Not a bad price for both augmented and virtual reality capabilities - Photo by Lauren Goode / The Verge
Asus’ new ZenFone AR, which supports both Google’s Tango augmented reality tech and its Daydream virtual reality platform, is available for preorder at Verizon for $648 outright or $27 per month on a leasing plan. Asus had been rather quiet about the pricing and availability details of its AR-enabled handset, even refusing to disclose the details at a hands-on press event in San Francisco last week. However, as of today, the product page is up at Verizon and should hopefully have a confirmed ship date sometime soon. The device comes only in a 128GB option.
First announced at CES in January, the ZenFone AR is the second phone, after the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, to come equipped with Tango technology. That effectively lets the phone “see” the world around it, using a mix of cameras and sensors to detect objects, sense depth, and then place virtual objects in the real world, viewable through the camera viewfinder. It also supports Daydream, meaning you can place the phone inside a supported VR headset, made either by Google itself or a certified third-party hardware maker, and access the limited but growing library of Android-based mobile VR apps.
The other specs for the ZenFone AR are pretty standard for a medium- to top-tier Android phone. You have a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GB of memory, and a 3300 mAh battery. the device is also decked out with cameras, mostly to support Tango. But it also has a 23MP rear-facing camera for good old fashioned 2D photography. That’s not a bad deal for the price, especially when you consider the baked-in AR and VR capabilities.