The ASUS ZenFone AR was announced back in January, at CES. It’s something of a special phone, as it’s the first, and so far only, handset that is compatible with both Google Tango and Google Daydream.
Up until now, the phone was not available in the US, but this has just changed: the ZenFone AR can now be picked up exclusively on Verizon. The device can be yours for $27/month for two years, or for $648 upfront.
Project Tango is an augmented reality technology that relies on three separate cameras to function — one for depth sensing, one for motion tracking, and a standard 23 MP snapper. This allows it to project 3D images on the screen, and it’s said to be incredibly precise, allowing users to move around the room while the AR projection retains its position and orientation.
The technology doesn’t have too much use right now, due to the limited apps catalog, however, it has a lot of potential. One of it apps allows you to measure space around your home and put 3D models of furniture inside it, in order to plan your new interior project, for example.
Since the introduction of Google Tango, another contender has come into play, though: Apple’s AR Kit. This is believed to be just as precise as Tango, but utilizes only one smartphone camera, and will be available to Apple users running iOS 11 when it lands this fall. This includes owners of the iPhone SE, all iPad Pro models and the newest 9.7-inch iPad, making Apple’s platform far more accessible for AR developers.
While the ASUS ZenFone AR will face heavy competition when iOS 11 hits, for now, it’s a one-of-a-kind Android device. In terms of hardware, it comes with the Snapdragon 821 chipset and 128 GB of storage. The US version comes with 6 GB of RAM, as opposed to the 8 GB for the international model, a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, and a 3,300 mAh battery.