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Asus ZenFone 6 Goes on Sale for $500

Aug 5, 2019, 2:07 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus announced that the ZenFone 6 is now on sale from retailers including Amazon and B&H. The flagship phone offers a unique rotating camera, Snapdragon 855 processor, and large 5,000 mAh battery for $499.99.


Hands On with the Asus ROG Phone II

Jul 22, 2019, 3:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Asus ROG Phone II is a beast of phone, and that's absolutely by design. Asus took its gaming-optimized ROG Phone and turbocharged everything, from the 6.6-inch 120 Hz AMOLED display to the huge 6,000 mAh battery. It has top specs and numerous optimizations to ensure peak gaming performance, as well as many thoughtful extras inside and out to optimize it for using in landscape orientation. If you want the very best gaming phone, Asus has a serious contender here. How does it stack up? We check it out in this hands-on.

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Asus ROG Phone II Maxes Out the Specs

Jul 22, 2019, 3:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The new Asus ROG Phone II builds on the basic design of the original but improves on it in almost every way, offering a larger screen, larger battery, improved software, and faster refresh and response times in every area. Designed for gaming, it includes an extra USB-C port as well as extra antennas and microphones to optimize performance in landscape orientation. The full-HD AMOLED screen has been stretched to 6.6 inches and sports 120 Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, 240 Hz touch sampling, HDR, and Gorilla Glass 6. The battery is 6,000 mAh and supports fast charging via Quick Charge 4 as well as USB-PD. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset with 12 GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to 512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage. It also supports 802.11ad gigabit Wi-Fi using 60 GHz for wireless display. The shoulder buttons have improved latency, haptics, and ergonomic options. The cameras have been upgraded to the same 48-megapixel + 13-megapixel wide cameras found in the new ZenFone 6. It also has an in-display fingerprint reader, front-firing stereo speakers, and NFC. Like the original ROG Phone, it has an elaborate cooling system to prevent processor throttling, and a new cooling accessory with a fan is 4x quieter than the original, and adds an extra 3.5mm jack for landscape use. Other optional accessories include gamepad controls that can be attached to the sides or used wirelessly, and a second-display accessory. The software includes multiple optimizations for gaming, including per-game options. Users can choose between an Asus interface theme or stock Google Android. The phone will launch in western markets starting September 4th. Pricing has yet to be announced.


Asus ROG Phone II First to use Snapdragon 855 Plus

Jul 15, 2019, 9:02 AM   by Rich Brome

In the coming weeks Asus will announce the ROG Phone II, a new high-end gaming phone. Asus has revealed one detail is advance: it will use the just-announced, top-end Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset from Qualcomm.


Snapdragon 855 Plus Brings More Power to Gaming Phones

Jul 15, 2019, 6:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 855 Plus, a higher-performance version of the company's flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset for phones. With a more powerful CPU and GPU, it's designed for high-end gaming phones coming out later this year. The 855 Plus is based on the same Kryo 485 CPU and Adreno 640 GPU as the standard 855, but the CPU top clock speed has been boosted from 2.84 GHz to 2.96 GHz, and the GPU offers "a 15% increase". The chipset is paired with a suite of gaming-oriented software features to make the "Snapdragon Elite Gaming Experience". The software suite includes Game Jank Reducer, Game Fast Loader, Game Anti- Cheat Extensions, and more.


Hands On with the Asus ZenFone 6

May 29, 2019, 3:12 PM   by Rich Brome   updated May 29, 2019, 9:58 PM

The ZenFone 6 is the latest flagship phone from Asus. As such, it includes the expected amenities like a top-end Snapdragon 855 chip and an edge-to-edge screen, in a premium metal-and-glass design. Where the ZenFone 6 stands out are its unique motorized camera design, and its massive 5,000 mAh battery. The camera design makes it the ultimate selfie phone, plus is does all sorts of neat tricks, using its motor to automate panoramas and motion tracking. You can even control the angle manually. What's it like in person? How do those features work? Is it durable enough? We put it the test.

