Here's a close-up look at the Asus ZenFone AR - the first phone with support for Daydream and Tango


As the week moves on, the happenings here at CES 2017 are getting more and more exciting. Mobile-related news has been fairly light so far, but Asus took the stage today to take the wraps off of two new handsets - the ZenFone Zoom 3 and ZenFone AR. Both phones look quite exciting for their own unique reasons, but the most fascinating is easily that of the ZenFone AR. We got a chance to get up close and personal with the phone after Asus's initial announcement, and while our in-depth hands-on won't go live until this coming weekend, we were still able to pick up some initial thoughts of the hardware during the short time we got to play with it.

For starters, the name of the ZenFone AR is very telling of what the main goal is for the phone. The back of the ZenFone AR features three different cameras, with each one being used for a different purpose (depth and motion tracking and room mapping). This setup allows for Google's Tango augmented reality platform to run on the phone, creating for a similar experience that you would find with the likes of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. However, in addition to this, the ZenFone AR can also be used with the Google Daydream View to explore virtual lands as well. It's the first phone to feature support for both of these platforms, and although we didn't get to go hands-on with these features during our time with them, we'll definitely dive deep into these experiences when it comes time for our full review.

Along with support for both Daydream and Tango, the ZenFone AR has a lot of other impressive tech that it's packing into it. The 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display that's present here looked quite impressive even under harsh ballroom lighting, and it should make Daydream apps and games look truly stunning when you make use of them. The processor being used inside of the ZenFone AR is that of the Snapdragon 821, but Asus is saying that they've partnered with Qualcomm to optimize the chipset to make it as efficient as possible when using AR and VR features. In our time with the phone, everything felt incredibly fast and snappy. Navigating through the UI felt fluid, apps opened quickly, and Asus's custom software on top of Android 7.0 Nougat is the best-looking iteration of the skin that we've seen yet.

The phone itself is nicely made and feels pretty good in the hand (despite it being tethered to the table and attached to a security alarm). The sides are made out of aluminum and a faux-leather material is present on the backhand side, and while it might not be jaw-dropping, it does stand out from the crowd of all-aluminum slates we've been seeing as of late. It isn't our absolute favorite design, but it still looks quite good.

The Asus ZenFone AR is slated to come out sometime in Q2 of 2017, and we'll be publishing our full hands-on of the phone later on in the week. Be sure to ask any questions in the comments below so we can address them prior to our additional use of the handset, and keep an eye out for the rest of our CES 2017 coverage!


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ZenFone AR
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(14h talk time)

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8 Comments

1. SyCo87

Posts: 305; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

What's the big deal with AR?

3. Andr01d

Posts: 63; Member since: Mar 08, 2016

It is still a gimmick for most, but it does have its uses and are quite wide, it only needs to get more mainstreamed and more compact that is.

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7365; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The Tango sensors bring accuracy to measurements. For instance the Lowe's app is written to take advantage of Tango, and it can measure doors, and window frames, tables lamps, and lots of others things. Plus you can place objects in a room that you are looking at. You can even put mats down, or change the floors, or the walls. It's really cool, and useful. There is apps to try on different clothing. Not to mention games. But the thing that I really love and find really useful to me, is 3D mesh mapping. Which is really handy for Unity. Time is money, and all you have to do is run the cameras over the object(S) to generate a 3D mesh. Then you can add it to objects in Unity. That feature isn't for everyone, but it's definitely helpful to me.

2. Andr01d

Posts: 63; Member since: Mar 08, 2016

Wow, I am quite impressed with this device, it is shaping up to be one of the more interesting devices of 2017 and with a whopping 8GB of RAM!!

5. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

The camera module design looks way back like NOKIA N8.

6. SailfishOS

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

I see nokia n8 with that camera module, only lacking a xenon flash

7. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

But this time Asus claims it has the highest resolution mobile camera sensor (Sony IMX318) on the rear of the phone and uses this sensor to combine four native 23-megapixel photos to create a single image —something the company is calling a 92-megapixel “super resolution” photo. WTF! 92 MEGAPIXELS!

8. Joosty

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Looks pretty dang snazzy.

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