In April of 2017, ASUS introduced the ZenFone Live – A phone aimed at content creators who are on a tight budget. It had some interesting features – BeautyLive, which allowed users to adjust the level of beautification in the middle of a livestream. as well as Dual Mics with noise cancelling, a 5-magnet speaker, and a smart amplifier that delivers up to 6 times more volume.

Fast forward to today, and the company has finally introduced a new member of its ZenFone Live portfolio. And while the ASUS ZenFone Live L1 no longer has the Beauty Live app, it has undergone a much-needed makeover from its year-old brother. With a more capable processor, a slight change in design, and more. But are these changes enough to make it relevant at this time? let’s find out in this review.

Specifications
ProcessorSnapdragon 425 (Quad-Core)
RAM2GB
Storage16GB (Expandable)
Display5.5-inch, HD+, 18:9
Rear Camera13MP, PDAF
Front Camera5MP
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo with ZenUI 5.0
Battery3,000mAh
Design and Build Quality

zfl1 u 3 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewI personally like the first ZenFone Live for having a premium design despite being a budget phone, and the ZenFone Live L1 is even better at that.

zfl1 u 13 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewThe phone isn’t too light or too heavy, and the matte finish that covers the sides and the back panel isn’t a smudge magnet. In fact, it makes the phone easier to grip.

zfl1 u 36 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewGone are the capacitive buttons below the screen, and welcome, a new 5.5-inch 18:9 display that perfectly compliments the compact form factor, which also aids in one-handed operation, and makes the phone pocket-friendly. The display itself has slightly more pixels at HD+ resolution. It’s bright enough, sharp enough, and vivid enough that it doesn’t look boring.

zfl1 u 19 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewAll the buttons are located on the right side, while a triple slot tray is housed on the left. As expected, the phone sticks to the standard microUSB port. For its price though, I can’t really complain.

Performance

The previous version was a decent daily driver, but suffered from minor stutters in the user interface. Unfortunately, even with a Snapdragon 425, the ZenFone Live L1 inherits that issue. It has 2GB of RAM, which should be enough for casual use, but 1GB more of it would’ve been nice.

I tested the ZenFone Live L1 at three games – Arena of Valor, which is a popular MOBA game, PUBG Mobile Lite, which should be enough of a test for a budget device, and Real Racing 3, which is quite optimized even for low-end smartphones. I used the GameBench app to measure the median fps for each game, and here are the results.

PUBG Mobile Lite is basically PUBG Mobile redesigned for low-spec devices. The experience was far from smooth, but the game was very much playable without any major issues. As for Arena of Valor, you can play it at its highest settings, with HD Display ON, with extreme frame drops only happening on 4v4 or 5v5 clashes. Lowering the settings a bit should help. Finally, Real Racing 3 runs smooth with no issues, and good frame rates.

Camerazfl l1 c 11 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 Reviewzfl l1 c 1 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 Reviewzfl l1 c 39 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 Review

The cameras on the previous ZenFone Live were pretty decent for its price, and the ZenFone Live L1,  is no different. Day shots exhibit good detail and sharpness, along with on-point color accuracy.  The overall quality is in fact, comparable to slightly more expensive devices.

zfl l1 c 23 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewShots in HDR mode also came out better than expected, with much of the objects in the scene getting good illumination.

zfl l1 c 61 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewIn low light, there’s noticeable loss of detail as expected, but for its price, I’d say the shots would pass for your social media posts.

zfl l1 c 28 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 Reviewzfl l1 c 26 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewThe 5MP front camera can take selfies with good details. The Bokeh effect, while software-driven, doesn’t look too bad as well.

Software

The device is loaded with ZenUI 5.0, which is more or less a world’s difference from the previous version as far as performance is concerned. There’s also the usual goodies – AudioWizard, Game Genie, and more.  While there’s no fingerprint sensor, it does have Face Unlock, which at least gives you something outside the traditional ways of unlocking the device.

As far as performance is concerned, the UI itself runs smooth, at least for most of the time. There are some occasional stutters such as when opening a folder in the home screen, or swiping to another page. I just really hope they can be fixed with updates.

