Asus Zenfone AR hands on

Review

It’s the world’s first augmented and virtual reality smartphone…
by
Asus Zenfone AR hands on

Asus Zenfone AR - smartphone of the future?

The Asus Zenfone AR is a smartphone with a difference. It's the first phone in the world that lets you explore the futuristic worlds of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).

On the AR side of things, the phone uses a revolutionary tri-camera system and supports Tango, Google’s AR software. To take care of all your VR needs, it’s compatible with the Google Daydream platform. But first things first - let’s take a look at how this phone shapes up in the real world…

Design

You’ll notice the Zenfone AR’s soft leather back straight away. It’s something a little different from the usual metal and glass-backed phones, and it makes the phone really comfortable to hold. It doesn’t feel like it’ll slip out of your hand any time soon.

The other thing that looks a little different on the rear is the cluster of camera lenses at the top. This is where you’ll find the depth-sensing and motion-tracking cameras needed for AR.

Display

A phone that promises to give you great AR and VR experiences is going to need an outstanding display, and the Zenfone AR seems to have that covered. Its large 5.7-inch screen is Quad HD resolution and uses AMOLED technology, so everything looks amazingly sharp, colours are vibrant and contrast is outstanding. It’s also bright enough to enjoy outdoors in direct sunlight.

Camera

The Zenfone AR’s unique tri-camera system has been designed with AR in mind. As well as the depth-sensing and motion-tracking cameras, there’s also an impressive sounding 23MP main camera with super-fast auto-focus and optical image stabilisation. Round the front, you’ll find an 8MP camera capable of taking wide-angle selfies.

Augmented reality

As previously mentioned, the Zenfone AR is going to use a tri-camera system and Google Tango for its AR experience. Asus says that you’ll “witness the world with a new set of eyes”, meaning that you’ll be able to see virtual objects in the real world by looking at your phone’s display.

The Zenfone AR comes with some preloaded AR demos, but there are no finished games or apps available as of yet. They’ll be coming soon, hopefully.

Virtual reality

With a Google Daydream View headset, you’ll be able to enjoy some great VR experiences with the Zenfone AR. The 5.7-inch Quad HD makes everything look amazing, and the phone uses the VR-optimised Snapdragon 821 processor. This makes sure that everything runs smoothly, even when there’s a lot happening on-screen. What’s more, there’s a great selection of Daydream VR games and apps currently available.

Battery and processor

The Asus Zenfone AR is packed with lots of technology to make it AR and VR capable. The VR-friendly processor is paired with 6GB RAM, and the 3,300mAh battery is a decent size for a smartphone. AR and VR are always a huge drain on battery life though, so don’t be surprised if you need to head to a charger after a couple of hours of exploring alternative realities….

When’s it coming to the UK?

A UK release date for the Asus Zenfone AR has yet to be confirmed, so watch this space for more news. If you’re a fan of VR and AR, let us know what you think about this phone – does it sound like the device you’ve been waiting for? Share your comments below.

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