ASUS ZenFone Live Review; Beauty in Real-Time

Anjie lou delos Reyes
ASUS ZenFone Live Review; Beauty in Real-Time
ASUS ZenFone Live Review; Beauty in Real-Time


Beautification mode is a common thing for smartphones these days, but this feature has been limited to still images. ASUS wants to make a difference, and takes it one step further by incorporating this technology in real-time, not just for taking pictures, but also for videos, live videos to be exact, meet the ASUS ZenFone Live.


ASUS ZenFone Live Unboxing and Hands-on

The design language of the ZenFone Live is similar to other ASUS devices that was recently released, let's say ZenFone Max. However, due to the entry-level nature of this handset, it dropped the usual metallic body found on its relatives, and swapped it to a more affordable plastic material. The good thing though is that it is not easily identifiable that the handset is made of plastic, especially if you are just going to look at it. In fact, it looks premium at a distance, the only time you know it is the opposite when you touch and feel it.

It measures 141.2mm x 71.74mm x 7.95mm and weighs about 120 grams. When compared to Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime (144.8mm x 72.1mm x 8.9mm, 160 grams) that also has the same screen size, the Live is sexier in every aspect, not to mention lighter. The same holds true when compared to Huawei Y5 2017 (143.8mm x 72mm x 8.4mm, 150 grams).

ASUS ZenFone Live Front

The phone's front is mainly occupied by the 5-inch display with fully laminated 2.5D glass. Above the screen are the notification light, LED flash, earpiece grill, secondary camera, and hidden sensor, while below the display are the usual back, home, menu capacitive keys.

ASUS ZenFone Live DIsplay Info
Display Information

By the way, the screen has an IPS panel for clear viewing angle, HD resolution that translates to 294 pixels per inch, and supports up to 10 simultaneous touches. The output is surprisingly good, if not great when compared to other devices with the same price point. The colors are stunning, and there are enough brightness. Sunlight legibility is also good, however, it tends to be a little reflective at times.

ASUS ZenFone Live Back

Going at the back, you will find the main camera and its LED flash directly below it, both of which are positioned in the upper left corner. Moving to the sides, the top holds the 3.5mm audio jack and secondary microphone, the bottom has the loudspeaker grill, micro USB port and primary microphone, the left has the SIM/microSD tray combo, and the right carries the volume keys and power button.

To learn more about the ZenFone Live physical appearance, you can watch the above unboxing video.


ASUS ZenFone Live Software

The ZenFone Live runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the latest version of ASUS' proprietary ZenUI. This is the first time we encountered the ZenUI 3.5, it still maintains similar user experience with the previous 3.0 version, but brings new features and a refreshing look.

These features are as follows:

  • The ASUS Gallery now supports 360-degree content, no need to download third-party app to view and share such contents.
  • The users can also create their very own 360-degree contents through PhotoCollage's templates.
  • The lock screen has a magazine-like characteristics, wherein a different wallpaper will greet the user each time they wake up the phone.
  • There is a new app called ASUS ZenFit, and as the name implies, it is a health management application that can record steps, calories burned, and more.
  • The ZenUI KeyBoard now allows users to adjust its size, and positioned it the way they want for better comfort.
  • The ZenUI Dialer and Contacts can keep your work and private life separate by assigning which SIM to use for a certain contact or number.

Below works on other Zen devices, but not on ZenFone Live:

  • ZenUI VR 360 - this feature is available on ZenFone 3 Zoom and ZenFone AR
  • Shoot, save, and view photos in RAW format
  • Connect to WiFi networks by scanning the QR code using the camera.
  • Create a QR code for hotspot to quickly share it to other devices.
  • ZenFit's heart rate and sleep quality tracking

To learn more about the ZenUI 3.5, visit


ASUS ZenFone Live CPU-Z Information
ASUS ZenFone Live CPU-Z Information

The ZenFone Live with model name ZB501KL runs on Qualcomm Quad Core Snapdragon processor paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. On the ASUS website, there is no mention about the chipset used, while some tech blogs say it has Snapdragon 410. However, CPU-Z and the other benchmark apps listed below show SD 400 clocked at 1.4GHz each.

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser CPU-Z Information
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser CPU-Z Information

In comparison, when we reviewed the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser that has Snapdragon 410, the CPU-Z shows that it is indeed SD 410 as the ARM architecture is Cortex-A53 and Qualcomm MSM8916 (please refer to the above screenshot). The same is true with OPPO A37, the same details are listed in CPU-Z.

Anyway, below are the scores it got from our favorite benchmarking tools.