Battery

zfl l1 s 13 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 ReviewThe ZenFone Live L1 has a slightly larger battery than the previous version. In PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark, which simulates basic video editing, data manipulation and more, the device clocked in at a little over 9 hours of uptime. Of course, that number may increase in a real world usage scenario.

zfl1 u 3 150x100 - ASUS ZenFone Live L1 Review
ASUS ZenFone Live L1 Review
Our Verdict
The ZenFone Live L1 is a good choice for a decent all-around budget smartphone. The new design is a step up from the previous version, the gaming performance is better than expected, the cameras are decent, and you do get good battery life. On the flipside, the software isn't as optimized as I expected it to be, 2GB of RAM may be enough for casual use, but in my opinion, just isn't up to par for a 2018 device. 1GB more of it would've made the deal even sweeter. Despite its flaws, I do think that this phone is still relevant today, and at PhP5,995, it's a decent all-around device for the price.
Design and Build Quality
Performance
Camera
Software
Battery
What's Good
Compact form factor
Decent gaming performance
Decent camera performance
Good battery life
What's Not
Software needs more optimization
2GB of RAM feels underwhelming for a 2018 device
3.8

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Author

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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Tokyo Game Show Special Coverage

Tokyo Game Show 2018

41711344 10155988194573337 3113579199126831104 o - We are going to Tokyo Game Show 2018

Witness this year’s biggest gaming convention in Asia, the Tokyo Game Show 2018. This September 19, our team will fly to Tokyo, Japan, to be part to TGS 2018. Special thanks to our brand partners Huawei Mobile, PLDT Home, Smart Communications and Cherry Mobile for making this coverage possible.

The Gadget Pilipinas Team was given access to a press briefing with Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director from From Software and a bit of hands-on gameplay. Here’s our take on the hands-on gameplay and the insights from the press interview. We also  figured a listicle is in order to rundown why this game will match the hype surrounding it.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons why “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is to die for.

1) The game is Tenchu-inspired

sk8lqukaqalhq2mrzkqd 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forIf you’ve played any of the Tenchu games in previous game consoles, you know that the use of the grappling hook to set-up a one-slash-stealth kills from above is a hallmark of the series. Zipping to rooftops and treetops will be the go-to move in this game to get rid of sentries. And yes, those ever-so glorious decapitations and dismemberments with the stealth kill are present.

2) Casual or hardcore can play

sn1rmqcvrwomyuttaoyq 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forFrom Software is notorious for challenging games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is no exception. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of From Software, revealed that he himself is a casual gamer and has made it clear that the game should be accessible to beginners and experienced players alike.

3) Upgradeable prosthetic arm

jjn6e6ivua5u142iukql 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat prosthetic arm that Sekiro has isn’t just for looks. It can launch a grappling hook and is upgradeable too. No details were revealed but its good to know that a skill-tree based system is in place. Think Horizon Zero Dawn or Spiderman on the way skill and gadgets are upgraded. Tech upgrades set in feudal Japan? What’s not to like?

4) Play the style that suits you

jo1pi5md3myj0pxynz9p 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forStealth like Tenchu or head-on like Dark Souls? It’s up to you. What’s clear is that you can’t use stealth for the whole campaign since the game wasn’t designed that way. Stealth can be used to thin enemy numbers and to preserve your health before confronting the big boss. The mix of stealth and hack and slash is always a good mix to change-up the pace and should suit any gameplay style.

5) Single-player only campaign can last 20 to 30 hours 

ocxemodvr6oa72argpyo 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat’s the length of the campaign as per Miyazaki. The game is focused-solely on the single-player experience. No more wayward players who can just jump-in and help or derail your campaign. From Software also focused on the story-telling. Given that no resources were spent in developing the multiplayer aspect, expect the campaign to take it up a notch.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22, 2019 on PC, Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

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Heads-up, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) players. The PES game you’re playing on your phone is going to get a major upgrade.

For starters, the visuals will get a major overhaul and will be using Unreal Engine 4 – the same graphics engine used in triple A games for consoles and PCs. With the use of Unreal Engine 4, PES will be inching closer to how it looks versus its console port. It

Next, over 3,000 new animations, improved player AI with every playstyle accounted for, and realistic ball movements has been optimized for fans to enjoy the ultimate soccer game.

And lastly, 10 new league licenses from Europe, South America and Asia have been added, including Japan’s J. League.

The best part? Despite these updates,  Winning Eleven 2019 is still free-to-play (with in-game purchases).

PES 2019 promises to give a life-like behavior of the beautiful game and should take competitive mobile sports gaming to new heights.

Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.16.38 AM 640x327 - TGS 2018: PES mobile game to be updated to "Winning Eleven 2019" this December!

More about the game and new features, here.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

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