Asus Zenfone Live Review (ZB501KL): Live and Loud

Users share in social media in different ways. Aside from the usual photos, text and video sharing, there's a rising popularity for live contents which sparked a new era of social media sharing. Apps like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube now support live streaming videos for social media creators to interact with their followers in a more spontaneous and personal way. 

Asus Zenfone Live Review ZB501KL

This social media sharing scheme is the inspiration of the first ever live streaming-oriented smartphone from Asus, the Zenfone Live (ZB501KL). Whether it's the first of its kind to be marketed as such needs to be confirmed.  But one thing's for sure, the Zenfone Live is enjoying a rising popularity among teens and young adults demographics. These users often share live video streaming updates in various social media. Aside from the Live Beautification feature, the Asus Zenfone Live is more than it's defining feature which we will find out in this review.

Asus Zenfone Live Review

What's in the Box?

In addition to the Asus Zenfone Live box, Asus also came up with bigger kit which spoils you with necessary accessories to improve your livestreaming experience. This pink box includes a bucket-full of gems like the Tripod, two Pink Mirrors, Asus Lolliflash, Colorful stickers and Zenfone Live usage guides. However, Asus pointed out that the pink box is not the official retail version of the Asus Zenfone Live. This glammed-up packaging is only limited to a specified number of buyers, and it's on a first-come first-serve basis.

Asus Zenfone Live Review ZB501KL Unboxing

Likewise, the standard box of the Asus Zenfone Live is very similar to what we have accustomed to. There's no considerable change since it debuted with the Zenfone 2 series retail boxes. We also have the usual inclusions like the wall adapter, microUSB cable, earphones, manuals and SIM tray ejector

Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom Review


Last year, Asus started cultivating the metal unibody in their Zenfone 3 line of smartphones. This includes the Zenfone 3 Laser and the Zenfone 3 Max. You can consider the Zenfone Live to come from the same melting pot of its older brethren. Its construction is defined by a combination of subtle curves and straight diamond cut lines. 

Asus Zenfone Live Review ZB501KL Philippines

This kind of design is very popular in almost all smartphones nowadays that it could be indistinguishable if placed on a pile of other phones released this year. Good thing there's the iconic capacitive buttons that would immediately suggest that this device is a Zenfone.

The sides house the same buttons with the same placement as several other 5-inchers from the company. Facing the front panel, the power button is at the right accompanied by the volume rocker. Asus added an extra concentric Zen texture to these buttons which are very much of the same design philosophy as the company’s recent releases. You’ll find the textured buttons very useful especially in unlocking the phone in the dark or in your pocket.

Asus Zenfone Live Review ZB501KL

Bottom side is the home of the microUSB port and speaker grill. The left side has the SIM tray while the top features the 3.5-mm audio jack and microphone. On the front panel, the capacitive buttons are not lighted while the front-facing camera is very imposing at the upper part of the panel.

I’m completely smitten with the Zenfone Live’s design. Its build and quality is a mixture of the Zenfone 3 Max's and Zenfone 3 Laser's elements. It is light but not too light to be insubstantial. The Zenfone Live is an aluminum-encased smartphone; and while it exudes a premium feel, it may be slippery on the hand. However, It’s easy to manage, thanks to its smaller footprint.

Performance and Multimedia

If you read the specs sheet, we can instantly categorize the Zenfone Live as an entry-level phone. It ticks with a Snapdragon 410 chipset which features a quad-core Cortex-A53 under the hood. The SoC is paired with 2 gigs of RAM which has given me smooth experience on my entire run with the handset. It makes me think that Asus has made the absolute most of its internals which results in a handset that could be compared favorably to the company’s recent releases – the Zenfone 3 Max and Zenfone 3 Laser. 

The lower-specced chipset does not stop the Zenfone Live from being competitive. It’s just plain smoother and faster than the vast majority of smartphones in its tier. Video streaming and playback are great activities to do in this phone. Running Mobile Legends is also smooth; although I had encountered few tolerable lags while running the game.

The Zenfone Live is also a great messaging device, I opened several messaging apps at the same time without having to worry about crashing and delayed message reception. Calls made with the phone are very clear to the receiving end due to the dual microphone.


The aesthetic appeal of the Zenfone Live is complemented by the 5-inch HD IPS LCD display. This means that viewing angles are very generous. Colors and contrast are also appealing in the eyes. The vibrancy is punchy without looking artificial. I am not surprised that watching movies and reading texts with the Zenfone Live’s display are both engaging activities.


The Asus Zenfone Live packs a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture. The camera is great for a handset in sub-Php7K category. I am also impressed on how quick it could take photos, it’s even comparable to the Zenfone 3 Zoom’s speed though autofocus could be a bit of a challenge in lowlight situations. Photos in a well-lighted environment are pretty legit. Outputs are vibrant but far from being over-saturated. Colors are accurate; contrast is also toggled up a notch.