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Asus ZenFone 6 Sports Motorized Camera, Top Specs

May 16, 2019, 5:43 PM   by Rich Brome

The Asus ZenFone 6 is the company's new flagship phone, sporting a 6.4-inch, full-HD display that covers the front without a notch, thanks to a motorized dual-camera module that flips up from the back to double as a selfie camera. The camera motor can also be used to track subjects while shooting video or automate a panorama, and the camera angle can be controlled manually. The camera contains a 48-megapixel Sony main sensor with laser focusing, plus a 13-megapixel wide-angle (125º) camera. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with up to 8 GB of RAM. It contains a huge 5,000 mAh battery. The phone also sports NFC, rear fingerprint sensor, memory card slot, and stereo speakers. A version will be compatible with US networks. The pricing will start at $560.


Asus CEO Departs Amid Internal Reorganization

Dec 13, 2018, 1:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today said its CEO, Jerry Shen, plans to vacate his leadership role after a tenure of 11 years. Shen has been in various roles with Asus for more than 25 years, and oversaw the company's PC and phone businesses. Asus is adjusting its strategy moving forward and will target gamers and power users. The company's latest, the ROG Phone, is a high-end offering for the gaming market. Shen is headed to a startup called iFast where he will serve as chairman and CEO. Asus plans to adopt a co-CEO structure with responsibilities split between executives S.Y. Hsu and Samson Hu. The change goes into effect January 1, 2019.


Asus' ROG Phone Now Available for Preorder

Oct 19, 2018, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus has made its ROG gaming phone available to U.S. consumers. The device is available online from Asus, Amazon, and Microsoft. The 128 GB version costs $899 and the 512 GB version costs $1,099. The company says the phone will start to ship during the last week of October. The ROG Phone has a Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel in order to control thermals. The device includes a 6-inch, full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a discrete imaging chip for HDR playback. Other features include 24-bit stereo speakers, DTS Headphone with 7.1 virtual surround, a 4,000mAh battery, and a 12-megapixel camera. Asus will make a number of accessories available for the phone, including a dock, case, and game controller, later this year.


Fortnite for Android No Longer Requires An Invitation

Oct 11, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Epic Games today made its popular Fortnite game available without an invitation. The app has been available in beta since August, though an invite was required for access. Epic Games has dropped the need for an invitation and most anyone can download the game. Fortnite is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, people interested in the game will need to go to Epic's web site to download an installer. The installer then puts the game on the phone. The game started as an exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and was later discovered to have a major security flaw in the installer (since patched). Fortnite is best played on high-end devices that have Android 8 Oreo installed. Some compatible phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, and S9 series; all Google Pixel phones; the LG G5, G6, G7, V20, and V30; the Asus ROG Phone and 5Z; the Essential Phone; the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, Honor 10, and Honor Play; the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6; the HTC 10, U Ultra, U11+, U12+; the Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ2, and XZ3 series; as well as a handful of others from Xiaomi, ZTE, Nokia, and Lenovo.


Asus Confirms Plans to Sell ROG Phone In the US for $899

Oct 10, 2018, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus says U.S. consumers will be able to pre-order the ROG phone starting October 18. The device will cost $899 for the 128 GB version and $1,099 for the 512 GB version. Asus also announced pricing details for the ROG Phone's myriad accessories. The Mobile Desk Dock will cost $230, the TwinView Dock will cost $400, the Gamevice Controller will cost $90, the Professional Dock will cost $330, and the ROG Phone Case will cost $60. Asus is giving fans of ROG a chance to score a free case. The first 50 people who pre-order the phone from Amazon or Microsoft will earn a free case, as will the first 25 people who pre-order the phone from Asus. The ROG Phone is a dedicated gaming device. It has an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel in order to control thermals. The ROG has a 6-inch, full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a discrete imaging chip for HDR playback. Other features include 24-bit stereo speakers, DTS Headphone with 7.1 virtual surround, a 4,000mAh battery, and a 12-megapixel camera. People will be able to see the phone at a public launch event to be held October 18 in New York City. Asus said the accessories will ship later in the fourth quarter, but didn't say when the ROG Phone itself will reach consumers.


Asus Implies It Might Sell the ROG Phone in the US

Oct 5, 2018, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus North America published a teaser on its twitter account this week that strongly suggests its flagship gaming phone will be sold in the U.S. The tweet contains a darkened image with what looks like the ROG phone in the background. It reads "Coming to New York" on October 18. Asus has yet to formally schedule a press event for that date. The ROG phone is a dedicated gaming device. It has an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel in order to control thermals. The ROG has a 6-inch, full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a discrete imaging chip for HDR playback. Other features include 24-bit stereo speakers, DTS Headphone with 7.1 virtual surround, a 4,000mAh battery, 12-megapixel camera, and support for a range of snap-on accessories. The phone is priced at over $1000 in other markets.


