Ever since the successful launch of the Zenfone Max Pro M1, Asus appears to be focusing on the budget-friendly segment. Asus has recently launched two of its Zenfones in this segment – the Zenfone Max M1 and the Zenfone Lite L1. While both of the phones share similar specs, there are some minor differences regarding build and cameras segment. While we have tested both of the devices, there are some insights on the aggressively priced Zenfone Lite L1 as it is the cheaper variant, but, it has its quirks. So does this compete with the counterparts like Xiaomi in this segment?, since it already has a competitor – the Redmi 6A as both share identical specs. Let us look into it.
Design, Display and Build
Since the Zenfone Lite L1 is a cost-effective smartphone, Asus has managed to cut the manufacturing costs with its unibody plastic build design. The L1 sports a 5.45-inch IPS LCD screen with the industry new standard 18:9 aspect ratio. The resolution is 720×1440 pixels with a pixel density of 295ppi.
The bezels on display are minimal – thanks to the new resolution. On the rear, the Lite L1 features a single camera lens and no fingerprint sensor, and on the front, the device equips with a selfie shooter along with an LED light for notifications, which is convenient. On the I/O, the Lite L1 features a micro USB port for charging which is in symmetry with the speaker grille at the bottom. Both the volume rockers and the power button are featured on the right side of the device.
The 3.5mm headphone jack is also present on the top, but the placement is quite weird, as it is neither in the center nor to a corner, unlike other phones. Overall, Asus has managed to build a sturdy phone with a comfortable to hold unibody design, and it can easily go without a case.
The new Zenfone Lite L1 is powered by a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 SoC, the chipset that utilizes Cortex A53 octa-core processor and runs at clock speeds of 1.4GHz. This SoC is paired up with Adreno 505 GPU and supports the 64-bit architecture. We have already witnessed this on the earlier released Asus Zenfone 3 Max. Though this chipset is meant to be for the phones in this segment, it is nevertheless aging, Asus should have opted for the new MediaTek Helio A22 chipset, which has been featured in the Redmi 6A. Having said that, the Lite L1 performs considerably good with this processor coupled with 2GB of RAM.
Considering the budget of this smartphone, it handles mundane tasks quite comfortably; however, we wouldn’t recommend multi-tasking on this phone as it does entirely heat up while handling multiple apps and background apps clearing is often necessary since it stutters a lot if the apps are running in the background. The Lite L1 ships with Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box and the ZenUI is pretty clean in appearance and also gives an option to uninstall the pre-installed apps that come with the Lite L1 out-of-the-box.
As the Lite L1 is a budget constraint phone, it doesn’t have a conventional fingerprint scanner, but it does have a face unlock authentication, which can take you into the phone quite comfortably. It isn’t as fast as the conventional fingerprint sensor but does its job quite easily without the need of entering PIN/Pattern often. Keep in mind since its a software/camera based unlocking it needs ample of light to scan your face. Users still need to rely on the standard unlock method like PIN/Pattern in darker environments.
The Zenfone Lite L1 comes equipped with a 13MP camera with an aperture of f/2.0 with an LED flash and PDAF. The phase detection autofocus on the Lite L1 brings a good amount of lighting for outdoor photography sessions. The pictures taken are quite sharp thanks to the HDR mode, and it also adds other features such as Portrait and Panorama modes.
Portrait mode does well in capturing the edges by utilizing the processor to achieve detailing especially around the edges. The camera doesn’t perform well while it comes to photography in low-light situations and indoor lighting. The Lite L1 offers similar photo quality as its counterparts like the Redmi 6A.
The camera also features beauty effects on both – the front and rear camera sensors for all those social media enthusiasts who are active in sharing their photography sessions on the web. The front camera boasts a 5MP sensor that captures decent selfies in well-lit conditions. As stated earlier, there’s also a portrait mode that adds bokeh effects with additional filters for the pictures taken using the front-facing camera sensor.
Additionally, the front camera is accompanied by flash as well that helps to capture better low light photos/selfies. On the whole, the cameras on the Lite L1 does capture some good images, and overall image quality is above average which isn’t bad considering its price point.
The Zenfone Lite L1 is kept alive with a 3000mAh battery that lasts a day comfortably with regular texting, social media browsing, scrolling through the web, taking calls and clicking a few images regularly. However, playing a little higher intensive games and using the multitasking feature frequently quite heats the phone and ultimately leads to draining the battery quickly. We hope this drawback can be managed/checked into through further software updates from Asus. There’s no quick charge here, but it takes merely 2 hours to top up its battery to full.
The Zenfone Lite L1 is a smarter approach from Asus in the lower budget segment. The Lite L1 is undoubtedly a vital option to look into as this budget segment is most popularly lead by the Redmi phones like the Redmi 6 and the 6A. When compared to these phones, the software experience on the Zenfone Lite L1 is considerably uncomplicated without bloatware and certainly without ads, unlike the Redmi 6A.
The Zenfone Lite L1 comes at a price of Rs 5,999 for the 2GB/16GB variant and is available in Black and Gold color variants on Flipkart.
Bear in mind as the Lite L1 carries an SD 430 SoC, the phone doesn’t support dual VoLTE, and you can only enable VoLTE on the primary SIM. Apart from that, the Zenfone Lite L1 can be considered as a good phone for the beginners and a great, capable performer for the users who are compelled to the budget.