Google announced Android Go in 2017, but we didn’t get our first look at finished devices until 2018. Those first Android Go phones were not great. They were sluggish despite the stripped down software, and the price was still too high. Now, Asus has launched its first Go phone called the ZenFone Live, and it looks somewhat improved compared with the previous round of phones.
Android Go is a modified variant of 8.1 Oreo. Google has tweaked some system components and removed some others in order to make Android workable on phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. That used to be a lot in the early days of Android, but now it’s insufficient to run the “full” build of Android. In addition to optimizations, Android Go supports OEM and carrier customizations, which are forbidden on the Android One platform. Android One started out with a similar low-end focus, but it has become a program for stock Android experiences across various price points.
The ZenFone Live has a Snapdragon 425 chip, which is undeniably modest with its four low-power ARM cores clocked to 1.4GHz. However, that’s still a step up from the MediaTek chips powering many other Android Go devices. The ZenFone Live also has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage — more than you’d expect for Android Go.
Device makers have a nasty habit of equipping Android Go phones with a 480p screens. That cuts down on costs considerably, but it has been years since this was an acceptable resolution on a phone. The ZenFone Live steps up to 1440×720 LCD at 5.5-inches, which is a resolution you can probably stand to look at all day. It’s also an 18:9 screen, so it’s taller to better fill the face of the device. Asus claims an 82 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The Asus ZenFone Live has available at Best Buy today for $109.99 (online only). That’s a good price compared with other Android Go phones, especially considering the improved hardware. The ZenFone Go will eventually come to select brick-and-mortar Best Buy stores, too.