Antutu - 24,272
Quadrant - 11,741
NenaMark2 - 55.9fps
Geekbench - 498 (single core)
Geekbench - 1,350 (multi core)
Geekbench - 915 (compute)
PC Mark - 2,540

ASUS ZenFone Live Benchmark Scores
Benchmark Scores

The phone can handle day to day tasks with ease, normal usage such as navigating the interface, browsing long web pages, and reading emails to name a few, is pretty much smooth, provided that there are only few resources-hungry apps opened in the background. Call quality is great, thanks to the two microphones,  the speaker is also loud enough.

If you have used high-end or even mid-range Android devices in the past, you will notice that loading times are slightly longer. One example is when opening File Manager, the ZenFone Live usually takes about 2 seconds before it is fully opened, while it opens almost in an instant in the ZenFone 3 ZE552KL.

Meanwhile, playing casual games and some heavy titles is OK, Mobile Legends works just fine too. If you insist to play those games that requires lots of processing powers and resources, they are somewhat playable, of course, lags and hiccups are inevitable. But then again, it was not meant for mobile gamers, it was made for certain types of audience.


ASUS ZenFone Live Camera UI
Camera UI

The ZenUI camera interface is similar, if not the same to other ZenFone devices, there is very little to no changes at all when compared to its older cousins. As usual, there are lots of shooting modes such as HDR Pro, Super Resolution and Beautification, what is missing though is the manual mode.

ASUS ZenFone Live Beauty Live
Beauty Live

The front-facing camera has a 5MP resolution with f/2.2 aperture, 82-degree wide angle lens, and accompanied by its own LED flash. It has real time beautification, which ASUS claims as the world's first live streaming beautification technology. This feature can be used when doing live broadcast on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. There is simple control at the bottom, which allows you to select the level of beauty level from 0 to 10.

ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - Selfie
ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - Overexposed Selfie
Overexposed Selfie

The selfie camera captures good quality images when the lighting condition is ideal and you have a steady hand. Due to being fixed-focus, slight movement or vibrations, usually results in blurry image, while taking selfie or groufie when the light is too bright mostly ends up over exposed. Meanwhile, doing selfies in low-light environment tends to be a little grainy, and when the front flash is triggered, the output is a bit soft.

ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - Day
ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - Without HDR
Without HDR
ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - With HDR
With HDR
ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - Night
ASUS ZenFone Live Camera Sample - Closeup

On the other hand, the 13-megapixel auto focus rear camera has an f/2.0 aperture and 5p lens construction. As the phone is geared towards the entry-level market, I did not expect much of it, but it turns out, the main shooter is pretty much capable, especially when the phone's SRP is put into the equation. When there is a good source of light, images are vivid, crisp and vibrant. Focusing speed is fast even in closeup or macro shots, and speaking of which, it has nice bokeh too. The dynamic range is not fantastic, but with the help of HDR mode, the shadows and highlights are at least corrected.


It supports two micro SIM cards with LTE connectivity including the FDD Band 28 or commonly known as the 700MHz frequency. By the way, the SIM 2 slot is a hybrid type, which means users need to choose between having two SIMs or additional storage via micro SD card. The usual WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth (version 4.0), and GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS are present. It also has FM radio, and the micro USB port has OTG function. It still has 3.5mm audio jack, and there is a free earphone in the package to begin with.


ASUS ZenFone Live Battery Life
PC Mark Battery Life Test

This handset is equipped with 2650mAh non-removable battery, which, according to ASUS can last up to 471 hours of talk time, of course, that's depends on test conditions. When subjected to PC Mark Battery Test, it scored 8 hours and 35 minutes, which is considered a good result.


The ASUS ZenFone Live is created for specific niche and market, and if taking selfies and live streaming are your thing, it is the most suitable device for you, especially if your budget is limited. But that's not all, there are so much more to it than just real-time beautification, rear camera is more than capable, looks and build quality are OK even if it is entirely made of plastic, and battery life is more than acceptable.

ASUS ZenFone Live Specifications:
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3G: B1/5/8
  • FDD LTE: B1/3/5/7/8/28
  • TDD LTE: B38
  • Dual Nano SIM, dual standby
  • 5-inch IPS capacitive HD (1280x780) touchscreen display, 2.5D curved glass
  • Dimensions: 141.2mm x 71.74mm x 7.95 mm
  • Weight: 120 grams
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ASUS ZenUI 3.5
  • Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD card, uses SIM 2 slot
  • 13MP f/2.0 auto focus main camera with LED flash
  • 5MP f/2.2 fixed focus secondary camera with soft light LED flash, real-time beautification
  • Multimedia player
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n
  • Micro USB with OTG function
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Sensor: accelerometer, e-compass, proximity, light
  • Battery: 2650mAh, non-removable
  • Colors: shimmer gold, rose pink, navy black
  • Price: Php6,995

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