Asus is announcing two new smartphones at CES, and each of them is notable for different reasons. There's the ZenFone 3 Zoom (left), which as the name implies, has optical zoom. Then there's the ZenFone AR (right), which was leaked by Qualcomm's site a few days ago.
ZenFone 3 Zoom
Let's start with the ZenFone 3 Zoom. We don't have the full specs, but here's what we've got.
SoC: Snapdragon 625
RAM: Up to 4GB
Camera: Dual 12MP with 2.3x optical zoom
Software: Android 6.0 (nougat coming soon)
The battery is huge, which is nice for a phone that you'll (presumably) be using to take a lot of photos. There are very few phones that have optical zoom. There's also optical image stabilization. The hardware seems otherwise mid-range. This phone will launch next month, but pricing and exact configurations aren't available yet.
The ZenFone AR is probably a bigger deal because it's a Project Tango phone that isn't massive. Here are the specs, which again, are not complete.
SoC: Snapdragon 821
Display: 5.7-inch 1440p AMOLED
Software: Android 7.0
Tango stuff: Yes
The ZenFone AR will be the first phone to work with both Daydream and Tango, and the Snapdragon 821 ensures it won't have the lag issues present on the Phab2 Pro. Also 8GB of RAM, Asus? I don't know if that's necessary, but damn. Despite being smaller than the Phab2 Pro (5.7-inch vs 6.4-inch), the ZenFone AR has just a small Tango sensor cluster on the back. It looks much less insane than the Lenovo phone. The ZenFone AR will be out in Q2 2017, but pricing (and the rest of the specs) are unknown right now.
Las Vegas (January 4, 2017) — ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih today unveiled the ASUS ZenFone AR and ZenFone 3 Zoom smartphones during the Zennovation press event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. ZenFone AR will be the world's first smartphone that is both Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready. Tango is a set of sensors and computer-vision software by Google that enables smartphone augmented reality. Daydream is Google's platform for high-quality, mobile virtual reality and supports Daydream VR apps. ZenFone 3 Zoom is built for photography and extended use with the world's best smartphone camera and a large, 5000mAh battery.
ZenFone AR is also the world’s first Tango-enabled device to be powered by the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 821 processor, and is designed to deliver cutting-edge smartphone augmented reality experiences. ZenFone 3 Zoom is powered by the Snapdragon 625 processor.
Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and President, QCT, joined Chairman Shih onstage to provide more details about the processors in ZenFone AR and ZenFone 3 Zoom, and highlight the strong relationship between ASUS and Qualcomm Technologies.
“The Snapdragon 821 processor is a perfect fit for a flagship Tango-enabled device like the ZenFone AR,” said Amon. “You need a powerful heterogeneous computing and power-efficient chip to handle the intensive processing and complex features needed to optimize and deliver rich augmented reality experiences. We congratulate ASUS on this exciting new product and are excited to now have Snapdragon processors powering devices across their lineup.”
Also onstage to reveal more about ZenFone AR and Tango, as well as demonstrate some of the amazing augmented reality experiences available through innovative mobile apps and games were Erik Hermanson, Head of Content & Brand Marketing at ASUS, and Johnny Lee, Director of Engineering for Tango. “Our phones already assist us in our day-to-day lives, but we believe they can do even more. We’re excited to see Tango technology incorporated into ZenFone AR, making its capabilities available to more people,” said Mr. Lee. Jeff Kirwan, Global President of Gap, then demonstrated DressingRoom by Gap, an augmented reality app that allows Gap customers to model clothes on a virtual mannequin and view it from any angle.
Following the announcements, ASUS hosted a demo area showcasing ZenFone AR, ZenFone 3 Zoom, and the latest lineup of lifestyle, business, and Republic of Gamers (ROG) gaming products. New lifestyle and business products include the ZenBook UX490 laptop, VivoPC X desktop PC, ProArt PA32U monitor, and ASUSPRO B9440 business laptop. New gaming products include the ROG Maximus IX Extreme motherboard, ROG Gladius II mouse, ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 router, and ROG Strix Magnus gaming microphone. Additionally, several desktop and laptop PCs updated with the latest 7th Generation (‘Kaby Lake’) Intel® Core™ processors were also shown, including the Zen AiO ZN270 desktop, ROG GT51CH gaming desktop, and the ROG GX800VH and G752 gaming laptops.
