That's a mighty big camera on the back of your phone.
Why thank you.
It wasn't a compliment. Why is it so big?
Well it has a lot of work to get through. The phone it sits on is the Asus ZenFone AR, and the AR bit stands for augmented reality. For AR to work, you need depth sensing and motion tracking cameras on top of your usual lens. Hence the big camera module. However the result of all that camera trickery is that the ZenFone AR runs Google's potentially world-changing Tango platform, making it only the second mobile to do so.
The second one? Pah, we only care about first round here.
Well that's short-sighted, because while the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro was the first phone to bring Tango tech to the masses, the ZenFone trumps it on several counts. For starters it also runs Google's Daydream VR platform - making it very much the first to have both Tango AND Daydream, ie augmented and virtual reality in one package. Marvellous!
Is that it? Boring.
There’s also another first that the ZenFone AR holds. Remember when our minds were blown by phones packing 6GB RAM? Now, forget that - because the AR is the first phone to arrive packing 8GB of RAM. And despite all the power and tech crammed inside it, this 5.7in phone is still a mere 4.8mm thin, which is a great deal slimmer and lighter than the aforementioned Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
Has it only got AR and VR tricks up its sleeve?
Glad you asked. Take away the fancy alternative and virtual reality tech and you’re still left with plenty of phone. The 5.7in display uses super AMOLED tech, which should make images really jump out, while a Snapdragon 821 processor is about as cutting-edge as they come right now. A 3300mAh battery is no weedy offering either.
So when Tango and Daydream collide, do I get transported to a whole other reality?
Unfortunately, no. They work independently of each other, but that’s good because you get two. Then again, who knows what Google might cook up in its X lab. And anyway, there's enough to explore just on Tango alone: GAP has shown off a Tango app that'll take the guesswork out of buying clothes online, and there are now at least 35 Tango-enabled apps on the Google Play Store. Go crazy.
OK, I guess it would be nice to have the option of escaping into another reality. Especially right now.
It really is a sweet-looking phone. Now we just have to wait and see how much it costs when it arrives sometime around Q2 of this year.