ASUS Announces ZenFone AR and ZenFone 3 Zoom at CES 2017
Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, Nevada. January 4th, 2017 at 11:30PM PST:
At their Zennovation press event at CES 2017, ASUS unveiled two new smartphones — the ZenFone AR and the ZenFone 3 Zoom.
ASUS ZenFone AR
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.
The ZenFone AR is not only unique in its capabilities, but it also bears a distinct look compared to other current smartphones. The back of the device is home to the rear camera and other sensors needed for Google Tango functionality. The front of the device features a 5.7″ Super AMOLED WQHD (1440×2560) display which plays a crucial role in the device’s VR functionality. The front also comes with a physical home button, which is likely housing the fingerprint sensor.
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 While the Snapdragon 821 is seemingly already “outdated” thanks to the release of the Snapdragon 835, it is still very much a capable SoC able to power a flagship device such as this.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.
As for the rest of the functionality necessary for Google Tango, the ZenFone AR also features sensors and software that allow for motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning — allowing it to perceive spatial awareness, one of the key pillars of AR.Furthermore, The VR and AR experience on the ZenFone AR will be complemented by an audio system that supports Hi-Res Audio and DTS virtual surround sound. The ZenFone AR also claims boosted external audio experience with a new ultra-loud 5-magnet speaker. ASUS and Google are also partnering with well-known brands to bring the Tango AR experience to customers.
ASUS’s press release unfortunately reveals little detail on other internal features of the device such as the storage, battery capacity, and software. But seeing that the device is top tier by 2016 standards, we can expect the other internals to be on par with other flagships.
The ASUS ZenFone AR will be available in Q2 2017. Pricing and configuration of the device will be announced closer to availability. But given the specifications revealed at this time, the device is likely to be priced among the upper echelon of premium flagship devices.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom
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.
The highlight of the phone is the dual-camera on the device. On the rear, you get a 12MP Sony IMX362 sensor with 25mm wide-angle lens and f/1.7 aperture along with a dedicated 12MP, 56mm lens for 2.3x optical zoom. The main camera captures pixels which are 1.4µm wide, which combined with the larger aperture, allows the camera to perform better in low light conditions. You also get the Tritech+ Autofocus system which is also present in the ZenFone AR. The front facing camera is a 13MP shooter, with a “screen flash” mode to aid in low light selfies.
The ZenFone 3 Zoom also shares more features with the ZenFone AR, such as four-axis OIS photo and three-axis EIS video, Super Resolution Mode, Low Light mode and more. You also get full manual controls, 4K video recording with continuous Auto-focus, and a promise of RAW file support (with the Android 7.0 update).
The ZenFone 3 Zoom will be available in February 2017. Pricing of the device will be announced later on.
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.Check out XDA’s ZenFone AR Forum! >>>