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Earlier this year, Asus launched the Zenfone Max Pro M1 with a capacious 5000mAh battery and the Zenfone 5Z flagship smartphone. These devices worked well for the company and it has witnessed immense success. Notably, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 received acclaim from users and managed to sell well in its price bracket.
To take this success to the next level, the company launched two more budget smartphones - the Zenfone Max M1 and Zenfone Lite L1. Of these, the Lite L1 is the most affordable smartphone priced at Rs. 5,999. At its price point, it will be a rival to the other budget devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi 6A and Realme C1.
Having said that, I have been using the Zenfone Lite L1 for over a week and here is a review of the smartphone.
The Zenfone Lite L1 features a plastic build with an average quality. However, the finish gives a metallic feel and texture. While it is similar to the Zenfone Max M1 in terms of design, it can be distinguished easily as there is no physical fingerprint sensor at the rear of this budget smartphone. The device has the power and volume controls at the right edge and the triple card slot at its left. There is a micro USB charging port at the bottom surrounded by speaker grills on either side. And, the top has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The smartphone is quite light in weight and is easy to hold. It doesn't give an odd feeling when it is held in hand and I liked that the antenna lines aren't visible. The rear panel has just a single camera sensor at the top left corner and a LED flash module underneath it. Apart from this, the rear panel is barren except for the Asus logo at the bottom.
The front panel of this Asus smartphone is dominated by the 5.45-inch HD+ display and an aspect ratio of 18:9. This display is surrounded by thick bezels unlike the other full-screen smartphones launched with thin bezels around the screen. The display is vibrant and produces decent and impressive colors. The colors are accurate without any contrast issues. It is bright enough that it can be visible even under direct sunlight. So, there this smartphone's display does a good job despite being affordable.
Asus Zenfone Lite L1 makes use of an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC clocked at 1.4GHz. This processor supports 2GB RAM and 16GB storage space. The dedicated microSD card slot supports up to 256GB of additional storage space. Though its rivals such as the Realme C1 and Redmi 6A have better processors, this one also does a decent job.
When it comes to performance, this smartphone is pretty slow when it comes to gaming. And, the 2GB RAM has to be blamed for the same. On trying to open games, I witnessed a considerable lag in launching the app and loading. Also, the gameplay isn't smooth as there is a lot of clutter. But we cannot expect any great performance from a device of this price point.
The device scored 55,570 points in the AnTuTu benchmark and 662 and 2383 points in the Geekbench database.
The budget smartphone from Asus comes with a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera. Despite the presence of a single rear camera, we were able to click portrait shots using this smartphone, thanks to the software. There are features beauty mode, panorama and timelapse. When it comes to the camera quality, the photos taken using the Zenfone Lite L1 are average. When you zoom in the photos, you see a grainy look. The HDR mode does a good job in illuminating the photos.
On the whole, the daylight photos are pretty good but the camera performance drops considerably in the low light conditions. Though the output looks average, we need to accept the same as it is a budget device and we cannot expect it to be all good for its pricing.
Asus Zenfone Lite L1 runs Android 8.0 Oreo topped with ZenUI 5.0, which brings in customizations and preloaded apps. There are a slew of useful apps such as file manager and mobile manager. Also, the device has the PowerMaster powering saving mode for an efficient battery performance. It would have been better if the company opted for stock Android as it did with the previously launched Zenfone Max Pro M1.
Due to the customizations and preloaded apps, a major chunk of the 16GB of storage space is occupied by these. Otherwise, the interface is pretty fast and there is no lag in moving from one screen to another another. Thanks to the expandable storage support with a dedicated microSD card slot as it lets users store content that they wish without relying on the default storage space. However, there is no facility to download and store apps on the microSD card, so buyers of this device might not be able to enjoy high-end games due to the memory they occupy.
When it comes to the performance of the Face Unlock feature, this smartphone relies only on this feature for its security purposes. And, the Face Unlock functionality works pretty fast on the budget smartphone, making it one of the positives of the device.
This smartphone gets the power from a 3000mAh battery, which is non-removable. The battery along with power saving mode features delivers a backup of up to one day without any issues even despite having 4G turned on and audio and video streaming. However, playing games does consume a considerable battery life.
On the whole, the Zenfone Lite L1 is a average performer with fairly decent specifications and an affordable pricing. It comes delivers an average camera performance. The positives are the good battery life, vibrant display and affordable price tag. However, there are lags and an average camera performance that are downsides. So, buyers of this device cannot enjoy immense gaming and power-intense tasks but it will be a good one to handle the basic tasks.