It slices, dices and can cook a whole meal in just half an hour! Well, okay, maybe it doesn’t go that far, but ASUS’s new ZenFone AR does take Google’s augmented reality tech effort, Tango, to a new level — by also being capable of Daydream VR with Android Nougat.
This release tags on from the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro from the fall, a 6.4-inch monster of a mid-range phablet that wasn’t afraid to be what it was: less like a personal phone and more like a tool to be used.
The ZenFone AR tries to straddle more towards the middle line with a 5.7-inch quad HD AMOLED screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 6GB of RAM. A package of extra sensors and subprocessors within the 821 work to instantly detect movement in six degrees and produce virtually lag-free output for Tango apps. The system-on-a-chip is cooled by a “vapor cooling system, because complex polygons need some grindstone clock speeds.
Of course, we’re also talking about a bulked up VR experience with Daydream, so the audio package is important to point out, too. In this case, it’s an “ultra-loud 5-magnet speaker” that will vibrate sound through your headset. If you prefer a wired-in experience, you’ll have access to high bitrate listening and DTS enhancements.
The main camera utilizes the 23-megapixel Sony IMX318 sensor. Just as on other ZenFone 3 devices, you’ll find robust OIS and EIS, “Super Resolution mode” compositing (for up to 92-megapixel images) and 4K video shooting.
We’ll learn more about the phone in due course, but for now, expect availability for the ZenFone AR around the second quarter. If you’re looking for some ASUS action a little sooner, check out the ZenFone 3 Zoom.