Asus Zenfone AR Review
Asus Zenfone AR
- Support for both Daydream VR and Google Tango
- Great display
- Quick performance
- Good camera
- Impressive audio quality
- Heats up very easily
- Poor battery life
- Not water resistant
- Very expensive
- Not compelling if you're not interested in Tango
Asus Zenfone AR Review – Go Beyond Reality with AR and VR.
Asus ZenFone AR is the world’s first 5.7-inch smartphone with Tango and Daydream by Google. Tango is an exciting new augmented reality (AR) technology that changes the way you interact with the world and expands your vision. And with Daydream, you can experience high-quality, immersive virtual reality (VR) with your phone.
Tango is a set of sensors and computer vision software that gives ZenFone AR the ability to understand space and motion like humans do, which gives ZenFone AR augmented reality capabilities that feel positively futuristic. Tango adds motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning capabilities to ZenFone AR, so it can understand its motion as it moves through an area, detect how far away it is from the floor, walls, and objects, and see and remember the key visual features of a physical space in three-dimensional space.
ZenFone AR is equipped with the innovative TriCam system consisting of three rear cameras — a motion tracking, depth sensing, and high-resolution 23MP camera — that enable the phone to a create a three-dimensional model of its surroundings and track its motion, so it can see the world just like you do. The motion tracking camera lets ZenFone AR track its location as it moves through space. The depth sensing camera with an infrared (IR) projector lets ZenFone AR measure its distance from real-world objects. The high-resolution 23MP camera lets you view virtual objects in your actual environment in stunning detail. Together with Tango, ZenFone AR delivers engaging augmented reality experiences for you to explore and enjoy.
|Disclaimer||If you see any error or incomplete data, please Contact Us.|
|Dimensions||158.7 x 77.7 x 9 mm (6.25 x 3.06 x 0.35 in)|
|Weight||170 g (6.00 oz)|
|Display||Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|5.7 inches, 89.6 cm2 (~72.6% screen-to-body ratio)|
|1440 x 2560 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~515 ppi density)|
|Yes, up to 10 fingers|
|Corning Gorilla Glass 4|
|- ASUS ZenUI 3.0|
|OS||Android 7.0 (Nougat)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821|
|CPU||Quad-core (2x2.35 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)|
|Internal Memory||64/128/256 GB, GB, 6/8 GB RAM|
|Primary Camera||23 MP, f/2.0, OIS (4-axis), 3x zoom, phase detection autofocus, depth & motion tracking sensors|
|1/2.6" sensor size, 1 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama|
|Video||[email protected], [email protected]|
|Secondary Camera||8 MP, f/2.0, 1080p|
|Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|- 24-bit/192kHz audio|
|- DTS Headphone X|
|- DTS HD sound enhancement|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||4.2, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|USB||2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go|
|Sensors||Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery|
Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro might have been first, but the Asus ZenFone AR’s superior hardware makes it the best Tango device yet. That’s not really saying much, though: The Tango experience isn’t much better than it was a year ago, and there still isn’t much there to win over people who haven’t already bought into Google’s AR vision. If you’re already tantalized by the potential of augmented reality to change how we see the world, the Asus ZenFone AR is worth looking into. For literally everyone else who just wants a damn good all-around smartphone, there’s little here for you.
If you’re an Asus fan, we suggest waiting for the ZenFone 4 Pro to see if the problems found here are remedied in the company’s true flagship device. If AR is super important to you, then you can buy the ZenFone AR and know that you’ll have a decently performing phone with dreadful battery life, heating issues, and an inconsistent camera behind its marquee feature. Otherwise, in the $600 – $700 range – and even below this – there’s a wealth of better options. The LG G6, OnePlus 5, U11 – even the Galaxy S8 is now within this price-point. It’s hard to see why anyone should choose the ZenFone AR over these better executed, better looking, flagship heavyweights.
The Asus ZenFone AR is an example of a new direction that the smartphone industry could head in. Instead of simply beefing up the internals, Asus offers a set of new experiences on a single smartphone. What the ZenFone AR offers at the moment is unique, but it is a niche product for people who might have a use for AR, rather than a great phone which also has that feature. If you want to be among the first to experience AR, or simply show off, this is the phone for you.
If you are a developer looking to work on AR or VR related apps for Android, the Asus ZenFone AR could be a great tool. The same can be said for individuals or companies looking to leverage augmented reality to demonstrate their products. Apart from this, the specs do make this phone feel a little out of place at its current price. If you want a highly polished flagship experience, look at the HTC U11 , Sony Xperia XZ Premium or OnePlus 5 nstead.
A few months ago, we couldn’t have imagined spending this much money on an Asus phone. It’s still a stretch.
The phone has some of the hardware needed to justify this kind of expense, but not quite enough, and the design is just a little too plain. It’s an early adopter AR tax, the price you pay for a smarter tri-sensor array on the back.