In lowlight, the handset’s photo quality drops. Unlike the other handsets released before it, the Live does not have a Laser Autofocus function. The single LED flash at the back might be a reliever but the phone's automatic capturing does not crank up ISO in a dim environment.

The front camera, though, is a breath of fresh air. It packs a 5MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 1.4 micrometer pixel size. Selfies coming from the front shooter are pretty impressive. I love the way the Beautification function improves close up shots. It’s also fast in focusing your face - the area in which other selfie smartphones struggle. The front-facing flash illuminates subjects evenly without blowing out details.

Here are sample shots off the Zenfone Live 13MP rear camera in different conditions:

Lowlight Outdoor

Lowlight Outdoor

Outdoor, Poor Lighting

Outdoor Good Lighting



Software: ZenUI, Beauty Live App

Surprisingly, the ZenUI offers another defining app, the BeautyLive. We all know very well that this is the core functionality of this device. This app pitches the native Beautification feature of the Zenfone and infuse it in an intuitive interface which lets you do live sessions and share it directly to your favorite social media channels which offer live sharing functionality.

Aside from the selfie camera, the Beauty Live app is definitely the strongest point of the handset. There’s also a dual mic module that is specifically tailored to filter noise during live sessions. Using the Zenfone Live in video streaming over Facebook is engaging and fun. For one, voice registers to be clear and crisp. Likewise, the instant Beautification that is layered on whichever Live streaming app you’re using is definitely a plus factor. You’ll know that you’re in Beautification mode when a Beauty Live bubble appears.

BeautyLive App Interface

Using the Beauty Live is definitely a walk in the park. All you have to do is pull up the app, set your Beautification gradient from 1 to 10 and then choose which platform to broadcast - Facebook Live, Instagram or Youtube Live.

On the other hand, the ZenUI is still bloated with wares you don’t probably need. I deleted as much as I could upon setting up the handset.


The 2650 mAh battery is also a capable addition to Zenfone Live’s spec sheet. In an HD-screened caliber, the rating is more than enough to get you through a busy day. I love the way Asus packed a very competitive battery in a sleeker and thin profile. In between charges, I could squeeze almost 9 hours of screen time spanning over 24 hours.

My phone activities were (if not in standby) two 20-minute Facebook Live sessions on WiFi, three dozens of rear camera shots, one hour of Spotify premium via 4G, another hour of Netflix video streaming over 4G, 15-minute calls, 30 minutes of messaging and two hours of Mobile Legends. At the very end of the 24-hour period, I still tally at 3 percent.

The Wrap

On paper, the Asus Zenfone Live settles in the entry-level spectrum. However, there are a few things that make it standout and even overshadow mid-tier phones. For one, it is the poster boy of the feature-oriented BeautyLive app which not only does “Beautification” in your photos but also does a seamless job in live video streaming. It is also an unapologetic and unbashed clone of its older brethren in terms of the metal-ish unibody design which I literally drooled over. We might agree that the design is unoriginal since most of the Android phones look exactly like each other these days.

Locally, I could say that the Asus Zenfone Live is a major catalyst in this new trend of social media sharing. Filipinos are getting a good grip of sharing live stream videos because of the fact that the Zenfone Live allows them to do it in an effortless fashion.

At its Php 6,995 price, it’s not very hard to recommend the Asus Zenfone Live. The simple pleasure of using this handset is very essential to the users, especially when you spend most of your time with this phone. All in all, Asus made a great handset which is easy to love and carry around. Its unique BeautyLive app and undeniably useful supporting hardware are feathers in Asus’ hat.


1. BeautyLive App

2. Selfie Camera with LED flash
3. Sleek and svelte unibody design
4. Capable Battery life
5. Dual-mic Setup


1. Aging ZenUI skin
2. Unlit capacitive buttons
3. Slightly thick bezels       

Asus Zenfone Live ZB501KL Specs

141.2 x 71.7 x 8 mm, 120g
5-inch IPS LCD Display, 1280 x 720 pixels at 294 ppi
Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
Quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 CPU
Adreno 306 GPU
2GB of RAM
16GB Internal Memory up to 128GB expandable
13MP rear camera, f/2.0 lens, Autofocus, LED Flash
5MP front camera with f/2.2 lens, 1.4 µm pixel size
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
FM Radio
3.5mm Audio Jack
Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Accelerometer Sensors
Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS with ZenUI 3.5
2650mAh Non-Removable Battery
Shimmer Gold, Rose Pink, Navy Black
Price in the Philippines: Php 6,995
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