Asus today launched its Zenfone Live phone, which, as the name suggests, further refines the selfie formula and adds some nifty tools to enhance your Live streaming experience. This is the first phone that can beautify live videos in real-time while you stream them on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.

But a smartphone experience can’t be defined by a single parameter. Let’s explore Zenfone Live in full details to help you determine if this suits your individual needs.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review

Asus Zenfone Live Specifications And Features

  • 5.0-inch IPS LCD of 1280 x 720 resolution; 293ppi
  • 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core chipset; Adreno 305 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in memory, 128GB MicroSD card support
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, Zen UI 3.0 on top
  • 13MP rear camera; f/2.0 lens; single LED flash
  • 5MP front camera; f/2.2 lens; LED flash
  • Hybrid Dual SIM; 4G VoLTE support, WiFi 802.11 a/g/b/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • 2650mAh battery
  • Launch Price – 9,999 INR; Lowest Price

Design and Build

“Damn this thing is light” will most probably be your first reaction when you hold the Zenfone Live in hands for the first time. Many a time, even while wearing boxer shorts, we didn’t even realize that it was right there in our pocket.

Zenfone live is certainly a good looking phone and is quite ergonomic. Besides being feather lite, it’s also compact and it has a 2.5D glass on the front (that really helps) with a proper oleophobic coating to resist smudges. The bezel around the display is fairly narrow.

The rest of the phone has a metal finish but it’s actually made of plastic. You will, however, need to put it in a case – which you should, anyway – because the back cover is prone to scratches and scuff marks.

The sandblasted matte finish back folds to form rounded edges that lend Zenfone Live a nice grip. All buttons and ports are aptly situated. The display is lined with thin black borders which aren’t very conspicuous. For those who need to know, the capacitive keys below the display aren’t backlit.

Zenfone Live Display

The Zenfone Live comes with a 5.0-inch display with 720p HD resolution. The display is sharp, has wide viewing angles, and can get suitably bright for comfortable outdoor usage. The dynamic range could, however, use some improvement. Colors felt a tad muted. Auto-brightness works well but doesn’t kick in instantly.

A Blue light filter option is present in the quick settings and I, for one, like to keep it on at all times. This isn’t a perfect display, but for the price range, it feels quite adequate.

Zenfone Live Camera

The ace feature here is real-time beautification. The 5MP selfie camera has large 1.4-micrometer pixels and f/2.2 aperture optics to assist with low light performance. A soft LED flash is also present if you wish to shoot selfies in dark ambiance.

The BeautifyLive app, which is exclusive to Zenfone Live, lays a beautify slider and and other controls on top of the Facebook, Instagram or Youtube app when you go Live. You can use it to balance your face features, to lighten skin tones or to hide face blemishes.

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The Live beautification works as it should. And the audio quality while shooting live is certainly impressive. So, if you are enchanted by beautification mode on your selfie camera, you will find this to be a value addition. Other than the beautify mode, the selfie camera quality is above average too.

On the rear, you will find a 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash. The rear camera can click vivid and detailed images outdoors, but you will have to hold your hands steady. It also takes its own sweet time to lock focus while shooting close-ups or in low light. Images shot indoors show poor dynamic range and noise, which lies within the bounds of expected in this budget.

Asus has a ton of shooting mode in the camera app both for front and rear cameras. These include low light mode, Night mode, HDR, a Selfie mode that can be used to shoot selfies from rear cameras (works well), time lapse, Panorama and even a Children mode that plays amusing sounds to attract Kids attention before shooting (works the first few times).

The Camera performance of the Zenfone Live is about as good as we usually see in this price range. If you use beautify mode often in your selfies, the one in the BeautyLive app will work just as good.

Zenfone Live Camera Samples

Zenfone Live Performance and Software

The Asus Zenfone live is powered by Snapdragon 400 octa-core processor, which is frankly quite dated as of today. One experience with the handset tells us that the SoC hasn’t aged well. If you try engaging with multiple apps at a time, the phone stutters. At the same time, when you are going slow and aren’t pushing it to its limits, the phone runs just fine.

The chipset is paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage which further restricts it as a handset meant for basic users.

The ZenUI running on Zenfone Live is based on Android Marshmallow and the security patch installed is of April 2017. The ZenUI, as always, is feature loaded and is also loaded with more than a handful of Asus Apps you might not use. The software, however, doesn’t feel messy to us. People who like to tinker with different aspects of their phone interface frequently will have a lot to engage with. For others, it might feel overwhelming, at least initially.

Also Read: What’s right and what’s wrong with Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Zenfone Live Battery, Audio, and Others

The 2650mAh battery on the handset can comfortably last for a day of moderate usage. We didn’t have to resort to mid-day charging while sticking to the ‘Normal’ performance mode, but we weren’t playing games on the Zenfone Live either (save for testing purposes). Fast charging isn’t supported. Battery mileage is lesser in Performance mode.

The 5 magnet loudspeaker is quite loud and the handset also supports DTS X 7.1 channel surround sound via headphones. Call quality was excellent in our area. Noise cancellation via dual microphones works well too.

We didn’t face any connectivity issue either. WiFi, streaming content and data connection worked fine. The phone supports 4G VoLTE and is thus compatible with Reliance Jio network too.

Verdict

If Facebook Live and Beautify are your things, the Zenfone Live has a few nifty software and hardware additions to enhance your experience. In our books, its biggest plus point is its ergonomic design – it’s just super comfortable to carry around. The battery backup and audio quality are also quite convincing. On the downside, it’s hard to look past imperfections like the feeble smartphone SoC and the missing fingerprint sensor, at least for anyone looking for more than basic usage.

Who should buy it: Anyone who is a basic user restricted by a budget, who loves to go Live on the fly, and finds Beautify mode in selfies a value addition.

Pros 

  • Extremely light and handy
  • Looks elegant
  • Tools for Live video streaming work well

Cons

  • Chipset is a tad dated
  • No fingerprint sensor

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