Asus Debuts the ZenFone Live L1 with Android Go

Aug 6, 2018, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus recently revealed the ZenFone Live L1, a Best Buy exclusive that runs Google's Android Go platform. Android 8 Oreo Go is a pared-down version of Android that's able to run on devices with limited memory. The Live L1 features a 5.5-inch LCD screen with HD+ resolution at an 18:9 aspect ratio. The phone is powered by a 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 425 processor, which is paired with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The Live L1 supports memory cards up to 1 TB. The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor, while the selfie camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Other features include a 3,000mAh battery, Bluetooth, WiFi, FM radio, and microUSB. The phone accommodates up to two SIM cards and functions on GSM/LTE networks such as those operated by AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. Best Buy is selling the Asus ZenFone Live L1 unlocked for $109.99.


Hands On with the Asus ROG Phone

Jun 22, 2018, 3:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus' dedicated gaming phone in a beast of a device. The ROG Phone has an overclocked processor, a fast display, and a bevy of accessories meant to help it out-game the competition. Did we mention the AeroActive Cooler snap-on cooling fan? We spent some time with the ROG Phone and these are our first impressions.

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Asus ZenFone 5Q Hits US Retail Today

Jun 11, 2018, 1:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today revealed that its ZenFone 5Q phone, first announced in February, is now available for sale in the U.S. The ZenFone 5Q has 2.5D curved class on the front and rear with a plastic frame in between. It boasts a 6-inch full HD+ 18:9 display. The Zenfone 5Q has four cameras, with an ultra-wide, 120-degree lens on each side. The main sensor on the rear captures 16-megapixel images, while the selfie camera has a Sony 20-megapixel sensor. The 5Q features a number of shooting modes, including portrait/bokeh. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor and comes with 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage. The phone ships with a 3,300mAh battery. Other features include NFC, dual SIM, face unlock, Bluetooth 4.1, dual-band wifi, fingerprint reader, speaker, and microUSB. Asus didn't spell out which LTE bands are supported but says the phone is compatible with AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. The phone runs Android 8 Oreo with Asus ZenUI 5.0. Asus says the ZenFone 5Q in midnight black is immediately available from Abt, Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, and Newegg for $299, while the moonlight white variant is available from Amazon, B&H, and Newegg for the same price.


Asus' ROG Smartphone Has Specially Tuned Snapdragon 845 for Blistering Game Performance

Jun 4, 2018, 7:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today announced the ROG Phone, a device meant specifically for games and gamers. Asus created the phone from the ground up with gaming in mind and made a number of choices to ensure the phone delivers. To start, Asus worked with Qualcomm on a custom version of the Snapdragon 845 that handles clock speeds up to 2.96 GHz. The processor also ups the minimum clock speed to keep games running smoothly. The 845 is paired with 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and an Adreno 630 GPU. In order to accommodate the heat generated by this processing power, Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel on the rear. The AMOLED display measures 6 inches with full HD+ resolution at 90 Hz for quicker refreshing during games. Asus says the screen has 108.6% DCI-P3 color gamut and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio for deep blacks. It includes a discrete imaging processing chip to support HDR playback. In other to deliver high-quality sound during games, the ROG features dual front-facing stereo speakers with 24-bit high-resolution audio at 192 KHz. It supports DTS Headphone and 7.1 virtual surround sound, in addition to Bluetooth aptX HD. Asus developed what it calls "air triggers" at the corners of the phone, which are pressure sensors in the frame to accommodate gaming actions. The ROG packs a large 4,000mAh battery with rapid recharging. The ROG includes a 12-megapixel standard-angle camera and an 8-megapixel wide-range camera on the back, with an 8-megapixel camera on the front. The ROG phone supports a number of accessories, including the AeroActive Cooler, a snap-on fan that cools the phone while also providing landscape access to the USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack during gaming. This accessory boosts battery recharge times thanks to support for 20W charging. Other accessories including a full hand-held gaming rig and a PC dock. The Asus ROG Phone will go on sale during the third quarter. Pricing wasn't announced.


