ASUS has launched the first smartphone in India with AR and VR support, the Zenfone AR. The phone combines the capabilities of Virtual Reality (VR) or Day Dream and Augmented Reality (AR) or Project Tango from Google. The Zenfone AR comes with great hardware and is powered by Snapdragon 821 chipset with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. It features a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display along with Android Nougat out of the box. The device has 3300mAh battery and Zen UI on top of it. The device is priced Rs 49,999 and how does it perform? Let’s find out in the ASUS Zenfone AR review.
Design and Build:
ASUS has provided a premium design and build quality for the Zenfone AR. It comes with an aluminum frame with leather finished back panel which looks good. On the front panel, we have the 5.7-inch display, two capacitive buttons on either side of the home key which also acts as a fingerprint scanner. On the rear panel, you see the large camera module which is a TriCam system as mentioned by the company. It consists of a 23-megapixel camera, plus separate motion sensing and depth-sensing cameras. All three are protected by sapphire glass. At the bottom, you see the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm jack, microphone, and speaker, while the top has a secondary microphone for noise cancellation. There is also a triple LED flash in the camera unit. Overall, it feels quite good and premium smartphone for its price.
The ASUS Zenfone AR comes with a 55.7-inch QUAD HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440×2560 pixels (QHD) resulting in a density of 515ppi. The display is crisp and sharp and has good viewing angles too. There is also Corning Gorilla Glass protection offered on the display. Overall, the display feels quite good.
The Zenfone AR runs on Zen UI on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. The Zen UI is one of the highly customized UI offering tons of features and personalization options. There are also other third party apps pre-installed on the device. The UI also comes with themes supports and additional options like gestures supported. You can customize the look and feel of the device including icon size, fonts and more.
Mobile Manager has been added in Zen UI which offers to free RAM and storage space as well as check performance and app permissions similar to other Chinese OEMs. Overall, if you are person loving a lot of customizations for your device, in all probability you will love the Zen UI.
The Zenfone AR is powered by Snapdragon 821 Octa core chipset coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The processor is powerful and we did not encounter any lag or stutter when using the phone.The gaming experience of the device is also very good and we did not see any lags or frame drops. The overall day to day performance was pretty good and there was no lag.
The Zenfone AR comes preloaded with some AR apps which allows you to take advantage of the augmented reality capability of the device. ZenFone AR does augmented reality pretty well and it can look very realistic as well. We tried the interior designing app and you could place virtual objects in your room using the AR. It responds well to your movement and works very well with the depth sensing camera. The VR experience is also pretty good in the device. ASUS claims that the display has a 1ms refresh rate and a 2ms persistence, which helps it deliver smooth experiences.
While the overall experience was smooth with AR and VR, it did take up battery when using these two. The call quality of the device is also good and it supports 4G LTE. The speaker performance is also pretty good on the device.
Zenfone AR comes with a 23MP unit which is quite similar to what we have seen on Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 4 Ultra. The phone has laser autofocus coupled with PDAF. The camera interface has plethora of modes to choose from including Panorama, HDR and Filter there are Super Resolution, Low Light, Depth of Field, Slow Motion etc. The photos taken with the device came out pretty well in most conditions and there was good color reproduction and overall clarity looked pretty well. The low light photos did have some noise. The phone also packs an 8MP selfie camera which does a decent job overall. You can also record videos in 4k on the device but unfortunately there is no OIS for videos and it is available only for photos. Here are some of the samples taken with the device.
Zenfone AR packs a 3300mAh battery with QC 3.0 support. The battery life on the device is quite good and it can easily last for a day in regular usage which is quite good for a flagship device. Since there is latest fast charging, you can quickly top up the battery on the device.
The ASUS Zenfone AR sets an example on how future smartphones should be. If you are a person who wants to experience the true capabilities of AR, then this is a good investment. If you are a developer for this platform, again the Zenfone AR provides a good experience.