ASUS' ZenFone AR is the first smartphone that is compatible with both Google's DayDream VR platform and Google's Tango augmented reality.
The ZenFone AR is outfitted with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 821 processor, either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of internal storage, which all help boost its performance for augmented- and virtual-reality experiences. Additionally, it has a 3300 mAh battery, which is a bit smaller than the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s 5000 mAH battery.
During our meeting at CES, ASUS representatives wouldn't demonstrate the Tango AR functionality but said that if you look through the display, you'll see objects and information overlaid onto the real world, since the ZenFone AR has motion tracking and depth perception. An ASUS rep told us you can use the technology to take room measurements or move virtual furniture to get an idea of how it will look in your house.
We did get a chance to use the ZenFone with a DayDream VR headset, however. The 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED display lets you experience virtual reality in high quality with little pixilation. We also appreciated the phone's vapor cooling system, given that competing Samsung Galaxy smartphones frequently overheat when used with the Gear VR headset. Further testing will prove if the system keeps the ZenFone AR cool for extended periods so you can spend more time in virtual reality and less time waiting for your phone to cool down.
This ASUS smartphone includes a 23MP rear-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture lens, speedy 0.03 second auto focus and an optical image stabilizer. It can also record 4K video. The 8MP front-facing camera has an f/2.0 aperture lens, supports HDR and provides up to an 85-degree field of view for your selfies.
Beyond its feature set, the smartphone's metal frame and polished leather back make it comfortable and easy to grip during everyday use. Even better, it still has a MicroSD card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack, too.
The ZenFone AR seems like one of the most powerful and promising Android smartphones of 2017. There is no word on pricing or a release date just yet, but we look forward to reviewing the phone in full when it becomes available.