Google to Bake Google Lens Directly Into Its Camera App

May 8, 2018, 1:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 8, 2018, 1:53 PM

Google today made several changes to its Google Lens visual search tool. First and foremost, it is adding Google Lens directly to the camera app of Pixel phones. Several other phone makers, including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Xiaomi, Asus, and Sony, will add Lens to their camera apps in the near future. With Lens, Google is relying on machine learning to help power Google searches based on what the camera sees. Google is baking more searching and shopping tools to Lens, making it easy for people to discover where they can buy items such as clothing with a function called Style Match. A feature called real-time results provides instant search results as people move their camera over items. It scans text, images, and other data points to search things such as concert posters, books, and such. The results offer links to more information, videos, images, as well as the ability to make purchases. Google says this update will reach Google Lens on the Pixel in the next few weeks. Google's partner OEMs have not specified exactly when they'll update their own camera apps with Lens.


Hands On with the Asus Zenfone 5Q

Feb 27, 2018, 4:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 28, 2018, 2:54 AM

Asus has a "lite" version of its flagship prepped for a March release. It will be called the Zenfone 5Q in the US. This phone isn't quite like the more high-end Zenfone 5. Instead, the Zenfone 5 Lite offers middling specs in a middling piece of hardware. It is unique in that it has four cameras, so that's something. Here are our first impressions.

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Hands On with the Asus Zenfone 5 / 5z

Feb 27, 2018, 4:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 28, 2018, 2:55 AM

Asus today announced the Zenfone 5, its flagship handset for the year. The Zenfone 5 takes a lot of cues from some well-known competing devices complete with a notch in the display. The 5z is a version in the same exact body with upgraded internal specs. It's a premium device thanks to glass surfaces, metal frame, and high-quality cameras. Here are our first impressions.

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Asus Shows Off the Zenfone 5 Series

Feb 27, 2018, 2:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 28, 2018, 3:03 AM

Asus today revealed its new flagship series handsets, the Zenfone 5, Zenfone 5 Lite, and Zenfone 5z. All three phone run Android 8 Oreo with the new ZenUI 5.0

  • Zenfone 5 Lite / 5Q:Called the Zenfone 5Q in the US, this low end of the series has 2.5D curved class on the front and rear with a plastic frame in between. It boasts a 6-inch full HD+ 18:9 display. The Zenfone 5Q has four cameras, with an ultra-wide, 120-degree lens on each side. The main sensor on the rear captures 16-megapixel images, while the selfie camera has a Sony 20-megapixel sensor. It features a number of shooting modes, including portrait/bokeh. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor and will come with in 3 GB / 32 GB and 4 GB / 64 GB configurations. The phone ships with a 3,300mAh battery. Other features include NFC, dual SIM, face unlock, speaker, and microUSB.
  • Zenfone 5: The middle of the pack is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor with 6 GB of RAM. It features a massive 6.2-inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. It can automatically adjust the color temperature to suit its surroundings. The display features a notch, similar to the iPhone X, where it holds an array of sensors and more. Asus shrunk the size of the status bar icons to ensure they fit. Tapping them will drop the notifications down so they are all visible. The camera includes OIS and an aperture of f/1.8 for the 12-megapixel main camera, which has a Sony IMX363 sensor. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. The camera relies on AI-assisted scene detection to adjust for the subject. The company uses AI to improve the efficiency of the 3,300mAh battery, particularly when it is not being used. The phone includes stereo speakers and noise-cancelling microphones, DTS, and aptX. It will come with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It supports dual SIMs and expandable memory cards.
  • Zenfone 5z: The star of the series is the Zenfone 5z. It shares nearly all features with the Zenfone 5 — including an identical body externally — but it upgrades to the Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm. Options will include 4, 6, or 8 GB of RAM and 64, 128, or 256 GB of storage.
The Zenfone 5 Lite will go on sale in March, the Zenfone 5 will go on sale in April, and the Zenfone 5z will go on sale in June. The 5z starts at 479 Euro. Pricing for the 5 Lite and the 5 were not shared.


