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Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: Daydream VR phones compared

Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: We compare the new Zenfone AR from Asus with Google's mighty Pixel XL phone, to see which of these Daydream VR compatible mobiles is best for you.

At the very beginning of 2017, Asus launched its spangly new Zenfone AR smartphone. This premium Android handset packs some impressive top-end specs, but it's the AR and VR functionality that really makes it stand out from the crowd. In fact, this is one of just five phones that currently supports Google's Daydream VR platform, for enjoying exclusive virtual reality apps and games.

The 5.7-inch Zenfone AR is therefore a direct rival to the Google Pixel XL, another mighty mobile that boasts impressive performance and features, plus Daydream compatibility. So how does the Zenfone AR compare with the Google Pixel XL, and which is best for you? Here's our full Zenfone AR vs Pixel XL comparison review.

Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: Specs at a glance

Phone Asus Zenfone AR Google Pixel XL
Weight 170g 168g
Screen size and type 5.7-inches Super AMOLED 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 2560x1440 (Quad HD) 2560x1440 (Quad HD)
Water resistant? No No
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 821 Snapdragon 821
Memory 6 or 8GB 4GB
Storage 32 to 256GB 32 to 128GB
microSD? Yes, up to 2TB No
Battery 3300mAh 3450mAh
Rear camera 23-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel

Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: Design

The Zenfone AR and Pixel XL are both a bit on the big side, to say the least. The 5.7-inch Zenfone only just eclipses the 5.5-inch Pixel phone, and you'll certainly feel either handset when it's stashed in your shorts.

While the Pixel XL goes for a unique blend of metal and glass on its rear, the Zenfone AR shows off with a sexy leather finish. We like the styling of both blowers, but the Zenfone will feel nicer in your grip and also stick to your palm more effectively.

Neither the Zenfone AR nor the Pixel XL is water resistant.

Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: Performance, Daydream VR, augemented reality and gaming

Both phones pack the latest Snapdragon 821 processor, which can blaze through games and everything else you throw at it. That includes VR games thankfully, although we have noticed a couple of tiny stutters on the Pixel XL when playing demanding titles such as Layers of Fear Solitude. Hopefully the Zenfone AR will show no such performance drops, thanks to its extra 2-4GB of memory.

Read next: Best Daydream VR games right now

Still, both handsets pack a Quad HD screen, which gives you a nice crisp image even when using the phones for VR. And in both cases they're AMOLED panels, so you can enjoy vibrant, attractive visuals.

Asus' Zenfone AR goes a step beyond VR, thanks to its smart Tango tech for augmented reality applications. Tango uses the Zenfone's triple-lens camera, housed on the rear of the phone, to accurately map out your surroundings. This can then be used by AR apps and games, for example to add virtual information and characters to your environment.

Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: Other features

Both of these premium phones boast a massive battery (3300mAh for the Zenfone AR and 3450mAh for the Pixel XL), so you can play with VR apps for several hours before needing a recharge. They also pack plenty of storage space (if you opt for the more expensive models), although only the Zenfone AR supports microSD memory cards.

The Zenfone AR's 23-megapixel rear camera is supported by two extra lenses for depth perception and object tracking, although we're yet to see if this makes any difference to everyday photos. The Pixel XL meanwhile sports one of the best cameras we've used on a smartphone, taking good-looking shots in almost any conditions.

Both phones can record 4K video.

Asus Zenfone AR vs Google Pixel XL: Verdict

If you're a hardcore gamer looking for a serious VR fix then the Pixel XL and Zenfone AR are both definite contenders for your new mobile. The Pixel XL is undoubtedly brilliant but also bloody expensive, while we're yet to see what the Zenfone AR will cost when it hits the UK. Stay tuned for our full Zenfone AR review.

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