It is said that the Google Pixel is the king of Android smartphones. With its features optimized mainly with Daydream: A virtual reality platform designed by Google to take full advantage of the hardware built inside any selected daydream-ready handsets. Sure, that is true, but have you met ASUS Zenfone AR? To give you a clue, AR means Augmented Reality.
Before we start off with further details and news about this beast, let us first show the full hardware specification that it is boasting.
- Network Technology: GSM / HSPA / LTE
- LAUNCH Announced: 2017, January
- Status: Launched
- BODY Dimensions: 158.7 x 77.7 x 9 mm (6.25 x 3.06 x 0.35 in)
- Weight: 170 g (6.00 oz)
- SIM: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
- Display Type: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- Size: 5.7 inches (~72.6% screen-to-body ratio)
- Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels (~515 ppi pixel density)
- Multitouch: Yes, up to 10 fingers
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass
- PLATFORM: ASUS ZenUI 3.0, Android OS, v7.0 (Nougat) –
- Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821, Quad-core (2×2.35 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)
- GPU: Adreno 530
- Memory Card slot: microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
- Internal: 32/64/128/256 GB, GB, 6/8 GB RAM
- CAMERA Primary: 23 MP, f/2.0, OIS (4-axis), 3x zoom, phase detection autofocus, depth & motion tracking sensors
- Features: 1/2.6″ sensor size, 1 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
- Video: 2160p@30fps
- Secondary: 8 MP, f/2.0, 1080p
- SOUND Alert types: Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
- Loudspeaker: Yes
- 3.5mm jack: Yes, 24-bit/192kHz audio, DTS Headphone X, DTS HD sound enhancement, Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- COMMS: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
- Bluetooth: v4.2, A2DP, LE
- GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
- Radio: No
- USB: v2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
- Sensors: Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
- Browser: HTML5
- Java: No
- – Project Tango
- – Google Drive (100 GB cloud storage)
- – Fast battery charging (Quick Charge 3.0)
- – MP4/H.264 player
- – MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
- – Photo/video editor
- – Document viewer
- BATTERY: Non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery
All of these are looking good in papers and what is even better is that they are an actual monster in performance. They did not just built a smartphone that can actually perform in the highest of demands of any application. They also built something that can actually support the latest and the most advanced technology of today: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
AR and VR
Let us start with Google’s virtual reality-based platform also known as Google’s Daydream. Embedded directly inside the Android version Nougat, the Google Daydream. Intended mainly to provide more immersive and less latency when it comes to rendering any full 3D environment. And with ASUS ZenFone AR, the experience has just gotten better with its 5.7 inches Super AMOLED display—perfect for VR entertainment.
And then there is Tango, also by Google. It is a platform developed to incorporate 3D objects into the real world. If you are familiar with Pokemon Go, with the Pokemon characters moving around on your screen with the real world as your actual background. That is what we call Augmented Reality. And with Google finally out and about regarding the availability of this platform, ASUS made a vanguard move to utilize the use of this platform by matching it with the right specs.
Putting 8GB of RAM inside a phone is not just a meek way of trying to impress the users. It actually is intended for more than just trying to be flashy and all. Reports say that the Tango platform has been tested on certain devices but unable to perform smoothly and even crashes in the middle of a testing stage. That is due to the error message that the device is running out of memory. That is why ASUS has made a bold move of putting 8GB of ram with the Qualcomm processor 821 to fully engage this technology and give a proper muscle on supporting the whole platform once and for all.
Of course, it is not all about RAM size and processing power. More to the support for augmented reality, ASUS uses a tri-camera system to achieve depth when rendering objects and sensing real-world environment through Google tango. The main camera is 23-megapixel Sony IMX318 with four axis OIS and 3-axis video stabilization. It even included a “vapor cooling” system to prevent the device from heating up when using any of the two technologies.
Although 3300mAh is a bit low compared to some devices intended for heavy usage, we will have to give it to the Android Nougat. It supposed to take full responsibility with minimal power usage on its end. Not to mention that the Qualcomm 835 will be the flagship-bearer for this year, they could have waited a little while longer. But still, I am pretty sure that ASUS knows what they are doing and that this device offers to deliver should not be an empty claim.
All in all, this device has a lot of promise. And I bet a lot of heavy gamers out there are in hype-mode to get a hands-on experience with this device. Until then, we will wait for more user-experience testimonies on how this device does on a daily basis.