Google's ARCore 1.0 Released to Public, Google Lens Hits More Handsets

Feb 23, 2018, 11:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made ARCore 1.0 available to developers and the public, bringing augmented reality to some 100 million smartphones around the world. Handsets compatible with ARCore include Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7, and S7 edge; LGE’s V30 and V30+; Asus’s Zenfone AR; and OnePlus’s OnePlus 5. More devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Asus, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo will be compatible with ARCore later this year. The 1.0 release gives developers an updated set of tools to create virtual content. For example, it features improved environmental understanding that lets people put virtual objects on surfaces like posters, furniture, toy boxes, books, cans, and more. The refreshed Android Studio Beta supports ARCore in the Emulator, so developers can get to work right away. Some of the first brands to offer ARCore content include Porsche, FC Barcelona, and Sotheby's. Google says it is expanding the availability of the Google Lens Preview, which lets you take a picture and gather information about what's in the image. Google says Lens will hit all Google Photos English-language users over the coming weeks. Further, Google is going to add Google Lens to its Google Assistant on select Android flagship devices. Lens lets people create contacts from business cards, recognize plants and animals, and add events to their calendar by taking photos.


Qualcomm Reveals Artificial Intelligence Engine for Devs

Feb 21, 2018, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine, a package of hardware and software components meant to help developers bring AI-assisted apps and services to Qualcomm-powered handsets. The AI Engine is supported on the Snapdragon 845, 835, 820, and 660 mobile platforms, though it shines brightest on the 845, which has its own AI processing built in. The AI Engine relies on three core hardware components: the Hexagon Vector Processor, the Adreno GPU, and the Kryo CPU. On the software side, Qualcomm's AI Engine runs on the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine, software that was created so developers can target the exact core they want powering their apps. The NPE supports Tensorflow, Caffe and Caffe2, and the Open Neural Network Exchange for developers. The AI Engine supports the Android Neural Networks API, which is baked into Android 8 Oreo, and gives developers access to Snapdragon hardware directly through the Android operating system. Last, the AI Engine banks on the Hexagon Neural Network Library so developers can run AI algorithms directly on the Hexagon Vector Processor. This powers machine learning and accelerates AI operations. Qualcomm says the sum of all these parts is real-time responsiveness, improved privacy, and enhanced reliability on the supported Snapdragon mobile platforms. Phone companies including Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo, Oppo, Motorola, Asus, ZTE, Nubia, Smartisan, and Blackshark were among the first to commit to using the AI Engine on future handsets. Qualcomm will be demonstrating the technology at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress trade show.


Hands On with the Asus ZenFone Max Plus (M1)

Jan 9, 2018, 10:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 21, 2018, 9:52 PM

Asus is back with another smartphone for the U.S. market. The ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is an entry-level device that offers dual cameras, a large battery, and stock Android. Here is our first look at this low-cost smartphone.

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Asus ZenFone Max Plus (M1) Touts Dual Cameras, Hits U.S. Next Month

Jan 8, 2018, 10:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today announced the ZenFone Max Plus (M1), a new Android handset that goes big. The phone has a metal exterior and 2.5D curved glass on front to help give it a modern look. The phone includes a 5.7-inch screen at 720p resolution and it is powered by an octa-core processor with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The phone adopts two cameras on the rear, one standard view and the other wide angle. The main sensor captures 16-megapixel images and can take advantage of PDAF, HDR, and an LED flash. The secondary sensor captures 8-megapixel images at 120-degrees wide. The front camera is either 8 megapixels or 16 megapixels, depending on the market. It comes with Asus' beautification software tools. Asus stuffed a 4,130mAh battery into the chassis, which provides long battery life. Other features include a fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and an FM radio. It runs Android 7 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0 on top. The phone supports LTE Bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17, 28, which gives it basic support for U.S. networks. Asus said the phone will be sold in the U.S., though it didn't say if that would be direct to consumers or via carrier. (Verizon sells the ZenFone V Live.) The ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is priced at $229.


