ASUS ZenFone AR Review: World's First Google Tango And Daydream VR Equipped Smartphone

ASUS ZenFone AR Gaming And Graphics Performance

Next we'll test the ZenFone AR with GFXBench, which has been one of our standard mobile graphics performance benchmarks for quite a while now. In order to ensure display refresh (v-sync) and resolution are not limiting factors, we are comparing Offscreen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads and we're specifically testing GLES 2.0 and 3.0 rendering performance in the following two benchmark modules. 

3D Graphics Benchmarks: 3DMark & GFX Bench
Pushing The Pixels
ASUS ZenFone AR T-Rex Offscreen

ASUS ZenFone AR Manhattan Offscreen

As is becoming a theme, the ZenFone AR gave up ground to top-tier smartphones from the competition, though it did manage to slip ahead of the Huawei Mate 9 in GFXBench's T-Rex (offscreen) test. The Adreno 530 GPU that is part of the Snapdragon 821 package is still a fast chip, which is important since this phone is heavily focused on AR and VR experiences.

We also ran with Futuremark's 3DMark benchmark, which has been a staple 3D graphics benchmark at HotHardware across all mobile and desktop platforms for many years. In this case we were running 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, which is targeted for mobile devices and also runs at 720p in offscreen mode, so as to take display resolution out of the equation. This test and its 3D graphics engine is also based on the Open GL ES 2.0 API. 

ASUS ZenFone AR 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

ASUS ZenFone AR 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited FPS

The ZenFone AR's graphics performance does not look quite as impressive in Futuremark's 3D benchmarks, at least against the top shelf competition. If evaluating the ZenFone AR in a vacuum, however, there is plenty of graphics horsepower here, with the ZenFore AR pulling triple-digit framerates in the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

3DMark Sling Shot Test
Futuremark 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

3DMark Sling Shot is a new benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite, so again we have fewer results in our database to share, though we do have a few top-shelf Android phones, the iPhone 7 and Samsung's previous-gen Galaxy S7 in the mix. Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based test that employs some advanced rendering techniques like volumetric lighting and particle illumination. In this test we again run the Offscreen mode, so as to remove display resolution differences from the equation and thus can compare cross-platform results more reliably.
ASUS ZenFone AR Slingshot Extreme

Another benchmark that tells a now familiar story. Interestingly, the graphics performance of the ZenFone AR is a couple hundred points lower than the iPhone 7, but the physics score is more than double, resulting in an overall score that is higher by a couple hundred points as well.

Now let's have a look at battery life...

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