Asus has brought the ZenFone Live L1, its first Android Go phone, to the US. The phone has budget specs, but it could stand out at $110 thanks to a couple of features uncommon for its price range: an 18:9 display and a face unlock feature.
That said, even with its tall display, the ZenFone Live still manages to look bland in the images Asus is sharing. A lot of that comes down to its 5.5-inch screen being surrounded with big bezels on either side. The screen has a resolution just beyond 720p, which is pushing it for its size, though not altogether unacceptable at this price.
The phone has a Snapdragon 425 processor, which was common in lower-end phones two years ago, and 16GB of storage that can be expanded by MicroSD. The bigger limitation will likely be RAM, which the phone has only 1GB of. It looks like the phone will only support 2.4GHz Wi-Fi as well, which can be a problem if you need to connect to newer networks.
There’s no fingerprint sensor on the phone either, which is a big miss. The face unlock should be a helpful stand-in, although photo-based face scanning like this is a lot less secure than the 3D mapping seen on the iPhone. Still, it’s better than nothing as a way to lock down your phone.
Of course, many of these limitations are to be expected — the ZenFone Live is a distinctly low-end phone running Android Go, Google’s operating system that’s been specially pared down for these low-end devices. So far, Android Go phones haven’t made a particularly great showing, but we’re also only half a year in to this experiment.
The phone is only available at Best Buy in the US. It’s being sold unlocked, but it’s also available locked into several prepaid plans at a $50 discount, bringing it down to just $60.