Google to Kill Off Project Tango in Favor of ARCore

Dec 15, 2017, 3:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it has decided to wind down Project Tango, its ambitious augmented reality platform that used on-device cameras and sensors to blend reality with computer-generated content. "As we focus on bringing augmented reality to the entire Android ecosystem with ARCore, we’re turning down support of Tango," said Google. The company will officially cease to support Project Tango on March 1, 2018. The company worked with several hardware partners to create Project Tango handsets, which were laden with special equipment to make the platform work. The most recent such device was the Asus ZenFone AR, sold by Verizon Wireless. Moving forward, Google will push its ARCore platform as a means for generating and consuming augmented reality content on Android handsets. To that end, Google today released ARCore Developer Preview 2, an update to its augmented reality toolset for app writers. "We've taken everything we learned from [Project Tango] to build ARCore. Whereas Tango required special hardware, ARCore is a fast, performant, Android-scale SDK that enables high-quality augmented reality across millions of qualified mobile devices." The updated ARCore Developer Preview includes a new C API for use with the Android NDK. Google says this dovetails nicely with its existing Java, Unity, and Unreal SDKs. Another addition is the ability for AR apps to pause and resume without losing their spot in order to allow people to perform actions such as answering calls. Last, the new developer preview improves accuracy and runtime efficiency. Developers interested in the new ARCore Developer Preview can find it through Google's developer web site. Google says it expects ARCore-based apps will reach the Play Store before too long.


Asus ZenFone V Live Lets You Livestream Zit-Free Video

Nov 16, 2017, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless and Asus today announced the ZenFone V Live, a social media-focused handset that includes a real-time blemish remover. With the ZenFone V Live, people can take advantage of the selfie camera's beautification options to soften complexions and remove skin blemishes when livestreaming to Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. (Such effects are typically applied to still images after the fact.) Otherwise, the ZenFone V Live is a mid-range handset with curved glass and a metal body design. It has a 5-inch 720p HD display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor with 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of storage. The 13-megapixel camera includes features such as panorama, slow-motion, time-lapse, and bokeh modes with boosted low-light performance. Additional features include a fingerprint reader, 3,000mAh battery, USB-C, and support for microSD memory cards. It runs Android 7 Nougat. Verizon is selling the Asus Zenfone V Live beginning today for $168, or $7 per month for 24 months.


Hands On with Asus ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 4 Pro

Nov 8, 2017, 12:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus' mid-range ZenFone 4 and high-end ZenFone 4 Pro may look alike, but they differ quite a bit under the hood. Where the former is an affordable handset, the latter is closer in price to today's flagships. If you're looking for a finer Android phone from Asus, the ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 4 Pro are where you should start. Here are our initial thoughts.

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Hands On with Asus ZenFone 4 Max 5.2 and Max 5.5

Nov 8, 2017, 10:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Asus ZenFone 4 Max series includes two budget-focused Android handsets. The two phones share most design characteristics and many specs, with the screens (5.2 inches and 5.5 inches) serving as the biggest differentiator. These unlocked devices are available online if you're looking for an affordable alternative to today's carrier fare. Here are our first impressions.

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Asus Brings ZenFone 4 Lineup to U.S.

Sep 22, 2017, 3:48 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus recently announced plans to bring its ZenFone 4 series of phones to the U.S. unlocked market this year. The lineup includes the flagship ZenFone 4 Pro, the mid-range ZenFone 4, and two versions of the ZenFone 4 Max, both of which have large batteries but otherwise lower-end specs. The ZenFone 4 Max 5.5" is available now, while the rest will go on sale in the coming months. All have basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile LTE networks, including bands 2, 4, 5, and 12.

  • ZenFone 4 Max 5.2": Has a 4,100 mAh battery, 5.2-inch HD LCD display, Snapdragon 425 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. Also includes a fingerprint reader, memory card slot, 13 megapixel camera, 5-megapixel wide-angle camera, and 8-megapixel front camera.
  • ZenFone 4 Max 5.5": Has a 5,000 mAh battery, 5.5-inch HD LCD display, Snapdragon 430 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a metal body. Other features are the same as the 5.2" version. (shown)
  • ZenFone 4: Has a 3,300 mAh battery, 5.5-inch Full-HD LCD display, Snapdragon 630 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and a glass back. It also sports NFC, USB-C, Cat. 12 LTE, and a better main camera with OIS and 4K video recording. Like the rest of the series, it has dual rear cameras and the touch screen works through gloves.
  • ZenFone 4 Pro: A flagship-class phone with all of the features of the ZenFone 4, plus a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6 GB of RAM, an AMOLED screen, 3,600 mAh battery, fast charging, auto-focus front camera, 16-megapixel telephoto camera (instead of a wide-angle camera), laser focusing, and better support for AT&T's LTE network with bands 29 and 30.


