growing demand. Designed specifically for livestreaming, this device features an app which is supposed to make you look better on video by correcting blemishes depending on how high your setting is.
But does that alone make this phone a good buy? Let’s find out in this full review.
The unit the we received came in a special box which had a lot of goodies. Named the BeautyLive Kit, there was a set of stickers, a mini tripod, an ASUS Lolliflash, and two mirrors that you can use to show the phone’s interface when streaming.
Watch our full unboxing coverage below, which aired last May 1, 2017.
The Zenfone Live may be a budget device, but it sports the same look and feel as its big brother, the Zenfone 3: premium and elegant. The 2.5D curved glass covers the front along with the familiar capacitive keys at the bottom.
All the buttons are located on the right side of the device. And while a bit wobbly, they are responsive and blend well with the overall design. The Zenfone Live uses a Hybrid SIM tray located on the left side, which can accommodate two Nano SIM Cards or one Nano SIM Card and a MicroSD Card.
At the top is the headphone jack, while at the bottom is the speaker, microphone, and the standard MicroUSB port.
The display of the Zenfone live exhibits fun and vibrancy, especially when combined with ZenUI’s rich colors. It’s bright, text is sharp, and readability in direct sunlight is more than enough.
Color temperature seems to lean more on the warmer side by default, but you can use the Splendid app to fine tune it as you wish.
ASUS Zenfone Live Specs:
- 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad-Core Processor
- 2GB of RAM, 16GB of Internal Storage Expandable up to 128GB via MicroSD Card
- 5-inch IPS HD Display, ASUS TruVivid Technology
- 13MP Rear Camera, f/2.0, AF
- 5MP Front Camera, f/2.2, AF
- LTE, Dual SIM
- ZenUI 3.0 on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
- 2,650mAh Battery
- Dual MEMS Microphones
- 5-Magnet Speaker
- Smart Amplifier Technology
- DTS Headphone:X™ for virtual 7.1 surround sound
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity, Compass, Light, Gyroscope
- Shimmer Gold
- Rose Pink
- Navy Black
I’ve done quite a lot of things with the Zenfone live: Send emails, watch YouTube videos, regularly check and update my social media pages, surf the web, navigate with Maps, take pictures, use it as a flashlight, and as a WiFi hotspot for several hours.
The phone did perform as expected for the majority of the time. It wasn’t all sunny days of course. There were hiccups here and there like slight delays in installing and opening apps, and lag when receiving multiple notifications on social media.
As far as temperatures are concerned, the Live did get a bit warm after a certain period of use, but not enough to cause worry.
You can play Mobile Legends with this phone, but do expect some stutters here and there. NBA 2K17 was also very much playable at the lowest settings.
The Zenfone Live is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU which was released 4 years ago. This is really quite a letdown for people who are after optimal performance as there are phones with Snapdragon 430 and 425 CPUs that offer more performance at the same price point.
In broad daylight, the 13MP main Camera of the Zenfone Live did considerably well. Photos came out with good color accuracy with decent detail and sharpness.
In low light, there were instances wherein colors weren’t as accurate, but I’d say the overall quality was much better than I expected.
The 5MP selfie camera takes fairly decent selfies as long as there’s good lighting.
In more challenging conditions, selfies came out grainy, but could still pass. We simply can’t expect anything more in this price segment.
When using the speaker, the sound signature is bright and puts more emphasis on the treble. Bass is less evident, but there’s a tiny bit of distortion on high volume. The AudioWizard app lets you choose from a variety of presets or you can adjust the equalizer yourself.
The Zenfone Live features DTS Headphone:X™, which is, of course, meant to enhance the overall listening experience. The default sound signature (Traditional Setting) is neutral with clean highs and just the right amount of bass.
I do suggest leaving it as is, as other presets are somewhat too artificial. There’s also a dedicated equalizer that you can tweak to your ear’s satisfaction.
The Zenfone Live runs on ASUS’ ZenUI 3.0 on top of Android 6.0.1, and as far as browsing through the UI is concerned, I didn’t encounter any major issues. ZenUI still offers the same level of customization that it’s known for, giving you a ton of options to tweak, from the scrolling effects to the size of icons on your home screen.
The BeautyLive app is the bread and butter of the phone. It allows you to apply and adjust beautification effects in the middle of a livestream. I did a test stream on Facebook and video quality was consistently satisfactory. Audio was also clear throughout.
ASUS is constantly pushing updates for this phone, which is always a good thing, as that’s a sign that the company is continuously working to fix bugs and bring improvements (At the time of writing, the Android Security Patch dates to April 1, 2017).
The Zenfone Live’s 2,650mAh battery was able to yield more than 8 hours of up time, which is quite good for a phone with a slim and compact form factor.
Charging time was around 2.5 hours from 0% to full, which can be a hassle. We really can’t expect fast charging here right?
The Zenfone Live is actually a decent smartphone for its price. It offers a premium design, a good display, and more than enough battery life to get you through a day.
The ability to beautify yourself in the middle of a stream works well, and is handy for people who really want to make themselves look great for their audience.
Despite all this, recommending this phone to consumers who are after speed and performance is a little hard due to its outdated processor. Buy this if you can get past this issue, or if you really like to livestream beautifully (using its unprecedented BeautyLive app).
- Design and Build Quality
- Rear and Front Camera Performance (Daylight)
- Rear Camera Performance (Low Light)
- BeautyLive app does what its supposed to do
- Sound Quality
- Battery Life
The Not So Good:
- Performance (Both General and Gaming)
- Choice of Processor
- Front Camera Performance (Low Light)