Asus Zenfone Live review: For the love of live video

Asus Zenfone Live review: The smartphone's USP is the ability to make your live videos look much better with a dedicated app for the same. Here's how the Asus Zenfone Live smartphone, which is priced at Rs 9,999, fared in our performance review.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi | Updated: June 13, 2017 7:55 pm
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Asus’ strategy for India is simple: launch as many phones as possible, often with minor variations around the specifications and price tag. The Zenfone series has so many variants in India, that it is hard to keep track of which phone launched when, and what was the standout feature. One thing Asus has been doing consistently is offering ample battery life in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 price point with the Zenfone Max series. Now, it looks like Asus wants to latch onto the going obsession with live videos.

Asus Zenfone Live is supposed to make your live videos look much better. I’m guessing this will appeal to those who like to go live for everything, be it eating breakfast, cooking dinner, picking up your kid from school. I suppose the list of occasions is endless, depending on your personal preference for streaming your life out to the world. So does the Asus Zenfone Live live up to this claim? Is the Live bit good enough to make this one buy worthy? Here’s our review.

Asus Zenfone Live Specifications 5-inch HD resolution display (1280×720 pixels | Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, Adreno 305 GPU | 2GB RAM + 16GB storage space (expandable to 128GB) | 13MP rear camera + 5MP front camera with 1.4um pixel size, LED flash | 2600 mAh battery | Android M with ZenUI on top |

Asus Zenfone Live price in India Rs 9999

Asus Zenfone Live Design Display

One look at the Asus Zenfone Live, and honestly there’s no difference between this phone and the countless other Zenfones launched in the market. The review unit we got had a pink gold colour, sort of like a duller version of the original rose gold that is now common.

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Asus Zenfone Live has a metal unibody design, 2.5 glass all over the front. The volume button and the power button are placed on the right. The top part of the phone also has the front camera, LED flash, and proximity sensor. The rear camera is placed on one corner of the phone with Asus logo on the back. The phone has two prominent antenna lines on the top and bottom.

The bottom of the Zenfone Live has the micro-USB charging port, single speaker grille, and headphone jack. Asus has gone for capacitive buttons on this phone like with some of other their devices in the series. Also there’s no fingerprint scanner on this phone, a common feature in a lot of budget options now.

On the display front, I wouldn’t say the Zenfone Live really stands out from the competition. This is an HD resolution display, which isn’t the brightest or the most vibrant. The viewing angles are acceptable. However, binge watching videos might not be a delightful experience on this smartphone.

Asus Zenfone Live performance review

Asus Zenfone live comes with a Qualcomm quad-core 400 processor, and this is one of the older series, so the phone isn’t exactly geared for power performance. While it can handle multi-tasking, social media browsing etc, without too much of an issue, gaming is another challenge. There’s a noticeable lag when you are playing games like Asphalt 8 or even Lara Croft Run.

In Antutu benchmark scores, it gets around 26,000 in our testing, which is well below where other phones in the price range are. From a performance front, Asus Zenfone Live seems overpriced.

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Asus Zenfone Live camera, selfie camera, and Live feature review

Coming to the USP of this phone, the front camera and it’s so called adoption for the Live feature. Essentially, Asus has loaded a BeautyLive app on this phone, and you’ll have to sync your Facebook account with this one. The app has a scale of 1 to 10 for the kind of filter that you wish to apply to your live video. The number 10 will ensure ultra smooth skin, and an eerie glow that is hard to overlook. Once you have synced your Facebook account, go live and BeautyLive opens up the Facebook app. So yeah, the video doesn’t directly go live from this app.

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Once Facebook opens, you have start a live video, and then the BeautyLive settings will be superimposed, while you do the live. You can tweak around with the filter, while your live video is rolling. As far as USP goes, I wouldn’t say this is not something exceptional or unique. For those who don’t know, Facebook does let you add filters, more like face masks to your live videos, which seem like a lot more fun.

The live streaming isn’t a problem, but you’re relying on the Facebook app for this. If you put the filter at 10, your skin does appear extra smooth, which some people might really like. The filter also works if you are doing a live video with the rear camera, and while the video might appear a little over saturated, the live doesn’t doesn’t look all so bad. But I wouldn’t say this is a flawlessly executed feature on the Zenfone Live.

The selfie camera is at par with what the competition offers in this price range. So be prepared for some post-selfie editing on Instagram or whatever else, before you share these on social media.

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The actual rear camera can also be used with the BeautyLive mode on, and in low-light things might appear a little over-saturated. In terms of performance for still images, the rear camera is not bad at all, and if the lighting is proper, photos have enough details in terms. But the camera does struggle with colours like pinks and reds. The camera isn’t the best for low-light shots, but this is a budget phone.

Asus Zenfone Live battery, software UI review

Asus Zenfone Live joins the long list of smartphones that are still launching with Android Marshmallow in 2017. Of course, Asus isn’t the only company guilty of this, but it is a letdown. ZenUI remains as confusing and over-the-top as ever, and on a 16GB phone, so much bloatware could have easily been avoided. After all 16GB is the new 8GB as far as phone storage is concerned for most users.

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On the battery front, Asus Zenfone Live should last a day with moderate to heavy usage. In the PCMark test, it scored over 6 hours, which isn’t as impressive as some of the competition. The phone has 4G VoLTE support as well. Asus has included many battery modes which can help boost the overall life, for those looking to get some extra hours for the day.

Asus Zenfone Live verdict

Asus Zenfone Live is pitching the ability to improve your Live video as the USP. I would have not thought that such a USP is possible. But in the age of selfie cameras and Live videos, anything goes.

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In terms of overall performance, Asus Zenfone Live is not bad, but again this is an under-powered phone, and given the Rs 9,999 price tag seems fairly expensive for what it offers. Honestly, if you consider the competition like Redmi 4, Redmi Note 4, Lenovo K6 Power, etc, the Asus Zenfone Live has trouble standing out.

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