Asus Reveals the ZenFone V for Verizon

Sep 18, 2017, 9:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus recently unwrapped the ZenFone V, an Android smartphone that's exclusive to Verizon Wireless. The ZenFone V features a metal chassis with 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass on the front. The handset sports a 5.2-inch AMOLED display with full HD resolution. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor, Qualcomm's 2016 flagship chip, with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The main camera has a 23-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization, dual-LED flash, an aperture of f/2.0, and phase detection autofocus. The front camera boast an 8-megapixel sensor with a GIF maker and aperture of f/2.0. Other features include a 3,000mAh battery with rapid charging, high-resolution audio, fingerprint reader, and USB-C. The phone runs Android 7 Nougat with Asus' ZenUI, and it comes in black. Pricing and availability have not yet been disclosed.


Decorating with the Asus ZenFone AR

Aug 15, 2017, 2:24 PM   by Rich Brome

The Asus ZenFone AR for Verizon is the first phone in the U.S. to support Google Tango, the advanced AR (augmented reality) platform for Android. It supports a small variety of apps so far. The most useful so far are online shopping apps that display virtual items for sale (such as furniture, decorations, fixtures, and appliances) in the room you're currently it. We take it for a spin by decorating a dingy subway station. Check out the full video to see Tango in action.

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Hands On wth the Asus ZenFone AR

Aug 3, 2017, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

You can finally get a phone with Google's "Tango" AR technology in the US. The Asus ZenFone AR goes on sale with Verizon today. With support for Tango apps, it can scan the room and show you life-size, realistic virtual objects placed in the room in real time. It's also a powerful high-end phone with decent specs, especially in the camera department. What's it it like? We checked it out in person and have first impressions to share.

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Project Tango Asus ZenFone AR Hits Verizon Stores Today

Aug 3, 2017, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Asus ZenFone AR is available to U.S. consumers today from Verizon Wireless. The phone, initially announced in January, is the first to support both Google's Project Tango augmented reality platform and Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. Triple cameras on the back support Tango applications with a 23-megapixel main camera, depth camera, and motion tracking camera. Asus says its PixelMaster 3.0 camera system uses Sony IMX318 sensors with a TriTech autofocus system. It includes 4-axis optical image stabilization for photos and 3-axis electronic stabilization for videos. Additional camera tools include low-light shooting, optimized presets, manual controls, and 4K video capture. Multiple microphones capture Hi-Res Audio and DTS virtual surround sound. The phone sports a 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and a vapor cooling system. Other features include NFC, memory card slot, USB-C port, 3.5mm audio jack, and Cat 12 LTE. The 3,300 mAh battery supports Quick Charge 3.0. Verizon is selling the phone for $648, or $27 per month for 24 months on an installment plan. The phone will include the Wayfair augmented reality shopping application, which lets ZenFone AR owners add furniture and other items to their home virtually to see how it will look before making a purchase. People who order the phone from Verizon will be rewarded with a $25 Wayfair gift card. Asus is also selling unlocked versions of the phone directly to consumers with different RAM / storage combinations. The 6 GB / 64 GB model costs $599, while the 8 GB / 128 GB model costs $699.


Verizon to Sell Asus' ZenFone AR Project Tango Phone

May 18, 2017, 12:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 18, 2017, 12:53 PM

Verizon Wireless will be the first U.S. carrier to offer a Project Tango smartphone to its customers. The forthcoming Asus ZenFone AR will arrive later this summer, according to Google executive Johnny Lee. The ZenFone AR is significantly smaller than the first Project Tango handset, which was the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. The ZenFone AR will also be compatible with Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. Asus first announced the ZenFone AR in January. It sports a 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a vapor cooling system. Triple cameras on the back support Tango applications with a 23-megapixel main camera, depth camera, and motion tracking camera. Other features include NFC, memory card slot, USB-C port, 3.5mm audio jack, and Cat 12 LTE. The 3,300 mAh battery supports Quick Charge 3.0. The exact availability is not yet known.


