ASUS has made a lot of moves in the smartphone market but one of their biggest moves has to be combining the virtual reality capabilities of Google’s Daydream with the augmented reality ones of Google’s Project Tango into a single smartphone. Yep, we’re talking about the ASUS ZenFone AR.
This is what you get with the RM3,799 behemoth of a smartphone.
First up, the box, which looks pretty normal for a smartphone box.
Slide the cover off and you’ll be greeted with the box containing the smartphone itself. It’s a robust box.
Pop the lid and you find out why — the box is more than just a box. Oh then there’s the smartphone too, of course, which is usually wrapped in plastic but I unwrapped it so it looks a little prettier.
Here’s almost everything in the box. Clockwise from left: The power brick, the socket adapter, headphones, the smartphone, a USB Type-C cable and a pair of lenses. Hint: This has something to do with the cover that’s more than just a cover.
Tucked away in a small compartment in the box’s cover are a clear plastic case and a tempered glass screen protector.
The power brick is 9V2A fast charging one.
Let’s move on to the lid of the box which, if you haven’t guessed it by now, doubles as a Google Cardboard-esque VR headset.
In the box, you get what looks like a masquerade mask which actually houses the two lenses.
Put everything together and you should get something that looks like this.
It’s not the fanciest of VR headsets, and we’re frankly a little disappointed that it doesn’t come with a Google Daydream headset, but it is what it is.
Build wise, it is definitely is more robust than your average Google Cardboard.
But this, this is the star of the show. In front, you get a 5.7-inch Quad HD display pushing 2560×1440 pixels. Inside, it’s got a Snapdragon 821 processor mated to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
At the back, is the star of the show — ASUS’s tri-camera system which consists of a 23MP f/2.0 aperture camera, a motion sensing camera and a depth sensing camera. In the back also sits a 3,300 mAh battery that keeps the device powered.
As far as build goes, the ZenFone AR is pretty solid. It’s got a robust metal frame that wraps around the side of the smartphone while a textured leather back covers the back. It looks, and feels, very reminiscent of the first generation ZenFone Zoom.
At the bottom, you’ll find the USB Type-C port, a single speaker, microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack.
To be honest, the ZenFone AR doesn’t look its price from the front. In fact, it looks a lot like your regular mid-range smartphone. There are backlit capacitive keys (huzzah!) and a physical home button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor here though. It’s also got ASUS’s ZenUI Android skin which you either love, tolerate or hate.
Around back though, things look a little more impressive. The textured back gives it a more BlackBerry-esque look which looks mighty professional.
The camera module is also pretty humongous, though, it doesn’t really protrude out so it can sit quite comfortably on the table.
At the bottom, you also get a neat little ASUS logo etched into the leather with Google’s Project Tango logo sitting right below it.
If you’re interested, you can buy a brand new ASUS ZenFone AR right here.