In what seems to be a major breakthrough in the technology
space, Taiwanese electronics major Asus unveiled ZenFone
AR at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 5, 2017. In a first for any smartphone, the Asus Zenfone
AR brought Google's Tango
and Daydream platforms for immersive virtual reality
and augmented reality experience in a single device.
More than 6 months later, the Zenfone
AR smartphone launched in India on July 13. In terms of specifications, the smartphone does not possess anything outdated or obsolete and that clearly indicates that the phone was ahead of its time when it was unveiled first at CES. The smartphone possesses best of both the worlds – specifications and features -- to deliver exceptional results and is something we noticed during our brief hands-on at the launch.
While we keep our final judgement reserved until the in-depth review, here is how the smartphone’s key features fared during our hands-on:
After using the Daydream View
headset with Pixel, it became clear that the immersive VR experience using smartphones is still far from perfect. It is not the headset that hampers the performance but the smartphone screen that plays a pivotal role in the overall experience.
On the other hand, using the VR headset with Asus Zenfone
AR was a different experience altogether. Both the smartphones, Google
Pixel and Asus Zenfone
AR, sport 5.7-inch screen with QHD resolution, but the use of super AMOLED screen with quick response time of one microsecond (ms) and super low latency of 2 ms in Zenfone
AR makes the VR experience altogether much better.
AR handled the thermals better in comparison with Pixel, while strapped inside the VR headset. Both the smartphones are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, but the software optimisation and use of 8GB RAM in Zenfone
AR seems to be drive optimal performance. Also, it seems that Asus worked closely with the hardware OEMs and to improve the overall VR experience, which is clearly visible during the use. The smartphone temperature does rise a bit but remains under control and the use of leathered back improves the thermal management overall.
Talking about Tango
platform, which is based on Google
augmented reality engine, the Zenfone
AR make use of TriCam technology
that consists of three cameras at the rear – a motion-tracking camera, depth-sensing fish eye camera and high-resolution camera powered with PixelMaster 3.0. The three cameras work in tandem to do the augmented reality magic, a preview of which was enough to foresee that the technology
will soon become mainstream in mobile phones.