Google Updates Daydream to Version 2.0 Euphrates

May 18, 2017, 11:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 18, 2017, 12:20 PM

Google today provided some insight on its Daydream virtual reality platform and says a new version of Daydream will soon make its debut. Daydream 2.0 Euphrates targets standalone VR headsets and is powered by Android O. The entire experience is handled in virtual reality. Daydream 2.0 updates the home experience for standalone headsets and smartphones. Euphrates includes a new dashboard that will appear on top of any app and lets people remain in VR even when checking settings, reading notifications, and multitasking. Euphrates also adds Google Cast support, allowing people to pick a destination and cast from Daydream to other devices such as television sets. Daydream 2.0 makes it possible to capture screenshots and then share them via social networks. Google said there are eight Daydream compatible handsets right now, and it expects that number to increase significantly by the end of the year thanks to new entries from LG, Motorola, Asus, and others. Google believes tens of millions of Daydream devices will be in the market by the end of the year.


Project Tango Adds Indoor Positioning Tool

May 17, 2017, 1:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Project Tango, Google's augmented reality platform, gains a new virtual position system that can locate phones indoors. Google envisions it as a helpful tool in retail and similar environments, helping people navigate stores to find items. For example, Google is working with Lowe's stores as well as a handful of museums to bring VPS to real-world locations. Google thinks it might be particularly helpful for the visually impaired. Further, Google says a new Project Tango augmented reality handset from Asus will debut later this year. Asus didn't provide details about the new handset, which is called the ZenFone AR.


Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom Goes On Sale for $329

May 9, 2017, 3:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today made the ZenFone 3 Zoom available from its web site for $329. The phone was first announced in January. The device relies on two cameras much like the iPhone 7 Plus to create a zooming effect. Both the standard and 25mm and 59mm lenses have 12-megapixel Sony IMX362 sensors. The main lens has an aperture of f/1.7. Other camera features include portrait mode, OIS, laser focusing, PDAF, RAW support, and a dedicated color sensor for improved white balance. The phone's user-facing camera has a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 sensor with a 140-degree panorama mode. The 3 Zoom includes a 5,000 mAh battery that can be used to charge other devices via USB-C. Specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 5.5-in full-HD display with Gorilla Glass 5, fingerprint sensor, memory card slot, and 3.5mm audio jack. It ships with Android 6 Marshmallow, but Asus indicated that Android 7 will reach the phone via update soon. The ZenFone 3 Zoom supports GSM/LTE networks, including AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. The phone is sold unlocked.


Asus Announces ZenFone 3 Zoom with Dual Cameras, Huge Battery

Jan 4, 2017, 4:49 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus today announced the ZenFone 3 Zoom, a new "optical zoom" phone that uses two cameras, much like the iPhone 7 Plus. Both the standard and 2.3x zoom cameras are 12-megapixel. It can also do a portrait mode with depth effect, and the main lens has f/1.7 aperture. Other camera features include OIS, laser focusing, RAW support, and a dedicated color sensor for improved white balance. It includes an extra-large 5,000 mAh battery that can be used to charge other devices via the USB-C connector. Specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 5.5-in full-HD display, fingerprint sensor, memory card slot, and 3.5mm audio jack. Its US version will include LTE band 17 to support AT&T's network.


Asus ZenFone AR Combines Tango, Daydream, 8 GB RAM

Jan 4, 2017, 4:49 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus today announced the ZenFone AR, the first phone to support both Project Tango AR and Daydream VR from Google. This large phone sports a 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, an unprecedented 8 GB of RAM, and an advanced vapor cooling system. Triple cameras on the back support Tango applications with a 23-megapixel main camera, depth camera, and motion tracking camera. Other features include NFC, memory card slot, USB-C port, 3.5mm audio jack, and Cat 12 LTE. The 3,300 mAh battery supports Quick Charge 3.0. It will also run Android 7.0 Nougat and be available in Q2. The company did not announce which LTE bands the phone will support. The Qualcomm chip is a departure for Asus, which was previously one of the few major manufacturers to use Intel chips.


Hands-On with Asus Zenfone 3 Series

Oct 6, 2016, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus is bringing its Zenfone 3 series of devices to the U.S. this month. This quartet of Android smartphones is attractive thanks to all-metal designs, good build quality, and solid specs. Asus is covering a broad range of price points by changing up the components within each phone, but all four share a commonality that makes them family through and through. Here are our first impressions of the Asus Zenfone 3.

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