At their Zennovation press event at CES 2017, ASUS unveiled two new smartphones — the ZenFone AR and the ZenFone 3 Zoom.
The ZenFone AR (see: feature image) was the highlight of Zennovation this year as it is the world’s first smartphone that is compatible with both Google Tango and Google Daydream. The ZenFone AR prides itself on its capability to be the perfect companion for both your AR and VR needs, eliminating the need to carry two different devices for these purposes. ASUS has worked closely with Google to ensure that the phone meets the requirements of both Google Tango and Google Daydream.
Internally, the ZenFone AR packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC and 8GBs of RAM. While the Snapdragon 821 is seemingly already “outdated” thanks to the release of the Snapdragon 835, it is still very much a capable SoC able to power a flagship device such as this. For those worried about heat generation while using the device for AR or VR purposes, thankfully ASUS has employed a vapor cooling system to prevent overheating.
Cameras play an integral role for augmented reality, so ASUS packed a top tier camera module in the ZenFone AR. The main rear camera is a 23MP Sony IMX318 sensor along with a TriTech+ Autofocus system (dual-PDAF, Second-gen Laser Focus and Continuous-focus). The camera setup is capable of 4-axis OIS photo and 3-axis EIS video stabilization along with 4K video recording. In terms of software processing, the ZenFone AR features a Super Resolution Mode that creates 92MP photos by combining four 23MP images, a Low Light Mode, and other preset modes and filters. All the camera prowess would be incomplete without a manual mode, so the ZenFone AR allows changing settings such as white balance, EV, ISO, shutter speed, and focus.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom, as its name would imply, is a smartphone focused on photography. But ASUS is also pitching the ZenFone 3 Zoom as one of the thinnest and lightest smartphones available with a beefy 5,000 mAh battery.
The ZenFone 3 Zoom features an aluminum-alloy body which is only 0.31″ thick (7.9 mm) and weighs merely 0.37 lbs (170 g). These figures are impressive when you consider that the phone packs a battery that has a rating of 5,000 mAh. The phone can double up as a power bank to charge other devices as well.
Externally, the phone comes with a 5.5″ FHD AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 5. Under the hood, you get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC. ASUS’s press release is again rather scant on details, but previous leaks point suggest the device will ship with several different RAM configurations of 2GB/3GB/4GB and storage configurations of 16GB/32GB/64GB.
ASUS has certainly caught our attention with the newest additions to the ZenFone family. The ZenFone AR is a unique piece of technology which is currently unrivaled, while the ZenFone 3 Zoom focuses on the current camera trends but also considers our need for battery life. Now all that is left to unveil is the pricing of these devices to decide their commercial success.