- Contrasting and faithful screen.
- Good overall performance.
- Very good autonomy (except AR / VR).
- Integration of discrete Tango.
- Heats up quickly.
- Bright screen.
- Interface loaded.
- Disappointing photo performance.
BOTTOM LINE :
At the end of the day, we can only be both packed and frustrated by this Zenfone AR. Beyond the virtual reality, already seen and reviewed elsewhere, the presence of the Tango system is interesting, but still in its infancy. Everything is not working perfectly and we feel that the demand for resources is enormous. The Zenfone AR is clearly not a smartphone for everyone, especially given the investment requested. Let’s wait for a Zenfone AR 2 for maybe finally appreciate these technologies.
Asus Zenfone AR is one of the few smartphones to offer both compatibility with the Daydream virtual reality platform and augmented reality, Tango. What to plunge the user into another world? Not exactly. The Zenfone AR is both an excellent showcase for these two alternative realities, but also a reflection of their imperfection.
The Asus Zenfone AR is a resolutely high-end smartphone. It features a 5.7-inch Super Amoled WQHD screen (2560 x 1440 px). It is powered by a SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, coupled with 6 GB of RAM and relies on an internal memory of 128 GB, expandable by microSD. For the photo, the Zenfone AR is based on a 23 Mpx back sensor, surmounted by a stabilized lens opening at f/2 and a front sensor of 8 Mpx. The power supply is provided by a 3300 mAh battery and the animation is left to the care of Android 7.0 Nougat with the overlay ZenUI of Asus.
The particularity of this smartphone lies notably in the integration of the Tango system, dedicated to augmented reality. It is based on the main photo sensor and two other modules, allowing you to retrieve depth information and track movements. The Zenfone AR is also part of the smartphones compatible with the Daydream platform of virtual reality.
ERGONOMICS AND DESIGN
The part underneath the screen is not totally lost, since it contains the navigation keys and the fingerprint reader. The latter works without problems and unlocks the smartphone instantly. However, it is necessary to push the button which receives it to make it work, the fact of simply depositing its finger on it remains without effect.
On the back of the camera, Asus chose to put on a leatherette that remains flattering for the retina and pleasant in hand. We can blame the metal edges of the smartphone to be a bit too prominent. No miracle with a screen of 5.7 inches and optimization so limited, it is necessary to arm with both hands to fully use the Zenfone AR.
Zenfone AR has great difficulty keeping a cool head when it is strongly urged. We raised up to 46.7 ° C on the front of the smartphone after a CPU and GPU session.
Asus has taken care of its colorimetry since, by default, we measure a very good delta E at 2.8. It is still necessary to play with the cursor in the parameters (5 steps towards the warm) to obtain a perfect color temperature (6480 K). This small adjustment also makes it possible to lower the delta E to 2.2.
Zenfone AR has a globally reactive screen. We measured a tactile delay at 68 ms, below the average of our comparison (87 ms) and zero remanence; thank you Oled.
INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION
Tango and Daydream complies, we also find a whole range of applications dedicated to virtual and augmented reality. The first of the two does not find great novelty compared to other smartphones. Daydream compatibility primarily provides access to a catalog compatible with Google’s headset and the accompanying controller. The catalog has about sixty titles currently, a good part of which is paying. For virtual reality, some 30 applications are now available on the Play Store.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 platform is more than enough to offer unmatched fluidity in common applications. Finally, it is especially in those that specifically puts forward Asus that performance is the least remarkable. As indicated above, the terminal heater starts its performance in VR and AR, which remains problematic. We can not put everything on Asus’s back on this side, because this kind of application requires a lot of optimization work on the part of the developers.
The headphone output of Zenfone AR does not shine particularly with its power. This should still be suitable for the majority of headphones. The distortion is very well contained, the dynamic remains average, while the reproduction of the stereo is rather mediocre. The Zenfone AR has only one loudspeaker, placed on the bottom edge. It is not extremely powerful and its average precision will restrict it to a use for calls, or even a few videos from time to time.
Besides the offer of play in RV, the Zenfone AR is not really limited in its choice of videogames titles. Its graphics chip Adreno 530 opens the doors of demanding games without slowing down. Here again, there will be a tendency to rise in temperature. However, we did not notice any performance degradation caused by heating on non-VR titles.
Video capture can go up to a UHD definition. However, it will be avoided very often because of the persistence that is found in the final result, causing the video to lose fluidity. The Full HD mode is much more powerful, for a well-controlled exposure on the whole. Again, the low light will not be the friend of Zenfone AR.
The front sensor of 8 Mpx deserves to be rid of the artifacts present by default. It delivers rather detailed images and manages well the exposure of the subject, even backward. One may reproach him, as with his dorsal companion, his unfortunate tendency to saturate the colors.
Fortunately, the charging of the device is rather fast and requires an average of 1h30 with the supplied mains adapter.
Asus Zenfone AR telephony side
The Zenfone AR has 2 slots for SIM cards, but you must choose between the 2nd SIM or the microSD card. The operation of the two SIMs is as usual in dual-standby , ie only one line at a time can access the mobile data, the other must be limited to 2G.
During calls, both the caller get on well and without the need to push the volume to one side or the other. We did not experience any significant stall during our test.