CES 2017 is in full swing and some of the coolest smartphone announcements at the show are coming from Asus. The Taiwanese manufacturer revealed a ZenFone 3 variant equipped with dual cameras and optical zoom, but it’s actually the ZenFone AR that really piqued our interest, thanks to a combo of great specs and advanced features from Google.

The ZenFone AR is the first high-end Tango phone (and the second overall, after the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro), the first phone that supports Tango and Daydream VR, and the first smartphone with 8GB of RAM.

That’s a lot of premieres, so let’s take a closer look at what the Asus ZenFone brings to the table, live from CES 2017.

As mentioned, the ZenFone AR will be the second commercially available Tango-ready smartphone, but unlike the Phab 2 Pro the ZenFone AR is much sleeker looking, more manageable in the hand, and a lot less bulky.

The phone has a full metal frame that wraps around the entire perimeter of the phone and on the back there’s a very soft leather backing that feels extremely nice and also provides a lot of grip.

Also on the back is a 23MP camera, as well as the optical hardware needed to run Tango applications – this includes sensors for motion tracking and a depth sensing camera. The Tango module takes up the space where the fingerprint sensor is usually found on Asus phones, so the sensor is now placed on the front, embedded in the physical home button, which is flanked by capacitive keys.

If you’re still somehow not familiar with what Tango is, here is a very brief explanation. Tango is an augmented reality (AR) platform created by Google. Born from Google’s advanced technologies labs, Tango eventually graduated last year to become a real product. Tango-equipped phones can understand the physical space, by measuring the distance between the phone and objects in the real world. In practice, that means Tango phones can be used for AR applications like navigating through in-door spaces, but also for more recreational purposes like games. There are currently over 30 Tango apps in the Play Store, with dozens more coming this year.

Besides Tango, ZenFone AR also supports Daydream VR, Google’s virtual reality platform for mobile devices. As such, it’s compatible with Daydream View and other Daydream headsets and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time using mobile VR applications on it.

The phone has all the specs you’d want on a VR-focused device, including a large, bright, and beautiful 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with Quad HD resolution and a Snapdragon 821 processor inside (sadly, it won’t get the brand-new Snapdragon 835, as we were hoping). The ZenFone AR will come with either 6GB of RAM or a whopping 8GB of RAM, a first for any smartphone.

All those hardware features will tax the system, so the ZenFone AR includes a vapor cooling system to help prevent the phone from overheating when using its AR and VR capabilities.

As all Daydream-ready devices, the ZenFone AR is running Android 7.0 Nougat, but not without Asus’ ZenUI customizations on top of it.

You can expect to see the ZenFone AR released in the second quarter of this year (April-June), but exact pricing and availability are still to be confirmed. The ZenFone AR is definitely shaping up to be a very interesting device, especially with both Tango and Daydream inside. The specifications – and especially the 8GB of RAM – make us curious to see how the ZenFone AR performs in real life. We’ll definitely pick it up for further testing once its release date approaches.

Meanwhile, keep it tuned to our YouTube channel and visit our CES page for all the latest from Las Vegas, and also tell us what you think about the Asus ZenFone AR!

  • AndroidUser

    A nod to Asus, which also released the first 4gb ram phone back then

  • Justin Coats

    8gb of ram but yet I cant seem to find a normal sized phone with more than 1gb of ram. wtf

    • Marius Tomas

      what’s normal sized phone for you mate?
      I really think it shouldn’t be that hard. especially those Chinese Budget phone offering with lot of Rams o flagships which gives at least 3-4 gb

      • Civicsr2cool

        <5" is normal. There are only a small handful that offer 2gb or 1.5gb.

    • Daniel Herrera

      Sony Xperia X Compact has 3gb of ram and has a 23 megapixel camera.

      • Justin Coats

        Ya, I’m well aware of the Sony compacts. The Z5c and Xc both have sharp corners. pretty unusable one handed which is the whole point of a smaller phone.

        • Daniel Herrera

          Just attach one of your maxi pads to your palm to protect your delicate hand from the sharp corners.

          • Civicsr2cool

            I tried that, the Snapdragon 810 actually lit one on fire and I lost an entire hand.

          • Daniel Herrera

            Haha 😂

        • Daniel Herrera

          There you go. Coolpad Conjr offers a 5-inch phone with 3GB RAM for $180. Or go with an iPhone SE or iPhone 7…

          • Justin Coats

            5 inch is still pretty large, I’ve got an SE currently but bluetooth issues suck and front camera totally blows lol, my s4 mini is perfect in every regard but the specs are aging fast with no replacements coming close to par.

          • Gadgetonomy

            Justin is obviously going to be very hard to please.

        • If you’re entitled I guess a case is out of the question.

  • Lex

    How thick is it and how big is the battery?

    • Daniel Herrera

      I heard 3300mah

      • Lex


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  • Dusan

    Last year everyone was saying that 4gb is more than enough. Now suddenly 8gb is amazing etc etc.
    Well does ARM even support dual channel memory? I’d rather have faster memory than more memory.

  • Wezi427


  • Ordinary Geek

    It’s kind of ugly, but I appreciate that some Android manufacturers are now (FINALLY) beginning to move away from the iPhone design paradigm, and seem to be exploring their own industrial design language. It’s long overdue!

  • Kunal Narang

    In 6 months SD 821 will be old and new Tango phones may be released with the new SD 835. I’ll wait for that.

  • Gadgetonomy

    I never thought I would say this about something made by ASUS, but I am actually quite excited about this phone.

  • Andrew White

    Late April… still no word on release date.