Asus unveiled its latest smartphone, the Zenfone AR, at CES 2017 to some raised eyebrows. That it would be Tango-enabled was a foregone conclusion thanks to leaks. It supports Daydream VR too – that is a sweet surprise but not too much of one. It also has what Asus calls a TriCam System – that sounds interesting. A primary 23MP snapper, supported by Motion Tracking and Depth Sensing sensors? Good stuff. But what tickled my funny bone was 8GB RAM on a smartphone! That’s more than the RAM on my laptop! Cue, a hysterical breakdown…
At this point, I think the entire world knows that Android smartphones need more RAM to keep up with the smooth ‘talking and walking’ iPhones with just 2GB RAM that Apple keeps churning out. A variety of reasons crop up – iOS is more efficient, Android takes up more system resources, blah blah blah. Over the years, this has created a new method of competition – top-end spec wars. Manufacturers keep increasing processing power to ridiculous levels.
RAM on a smartphone! Seriously?
Asus says that the extra RAM will help in handling features such as Project Tango Augmented Reality and Daydream Virtual Reality. But for the rest of the day, in normal usage scenarios, I expect the phone to be superfast. Are you listening Asus? No hoarding RAM for your Android skins!
Asus chose the ‘metal frame with leather back’ design for the ZenFone AR, so it looks classy and should be comfortable to hold. The fingerprint sensor has been moved to the front, with a headphone jack and USB-C port at the bottom. From the front, it looks just like any other smartphone on the market.
On the spec front, the Asus ZenFone AR packs in a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4 protection, a Snapdragon 821 processor with 8GB RAM, up to 256GB of onboard storage with microSD support and a 3,300 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support. It supports all the usual Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth 4.2 and charges through a USB-C port. Oh, and it comes with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
The front camera is a 8MP wide-angle sensor and the ream camera is the TriCam System I mentioned earlier. The TriCam System takes up a chunk of space on the back of the phone, and reminds me a little of the the Nokia 808 PureView. With all the heavy-duty specs on board, this phone is bound to ‘heat up’, so Asus says that there is a vapor cooling system onboard too!
The biggest disappointment for me? This beast doesn’t come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, this year’s flagship SoC. Nevertheless, the Zenfone AR will be the first Android smartphone to support both Project Tango AR and Daydream VR when it launches in a few weeks. Asus hasn’t revealed pricing and release dates yet.
For more details, here’s a hands-on video from the folks at Android Authority.