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[Share] Zenfone Live (L1) Review: A Bang for Your Buck?

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ColourAlchemy PHL Level 1 | All posts
Last edited by ColourAlchemy on 2018/10/24 08:35

Everyone has a checklist of what they're looking for when searching for a new smartphone. From power for hardcore gaming to an aesthetically-pleasing built for flaunting, it varies from person to person. For me, it's camera quality, mainly because I often take a lot of videos and photos for art documentation, as well as selfies for future self-criticism.

Now, one of the booming activities involves sharing your personal lives with others online. Anyone who's ever been connected to the interweb will always have had an experience like such. It can be as simple as posting about how your dog lovingly slobbered all over your face, to something grander, like uploading your anniversary vlog on Youtube. Either way, a common denominator is that you are in front of the camera.

This is something the people at Asus decided to focus on, so they created a budget smartphone that targets that audience. Enter the Zenfone Live (L1), an upgrade to last year's Zenfone Live. Recently, Asus Philippines reached out to me so I can try it out. From what they said, this unit has 3 main selling points:

1. It's 18:9 display offers more screen to enjoy your K-drama marathon whilst still being in a compact 5.5-inch body.
2. It's 3000mah battery can last the day without you having to run to a socket of the nearest café.
3. It's beautification feature lets you showcase your pretty face anytime, minus the hassle and effort of fixing up.

Sound nice, right? Of course, what's on paper can differ from the actual performance. Today, I'll only give you a quick rundown on the specs and facts, as well as my first impressions of the device. If you want a feel for how the Zenfone Live (L1) goes in the real world, watch out for my next post!


The set comes this colorful box with the Asus "We Heart Photo" design. Although I honestly prefer practicality over appearance when it comes to packaging, I found this incredibly fun. Inside you'll find the unit, the charging adapter, the charging cord, the user manual, and a small key thing for accessing the card slots.

The battery is non-removable, but claims to last 8-movies long.

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The external buttons are located in the usual places. The power button and volume rack are on the right, headphone jack up top, card slots on the left, and the charging port and speaker are at the bottom. The downside is it doesn't have a fingerprint scanner. To compensate, you at least get Face Unlock.
P_20181013_122455-01_1.jpg P_20181013_122501-01_1.jpg P_20181013_122704-01_1.jpg

I won't go into detail with the interface because it's just your typical Android. That being said, here are the important specs I may or may not have pulled from the internet! Don't get your geek on though. These are just basic.

  • Android Oreo, ZenUI
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 425
  • 5.5-inch body, 18:9 HD+ Display
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage, expandable to 2TB via microSD
  • 13mp rear camera PDAF, with LED Flash
  • 5mp front camera, with LED Flash and beautification
  • Dual Sim, 4G LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Face Unlock
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • 140g
  • P5,995.00

First Impressions

I was doing schoolwork when I got the package, which meant it was the perfect time to take shots of my babies. First opening the phone, I noticed how nice the screen was. Sure, it's not 4K, but it's bright enough to still see even in daylight. The colors are quite vibrant, too. While there are more vivid ones out in the market, this for the price is more than what I expected.

At full volume, the sound can be heard in my dad's room from my mine, both doors closed. Though it can become distorted, do know that this has AudioWizard so you can customize the frequencies and such to match your personal listening profile.

I know 140g is kind of hard to visualize, but know that the built is pretty light compared to more premium phones. This doesn't mean it isn't sturdy. It really is, and there's enough weight to it to not feel like a cheap device. It also isn't prone to fingerprints and smudges because of its matte surface.

As for the pictures, I brought out 2 artworks to photograph.

This first one I used to measure the contrast. I wanted to see how black the black is and how white the, well, white is. You also get good amount of detail and sharpness. I always knew Asus delivers, and even for something less that P6,000, they still did.

Now onto the color. I mentioned the screen was nicely-lit and vibrant, right? It also translated onto the pictures. As you can see, the reds of the apple are very rich; the yellows, bright; and the blues, deep.

Afterwards, I took a video of me making a new piece. Sadly, I can't upload it here. I'll upload it to Youtube when the internet speed isn't sluggish and update this post.
Despite that drawback, I was able to capture a still from the video. The output is quite clear, as even in the lighter splashes of watercolor you can see a bit of gradiation between the hues.

Lastly for the camera first impression, we cannot go without a selfie. I just snapped a fast one during class.
The color is honestly washed though it's something I can forgive considering the beautification feature. I assume this lightens the overall photo to give a livelier look. It can also just be our room lighting.

I wasn't able to test games during this week because, again, our internet speed is nowhere near stellar. With that, I also wasn't able to fully test the battery life. It did last me the entire day, but I don't often watch movies on my phone. The most draining apps I typically use are social media platforms, shopping apps, and games. Wait for my next post and we'll see if the 3000mAh battery is really good for an entire day of my routine.

Overall Thoughts
A big contributing factor to how I decide if something is worth getting or not is the price. Again, this is a little under P6,000. That's literally 70% cheaper than what I currently own and while I'm not floored, I can surely live with this because of the camera quality. Since our needs don't match down to a tee, it still depends on your preferences. If you want a verdict, I would absolutely recommend this if you're on a tight budget and are keen on good photos and video, as well as a large display.

There's more I need to tap into with this phone but for now, I say that things are looking good. Hopefully it stays on this path for this coming week.
PHL Dr.Zen | All posts
nice review!! great job!!
PHL Dr.Zen | All posts
Nice review. Zenfone Live L1 indeed is a nice and a bang for a buck smartphone. Specially its rear camera's great output 
PHL Moderator | All posts
Love your review! Thanks for sharing your experience with ZenFone Live L1. Can't wait to read your next review.
Nice review of Zenfone Live L1! looking forward for more of your shots!
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