The ASUS Zenfone Live is a budget phone (P6995 at launch) with budget specs (5-inch HD, Quad Core, 2GB RAM) but which can do real-time beautification during front camera Livestreaming. We have the BeautyLive kit, which contains the Zenfone Live along with items ASUS PH threw in so members of the PH media can better appreciate what the phone can do. The kit does not come with the Zenfone Live’s retail version.

We’ll do the fancy box first before we dive into the Zenfone live itself. If you’re in a hurry, we have an unboxing video below.

So, our unboxing of the ASUS Zenfone Live is actually two unboxings. We got sent the BeautyLive Kit which contains not just the Zenfone Live but other items ASUS Philippines threw in so members of the media could better appreciate what the phone can do. The box has a product brochure, a reviewer’s guide (it’s just a guide, not something set in stone), two mirrors (pink, naturally), a small phone tripod (to hold the Zenfone Live in place while livestreaming), a Lolliflash (which connects to the phone’s audio port and illuminates the user’s face), and of course the phone itself. ASUS Philippines has always been this thoughtful. First time we experienced this media edition kit was when we reviewed the Zenfone Zoom, which contained not just the Zoom but a Zenny Doll and a kind of Zenfone Zoom features prompt card set. #asus #asuszenfone #asuszenfonelive #android #livestream #livestreaming #selfie

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Now for the ASUS Zenbook Live’s box. As we do this, a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Budget smartphones tend to cut corners – they offer lower specs, not so good build, not the best features, or missing features – all so that the price can be pulled down.
  2. Sometimes, the price is just right for what you get (i.e., the phone is acceptably bad because the price is so low).
  3. Sometimes, what you get exceeds expectations and you’re happy to recommend the phone, along with its compromises.

Let’s look at the phone and its specs.

Asus Zenfone Live (ZB501KL) Full Specs

5-inch HD IPS 1280 x 720 resolution, 2.5D curved glass, 294 ppi
1.2 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 410 Quad-Core Processor | Adreno 306 GPU | 2GB RAM
16GB Internal Storage, up to 128GB via microSD card
Rear Camera: 13MP F2.0 wtih Autofocus and LED flash
Selfie Camera 5MP F2.2 with LED flash
2650 mAh Battery | Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.5
WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Accelerometer, light, compass, proximity
Comes in Shimmer Gold, Rose Pink, Navy Black
141.2 x 71.74 x 7.95 mm | 120g


Around the Phone

  • ASUS Zenfone Live, ASUS Zenfone Live Specs, ASUS Zenfone Live Price


First Thoughts

The build quality is predominantly plastic (though it looks like metal from afar) but is surprisingly good for this price: comfy, though a bit too light, we don’t hate it, but we wish it had more heft though. Because of the 2.5D curved glass (no boxy feel when touching the edge-glass sides), narrow body (the display is only 5 inches), and slim profile, the phone feels pleasant to hold.

You can slide your finger smoothly over the display, as it has some kind of coating that allows this smooth-glide. But there’s no screen protector that comes-with, either separately or installed. But somehow that’s fine.

Your thumb can reach most areas of the small display, so it’s a comfy-to-use phone. People with small hands or those who prefer small phones may love this. We’re not sure we like it pink, though.

We think the rear cover color is not that good in some lighting conditions. It can be slippery so you’d best get a case to protect it. The metallic-looking plastic body doesn’t have a reassuring heft (there we go again about the heft).

ASUS Zenfone Live, ASUS Zenfone Live Specs, ASUS Zenfone Live Price

The narrow body allows for one-hand use – such as typing with only one thumb – and that’s a good thing. With groceries in one hand and this phone in another, it’s good to know you can swipe to text.

The 5-inch HD display is unusually good: there’s enough color-pop-out and good enough contrast. Of course there’s still that brushed-blurry look, after all it’s HD. You may need to turn off the ambient light sensor so it’s always on full brightness when outdoors, for better visibility. But we don’t see this as a problem.

The capacitive keys are not backlit but the haptic feedback is enough, so no complaints there.

The hybrid SIM is a bit of a let down. The similarly priced and comparatively spec’d OPPO A37 offers dedicated dual nano SIM slots plus a microSD card slot, and we’d welcome that in future ASUS budget phone builds.

ASUS Zenfone Live, ASUS Zenfone Live Specs, ASUS Zenfone Live Price

Two things that may pose a problem in everyday use – the 2GB RAM (you’ll need to limit the apps you download and use), the battery life (probably good for normal messaging and browsing and Facebook, but video playback and even casual games can eat up battery life fast), and the lack of fast charging (even though other budget phones already offer that).

About other phones. At least one other P6990 phone offers a metal body, a fingerprint sensor, a full HD display, a fast-charging 3000 mAh battery, HiFi audio, the ability to play Modern Combat 5: Blackout on moderate settings: the Flash Plus 2, whose video review is here. We mention that since, if you’re looking for a budget phone, every low priced phone with relatively good specs is worth looking into.


Unboxing Video

And that’s it for our unboxing. We’ll see if the Zenfone Live is both a decent daily driver for its price and performance in the full review.

ASUS Zenfone Live, ASUS Zenfone Live Specs, ASUS Zenfone Live Price

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