Google Tango is a powerful platform for augmented reality, but if you’ve never experienced AR before, you might not know where to start. Thankfully, the Tango app makes it easy to find new AR-compatible apps, ranging from games to stores and productivity tools.
During the phone’s initial setup, the ZenFone AR prompts you to experience Google Tango. After a bit of loading, Tango turns the room around you into a forest full of mythical wildlife. It’s not the most interactive demo, but you can at least pan around the room and look for the various creatures of the forest. It’s a short demo that lasts just long enough to pique your interest and make you want to search for other AR apps.
Slingshot Island comes preinstalled on the ZenFone AR, and serves as a light proof-of-concept game to show the capabilities of Tango. The game has similar mechanics to Angry Birds or Pokémon Go; you place a floating island somewhere in the room, and buildings and eggs appear that you’ll need to break with your slingshot in order to advance through levels. To fire the slingshot, you need to actually move the phone towards and away from the island, adding a feeling of depth to the game.
Outside of gaming and virtual experiences, Tango can be used for more practical applications like shopping. Certain stores, including Amazon and Wayfair, place televisions and furniture directly into your room that can be moved around, rotated, and explored in 3D. With measurements on display, these shopping apps can be a helpful tool to get an idea of what certain products would look like in your home. GAP’s Dressing Room app allows you to choose from a limited selection of outfits to place on a virtual mannequin in the room, which you can resize to see how the clothing fits on different body sizes.
The preinstalled Measure app allows you to measure objects in the real world with relative accuracy. You can change between metric and imperial units, and even measure between several points at a time. Though not as precise as a ruler or tape measurer, it’s a good tool to have for making quick approximations of distance.
Finally, if you’re feeling ritzy, BMW’s Visualization app allows to place a BMW i3 or i8 in your room or driveway. The app is extremely finicky, but you can customize the car’s paint job, wheels, and interior. You can also rotate the car, and even open its doors or turn on the headlights.