Asus launches Zenfone 3 Zoom and Zenfone AR at CES 2017

Alex Kidman 5 January 2017

ZenfoneAR_450

Asus dives deep into AR and photography with its latest handsets.

Asus has used its CES 2017 press conference to announce two new models in its Zenfone range, the Zenfone AR and Zenfone 3 Zoom respectively. The company had teased that it would announce new phones at CES 2017 some weeks back, but left the precise details murky, although many picked that it would launch a Google Tango-compliant phone.

That’s the Zenfone AR, a phone with up to 8GB of onboard RAM, although that will apparently vary depending on the localisation of regional models. Google’s Tango AR system is the star of the show here, utilising the TriCam system that combines a 23MP sensor with motion and depth sensing cameras to give the phone a true sense of its surroundings.

Underneath the Zenfone AR's 5.7 inch 1440x2560 pixel display lurks a Snapdragon 821, so the Zenfone AR won’t be the first phone to formally launch with Qualcomm’s newly minted Snapdragon 835 processor. To keep the Zenfone AR running smoothly, it utilises a vapour cooling system to avoid overheating. The Zenfone AR runs on Android 7.0 (“Nougat”) and will be available in the second quarter of 2017 with pricing to be determined.

Photography remains a key part of the smartphone experience, and that’s the sector that the Zenfone 3 Zoom targets. While dual cameras are nothing new per se, Asus’ take on incorporating two sensors allows for one 12MP f/1.7 sensor and one 12MP sensor with 2.3x optical zoom built in. That’s a slight decrease from the Zenfone Zoom, which offered a full 3x optical zoom. Around the front it features a 13MP sensor. The Zenfone 3 Zoom features a 5.5 inch 1920x1080 pixel display and Snapdragon 525 processor, although like the Zenfone AR, it will differ in storage and RAM configurations when it launches in February.

Asus hasn’t typically released its Zenfone models in Australia directly, but if you’re keen you may be able to acquire one via a direct importer.

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Alex Kidman travelled to Las Vegas for CES 2017 as a guest of Dell.

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