Zenfone Live [Review]: Notes on the budget-friendly, live-streaming smartphone

With its chic design and entry-level price point, the ASUS Zenfone Live can instantly draw selfie addicts on a budget. But are its features worth the price tag?


ASUS Zenfone Live
ASUS Zenfone Live

ASUS is one of the world’s largest computer hardware companies, and with the Zenfone Live already out, the Astig team could not resist getting ahold of the smartphone and taking it on a test run.

In the past, we’ve already tested Zenfones–from the Zenfone Selfie to the Zenfone Zoom. We enjoyed tinkering with all of them, so we were pretty excited to hear that the Zenfone Live had a special feature.

Read on for our full review.

Build & Design

First things first! 


The Zenfone Live's slim and sturdy case prohibits a removable battery, much like the entry-level Alcatel Flash Plus we've reviewed a few years ago. 


One thing tricky about the phone build though, is the sim compartment--it's a tray you would have to release from one side of the device by poking in the hole. It's not easy to release the tray, by the way.


Dual SIM is supported on the Zenfone Live

It took me several tries to correctly poke the hole and release the tray. And once I got it out, things got a little more complicated: I soon found out that one compartment can house either a nano sim or a micro SD, meaning I can only use a microSD if I give up one of my nano sims. Boo!

Despite all this, we love the brushed rose pink color--so cute and dainty! If you're not into pink, you can go with the other two variants, The device is also so lightweight (just about 140 grams), it's easy to forget that you have it with you.

Display

The Zenfone Live has a 5-inch IPS LCD touchscreen display with a 720x1280 pixel resolution. Pretty standard in HD nowadays, it seems.

Performance

A quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor runs this phone along with 2GB of RAM. Hmmm.. sounds interesting, right? So we went ahead and used Geekbench to see how those two components work together! The results?

Geekbench-for-Asus-Zenfone-Live.jpg

A little let down, but knowing that it was compared with such powerhouses like the Galaxy S7 (which costs a LOT more than this one), I say:

not-bad-meme.jpg

The results just mean that the Zenfone Live would be limited in terms of performance, best used for calls, texts, simple gaming apps, video streaming and of course selfies.


Camera

Speaking of selfies, the Zenfone Live features a 5-megapixel front camera with the world’s first live streaming beautification technology. It has a soft light LED flash and an 82-degree wide view angle.

The result is smooth skin when streaming live selfie videos on Facebook or Instagram.


PixelMaster 3.0 camera modes include real-time beautification, low light, night, photo effect, time lapse, HDR pro and auto.


Below is a sample shot using the  Zenfone Live in auto mode. The original was captured in natural light, generating 2560x1920 pixels.

ASUS-Zenfone-Live-Front-Camera.jpg

To compare, we took a similar shot using the Zenfone Selfie. The original came out in 4096x3072 pixels.

ASUS-Zenfone-Selfie-Front-Camera.jpg

We also sampled the 13-megapixel PixelMaster rear camera, which also features a soft-light LED flash but carries more camera modes, such as real-time beautification, low light, super resolution, HDR pro, night, photo effect, panorama, time lapse, children (to capture movement), QR code and auto.

The below photo was an interesting close-up of a burger slice at Papa Diddi's. The original was a 2340x4160 pixel photo, zoom wasn't necessary. Just focus on the subject and shoot.

ASUS-Zenfone-Live-Rear-Camera.jpg

With better lighting indoors, the Zenfone Live delivered a crisp, 4160x2340 pixel shot. We reduced it, below.

 

Zenfone-Live-Rear-Camera-Horizontal.jpg

Zenfone Live sample video

Sample video taken with the Zenfone Live rear camera

Battery life

A 2070mAh non removable battery powers the Zenfone Live, and boy, is it a pretty decent one! We were able to fully charge this phone in barely 3 hours, and it lasted for more than 28 hours over regular use. Surfing using mobile data did not drain the phone as much as I expected.



Connectivity and other features

One thing that bugs me, though, is the connectivity. Sure, the Zenfone Live has the standard connectivity options like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, FM and 3G. But when compared with other smartphones, it doesn't seem to pick up Wi-Fi with weak signals. So if you're looking to use the world’s first livestreaming, real-time beautification technology, you need to either have a Wi-Fi source within a few meters of your phone, or have an excellent mobile data provider (which unfortunately does not exist in the Philippines.)

Aside from that, the phone comes with 100GB free space on Google Drive (for 2 years, but don't be choosy).

Verdict

At just Php6,995, this handset has all the goodies a regular selfie addict will surely love, and then some! Social media stories are the in thing nowadays, so this means more and more people will find live beautification a practical feature.

Unfortunately, we can't really use it to its fullest potential since live-streaming in the Philippines is not that easy given the terrible internet here.

Our overall rating is 7 out of 10.


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