Asus Zenfone AR: Well-equipped Tango smartphone with Daydream support
The Zenfone AR is not the first smartphone with Google's Tango AR platform, but the first with top-class equipment in an acceptable size. The first Tango phone was the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Not only the name was an announcement, but also the device itself. With its image diagonals of 6.4 inches and a weight of 259 grams, it was almost a tablet. The Zenfone AR, on the other hand, has smartphone dimensions.
The Asus unit has a 5.7-inch WQHD-AMOLED display with 2.560 x 1.440 pixels and weighs 170 grams. Its dimensions are 158.7x77.4x4.6 millimeters against the Lenovo counterpart that is 88.57x179.83x10.7 millimeters. The Zenfone AR is equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor, six gigabytes of DDR3 RAM and 128 gigabytes of internal UFS 2.0 memory, which can be expanded using a micro SD card. If you do not have to use the memory card slot, you can alternatively insert a second SIM card.
Other features include a fingerprint sensor on the front, WLAN to AC standard, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC and a fixed 3,000 milli-hour rechargeable battery with Quick-Charge 3.0 and reverse charging function. The C port can also be used as an accumulator for other devices. So that the Zenfone AR in daydream-view operation does not overheat, which unfortunately we could see in the Google pixel, the processor is cooled by a Vapor-Chamber. The Zenfone AR, however, is also quite warm when using AR apps. No wonder the processor demands top performance.
The Tango has a so-called Tricam system, which consists of a 23-megapixel OIS main camera with Sony IMX-318 sensor, a camera for depth information and a motion sensor. With this camera, you can capture the space and movements with the smartphone and display them on the screen in real time.
In addition, you can use the Zenfone to map your environment in real-time in 3D and position virtual objects in space. For the sake of completeness, the front camera has an eight-megapixel sensor. As software, Android 7.0 Nougat is preinstalled with the in-house user interface ZenUI 3.0.
Asus Zenfone AR: Augmented Reality in the trouser pocket
The range of apps is currently limited, but a few large players have already put first applications into the Play Store. Amongst others, the US clothing retailer Gap, BMW, and the Wall Street Journal are starting. These apps exemplarily show what companies and publishers can do with Tango.
For example, the Gap Dressingroom app allows customers to try dressing in Augmented Reality. With the BMW I Visualiser you can put the BMW i3 and i8 in full size into your living room or garage to configure it and then view it from all sides.
Other similar scenarios are also conceivable. With the smartphone sensors, you can measure your living room. With interior furnishings apps, you have the possibility to project a digital version of the piece of furniture in full size into the room. You can see the product in the room from all sides.
Augmented Reality is still in a nascent stage. This year, the technology will be a powerful step forward, because Google not only has announced it in 2014. Since then Google has developed Tango and the camera app Google Lens. Apple also announced its ARDC kit at the WWDC 2017, which will be a big boost with iOS 11 and the next iPhone in the technology.
With its Zenfone AR, Asus is therefore quite early on hardware and wants to help developers and other interested parties to spread the technology. The smartphone price is Rs. 49999 in India.