Saturday , 25 May 2019

Asus ZenFone AR is a refreshing flagship smartphone with AR and VR capability

Abhijit Ahaskar

Asus’ Tango and Daydream enabled smartphone, the ZenFone AR, will be available in India from July 13 on at `49,999.

The smartphone’s claim to fame is the AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) capabilities which separates it from other flagship rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 (`57,900) and the HTC U11 (`51,900) .

Asus is offering 100GB 4G data from Reliance Jio in addition to the existing plans subscribed by the user. If you buy the Google Daydream VR headset (`6,499) with it, you can get a discount of `2,500.

The unique selling point

ZenFone AR is the second smartphone after the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro (`24,990) which has Google’s Project Tango built into the hardware. For buyers, this means a slightly more immersive AR experience than what the existing bevy of AR apps offer on ordinary smartphones. Tango uses a bunch of advanced camera sensors, built in the phone, to track distance, motion, and position of the phone in real space. It then allows users to superimpose digital items in that real space to see what the item will actually look like if it is put there. This can be used for indoor navigation, shopping, gaming and interior designing.

The DayDream VR support means ZenFone AR is one of the few Android smartphones which will work with Google’s DayDream VR headset. The other devices which work with it are Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Moto Z, ZTE Axon 7 and Huawei Mate 9 Pro. It comes with a wireless motion control remote to navigate through the VR apps and games available on the platform.

Designed for comfort

When it comes to design, the ZenFone AR has a personality of its own. The back panel is slightly curved and has a coarse leather finish. The camera module on the back includes a 23-megapixel primary camera, a motion tracking camera and a depth sensing camera. The finger print sensor is integrated with the home button on the front panel. Even with the three cameras and the 5.7-inch screen, the smartphone is just 8.9mm thick and weighs only 170 grams.

Though it’s not as light as the Samsung Galaxy S8 (155 grams), the ZenFone AR feels quite compact and handy. What makes the Galaxy S8 a better bet is the thinner bezels which give it a smarter look and the water proof exterior which enhances its durability.

Big screen rules

The ZenFone AR offers a 5.7-inch AMOLED display with resolution of 2560 pixels x 1440 pixels and pixel density of 515ppi. Asus has used Gorilla Glass 4 to protect the screen against scratches. Samsung Galaxy S8 offers a 5.8-inch AMOLED screen with similar resolution but higher pixel density of 570ppi and a more immersive aspect ratio of 18:9. It also uses the more rugged Gorilla Glass 5, which can also withstand drops from a height of 1.6 metres. The HTC U11 has a slightly smaller 5.5-inch LCD screen with resolution of 2560 pixels x 1440 pixels, but uses Gorilla Glass 5.

What is inside

The ZenFone AR runs on Android 7.0 with Zen UI on top and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 quad-core chipset, which has been optimised for 3D mapping. When it comes to memory, it is the only smartphone other than the OnePlus 5 (`37,999) which offers 8GB RAM. Internal storage stands at 128GB. The Galaxy S8 runs on Android 7.1 with an improved version of TouchWiz UI and is driven by an equally powerful Exynos 8895 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM. The HTC U11 runs on a superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core chipset with 4GB RAM and offers 64GB storage.

(HT Media)