Asus' latest smartphone offers up AR/VR smarts and 94MP photos

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Asus announced a dynamic duo of Android smartphones for 2017 that make big promises to bring something new to its ZenFone lineup.

First up is the Asus ZenFone AR, which isn’t much of a surprise thanks to Qualcomm’s accidental leak a few days ago. However, we know a lot more about the device now, including that the Snapdragon 821-equipped phone will have 6GB of RAM and sport a 2,560 x 1,400 super AMOLED display.

All of these specs point to the ZenFone AR being a delight to use on an everyday basis, but more strongly speak to the phone’s augmented and virtual reality potential. As Qualcomm’s leak stated, this is the first phone to run both Tango and Daydream experiences, making it one of the most futureproof smartphones to hit the market to date. Compared to the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, a phone that paved the way as the first Tango phone, Asus’ more powerful smartphone will run laps around it.

Asus is also touting the camera setup in the ZenFone AR outside of its most obvious use case, Google’s AR app Tango. The Sony IMX318 sensor has 4-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) for photos and 3-axis electronic image stabilization (EIS) for videos to ensure a stutter-free recording.

Most impressive, aside from its comprehensive manual mode, is the Super Resolution mode that can apparently capture four photos shot in native 23MP and stitch them into a single 92MP image.

Of course, all of this technology will probably come at a high cost, and Asus isn’t talking price just yet. Look for details soon, especially as we near its release in the second quarter of this year. 

Third time is a charm for Zoom 

If you don’t need all of that newfangled tech, but still want a capable camera, the Asus ZenFone Zoom 3 might suit your needs.

Last year’s Asus ZenFone Zoom 2 rocked a lush, if divisive leather-inspired design that drew the eyes toward its circular, dual-camera setup. This year’s model ditches almost every unique aspect in favor of a more mainstream look.

The 5.5-inch, Snapdragon 625-powered smartphone has a 12MP wide-angle lens with a respectable aperture value of f/1.7, and another sensor dedicated to more serious shots. The Sony IMX362 shoots with 1.4 micron pixels, which are larger than what many smartphones can capture. According to Asus, this feature will reduce the graininess in photos and make it more adept in low-light environments.

Some other highlights include it running on Android Nougat software, 4K video recording, RAW file support for greater post-processing flexibility, and a 13MP front-facing camera for better-than-average selfie. Lastly, the phone boasts a robust manual mode that lets users tweak every last setting, much like the one we enjoyed in the Zoom 2.

It packs in a few other notable features, too, like its AMOLED screen, and large 5,000mAh battery. Fit inside of its 0.9mm-thin chassis, Asus boasts that it can last up to 40 days in standby mode, which is a long time to not be using the phone.

The Asus ZenFone Zoom 3 is set to release next month, and the price and availability details should be released soon. 

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