It hasn’t doubled the price, but has clearly been used as an excuse to let the cost skyrocket. We’d advise waiting a bit longer until this subsides as smarter cameras like this will soon become the norm. And nice as the Zenfone AR is in almost all respects, it’s hard to see as anything but very expensive.
Despite some neat touches, the Asus Zenfone AR doesn’t have the luxury design, the water resistance or class-leading elements beyond its AR capabilities, which are a work-in-progress in software terms at present.
The Asus ZenFone AR’s camera set might be its best feature. It has a 23-megapixel rear-facing camera that focused quickly and worked well in low light settings, whether I was out to dinner, shooting a fountain in a dark lobby, or capturing a photo of a bridge on a very gray day. Shots looked warm but not overly yellow, it captures video in 4K, and the phone has a more than adequate 8-megapixel front-facing camera. Like other mid-tier to high-end phones made by Asus’ competitors, however, it tended to over-beautify its images, sometimes adding a softness to skin or a saturation to colors that you know just aren’t real.
But again, the Asus ZenFone AR, which was first announced in January, is coming at an interesting time. AR is on the cusp of something big, and has been for a while, but it’s not going to get there unless people make a compelling argument for why someone would want AR. And what’s in the Tango section of the Google Play Store right now isn’t super compelling. Ahead of Apple’s official rollout of ARKit, developers have already been demonstrating what you can do when AR is easily enabled on a phone, when it’s not contingent on special hardware, and the results so far are at the very least fun, if not downright impressive.
And it wouldn’t be totally shocking if others (including Google) jumped on board this lightweight AR train as well. This, of course, is the evolution of consumer tech hardware, the thing that makes it the inverse of us sorry humans: as it gets more powerful, its parts actually shrink.
The ZenFone AR phone is a nice phone, and it’s impressive what Asus has managed to do with the Tango requirements. But the AR in the phone itself is just okay, and the “AR” attached to its name won’t have staying power. Soon phones will just have advanced AR — no extra moniker, hardware, or marketing needed.
The Asus Zenfone AR is an “I’m first” phone. It’s the first we’ve reviewed to have the camera technology required for Google Tango’s AR platform and Google Daydream VR certification.
In my opinion, this is used as an excuse to bump up the price of the handset. Slightly more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and £80 more than the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus, it goes head-to-head with the biggest names, which seems almost bizarre for an Asus phone.
This is a nice phone, featuring tech you’d expect to see in a high-end model. However, the early adopter tax is steep here, and the lack of a true top-end processor, water-resistance and a truly striking design mean the price is hard to stomach.
Thanks to the relative paucity of apps, we think almost everyone can wait for more Tango-compliant phones to arrive. Wider development of augmented reality apps demands their arrival anyway. If the Asus Zenfone AR ends up selling at a substantially lower price when that happens, it’s worth picking up. But I certainly won’t be buying it at £800.
No doubt: the ZenFone AR is the first smartphone to run Google’s augmented reality Tango apps smoothly. However, given the relatively low selection of apps (around 30) – most of which are gimmicks to boot – in its current state Tango is far from being a must-have feature. The question is: are you willing to spend almost $800 plus tax for this rather poor AR experience? We suspect that for most users, Tango is not going to be a major factor when considering theAsus ZenFone AR, especially since Google’s Daydream VR glasses are not included and must be purchased separately.
At almost half the price the LG G6 is just as fast as the ZenFone AR. Even Asus’s TriCam was incapable of impressing us. Yes, the resulting photos are certainly decent, but they are far from being the best. In addition, battery life is very poor and the ZenFone AR runs out of juice comparatively quickly.
At the end of the day the Asus ZenFone AR is a well-made, high-quality smartphone with WQHD OLED display, more than adequate performance for everyday apps and games, and very fast communication modules.
So where does this leave us? The Asus ZenFone AR isn’t a bad phone, but it isn’t a great one, either. In the end, I don’t think that it’s worth buying currently. Tango is cool and all, but you’ll likely play with it a few times and never open it (or the apps) again. And even though ZenUI is better than it’s ever been, there’s still the issue of Asus’ OS update track record to consider.
For a phone whose existence is predicated on Tango and Daydream, the ZenFone AR struggles to justify that existence. Having the AR/VR capabilities is great, I admit, but they alone should not be the basis for the marketing of many given devices. What does this phone do, besides those two things, that makes it great? Well, nothing. It’s pretty mediocre in most regards.
This is not me saying that the ZenFone AR shouldn’t exist; frankly, it’s me equating the story of this over-priced device from Asus to that of Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro (which has already hit its end-of-life, sadly). Tango is still not a good reason to build and market a phone, especially since it seems like it’s a back-burner project for Google. As has been said here on AP, I’ll believe that Google is behind Tango 100% when we see it on a Pixel. Until then, it feels like just another experiment.