ASUS won eight CES 2017 Innovation Awards, with products across four competitive award categories honored for outstanding design and engineering innovation. The award-winning products include: ZenFone 3 Deluxe, Designo Curve MX34VQ, Vivo AiO V221, ZenBook 3, ROG GX800, ROG Maximus IX Apex and ROG Maximus IX Hero, and an upcoming powerful ROG gaming laptop.
All ASUS and ROG products will be on display at the ASUS Media Suite at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, from 4:00pm–6:00pm on January 4th, 2017, and from 9:00am-6:00pm on 5th-7th January, 2017.
ASUS ZenFone AR
ASUS ZenFone AR is a next-generation smartphone that represents a significant advance in mobile VR and AR technologies. It is the first smartphone that will be Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready. Tango is a set of sensors and computer-vision software by Google that enables unique AR user experiences on a smartphone, such as AR gaming, AR utilities, and indoor navigation. Daydream is Google's platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality and supports Daydream VR apps. ZenFone AR was developed in close cooperation with Google to deliver the best Tango and Daydream experiences.
ZenFone AR is the thinnest and lightest Tango-enabled device. This breakthrough in size and weight is made by possible the innovative ASUS TriCam™ system, a three-camera system consisting of a 23MP main camera, motion-tracking camera, and depth-sensing camera. Unlike three-camera systems in other devices, the design of the ASUS TriCam system clusters its array of cameras to reduce their footprint within the phone, enabling the entire phone to be thinner and lighter.
ZenFone AR features a powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 821 processor that is optimized for Tango, and is the world's first smartphone with 8GB of RAM. ZenFone AR's powerful performance and innovative camera work in conjunction with Tango to enable smooth and compelling smartphone AR experiences. A beautiful, 5.7-inch WQHD Super AMOLED display and a new five-magnet speaker makes Daydream VR apps, games, and videos more immersive and entertaining. Android™ 7.0 ‘Nougat’ lets users get the most out of ZenFone AR with new multitasking features and other enhancements that deliver a great mobile experience.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom
ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom is a 5.5-inch smartphone designed to excel at photography with a dual-camera system that captures gorgeous photos and videos. It is also the world’s slimmest smartphone with a high-capacity, 5000mAh battery, giving users extended usage times without compromising style and portability.
ZenFone 3 Zoom’s innovative dual-camera system comprises two 12MP cameras, one with a f/1.7-aperture, 25mm wide-angle lens and a second with a 56mm lens. Users can instantly switch from the 25mm primary camera to the 56mm camera, giving them a 2.3X optical zoom that is perfect for portraits and capturing distant subjects. An improved TriTech+ autofocus system automatically chooses among three autofocus technologies — Dual Pixel PDAF, subject tracking autofocus, and second-generation laser focus — depending on the situation to achieve accurate focus in just 0.03 seconds, even when photographing moving subjects.
ZenFone 3 Zoom is also the first ASUS smartphone with SuperPixel camera technology that enables it to focus incredibly quickly and capture clear photos at night or in low-light environments. ASUS-exclusive hardware and software enhancements boost sensor light-sensitivity by up to four times by intelligently adjusting ISO levels while shooting and applying noise reduction in post-shot processing. SuperPixel technology enables the camera on ZenFone 3 Zoom to have 2.5-times (2.5X) greater light sensitivity than Apple® iPhone® 7 Plus and 10-times (10X) that of an average smartphone.
ZenFone 3 Zoom has a high-capacity 5000mAh battery that is sculpted to fit in the phone’s super-slim, 7.9mm full-metal body. The phone weighs just 170 grams, yet with its large battery and powerful, efficient Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 processor it provides users with up to 42 days of standby time on a 3G network. The high-capacity battery also complements ZenFone 3 Zoom’s photographic capabilities, allowing users to shoot more photos, enjoy power-intensive operations like time-lapse photography, and capture up to 6.4 hours of continuous 4K UHD video on a single charge. ZenFone 3 Zoom can also double as a high-speed power bank for charging other devices.