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Asus ZenFone AR First Impressions

Being one of the biggest innovators in the smartphone marketplace, Asus announced, the ZenFone AR, a premium grade Augmented reality focused smartphone that will soon reach Philippine shores. We were able to spot the mind boggling phone at Computex 2017!
Asus ZenFone AR First Impressionsmpressions
Meet Asus ZenFone AR

Asus ZenFone AR (ZS571KL) Specs

Display: 5.7 Inch QHD Super AMOLED 2560 x 1440 resolution w/ Bluelight filter, 2.5D curved glass, and Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 515 ppi
CPU: 2.35 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 821 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 530
RAM: 6 GB / 8 GB
ROM: 32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 2 TB
Back Camera: 23 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX318 w/ Laser AF, OIS, and dual tone LED flash and depth camera, and motion camera
Selfie Camera: 8 MP
Battery: 3,300 mAh w/ Quick Charge 3.0
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat w/ ZenUI 3.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE Cat 13 w/ VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, proximity, light, barometer, RGB, IR
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type C, High-res audio certified (24 bit / 192 kHz), Colors: navy black, glacier silver, rose gold
Dimensions: 158.67 x 77.7 x 8.95 mm
Weight: 170 g
Price: PHP 45,990

Disclaimer: This was an exhibition floor unit where we were able to use the phone for a limited time!

Build Quality / Design

Tango x Daydream ready
Tango x Daydream ready

With a the price of  PHP 45,990 it is only right that the Zenfone AR will be made with the best and the most premium of materials and the AR does not disappoint.

Unparalleled build quality to match the high estimated price tag!

Brushed metal finished metal frame with premium looking and premium feeling burnished leather. It looks great and it feels great but I am wondering if this will be able to endure the harsh wear and tear of daily use.
Mic on top
Mic on top
Speaker, USB Type C, microphone, and 3.5 mm headphone slot below
Speaker, USB Type C, microphone, and 3.5 mm headphone slot below
Hybrid SIM slot at left
Hybrid SIM slot at left
Power button and volume rocker at right

The camera's at the back absolutely eye catching in a good way where it doesn't have a huge bump but more of added detail around it to give emphasis to it.

In terms of ergonomics the back is curved so it is easier to hold one handed and with the textured leather increasing friction which helps the phone from slipping makes it such a pleasure to hold.

Initial findings

1. Build Quality and Design are all top notch. It is a true flagship competitor and more! The glass panel is beautiful with a bright, sharp and saturated display. We dare to say that this may be the best display on a ZenFone yet!
2. It is equipped with Snapdragon 821 quad core processor that was announced in 2016. We had hoped that Asus had used the latest 835, but knowing the reliability and performance of the 821, we can safely guess that it can perform those intensive Augmented Reality apps with no problem! It's also coupled with up to 8 GB of RAM, the largest yet on a smartphone.
3. It carries the latest version of the ZenUI which has drastically improved visually and practicality. The icons look better and it is easier to navigate than previous iterations.
4. The camera at the back takes center stage as it uses an innovative TriCam system where in theory it sees the world just like the human eye does! The images from the camera itself is stunning. We were not able to acquire the images we took with the phone but take it as a grain of salt as we have yet to transfer the pictures in another monitor to properly test it. The TriCam system is based in the earlier Zenfone 3 Zoom camera with improved and all-new dual-phase detect autofocus that promises to be one of the most accurate and the quickest in the market today. In our initial trials, we found that it is similar to our experience with the Samsung Galaxy S8's dual pixel autofocus. We'll have to do more testing to see!
5. It is not sure yet whether the phone will be bundled with an Asus branded headset or the Google Daydream VR headset. WE hope that it is already bundled given that guesstimate price tag!

As of the moment

The Asus Zenfone AR is looking to be one of the most compelling and most innovative phone for VR in the market today but the price may deter most people. Add to that the uncertainty of whether it will be bundled with the VR headset and the early limited number of supported applications can be a challenge but otherwise, the build, the camera and the technology built in is certainly first class! We hope to see the Zenfone AR soon!

Please wait for our review as soon as we get our hands on the device!
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