Asus has abandoned its square smartwatch roots for the ZenWatch 3, the latest addition to the Android Wear family – which was officially announced in Berlin at IFA 2016.
Initially Asus said the smartwatch would cost €229 and now we know that the US price will be $229 (nothing for the UK yet) and it will go on sale in early November.
With a much bigger emphasis on design, Asus is hoping it can give the likes of Motorola, LG and Huawei a run for their money in the looks department by offering a circular watch fashioned from jewellery-grade 316 stainless steel and a diamond cut bezel. Those improved looks extend to the straps as well with the watch set to be available with an Italian leather or high quality rubber band in dark brown or beige shades.
Less than 10mm thick, the Zenwatch 3 comes in multiple styles too including rose gold, gunmetal and silver. So clearly some inspiration taken from the Apple look book here. It’s also IP67 water resistant, matching the ZenWatch 2 for its ability to be dunked into water without harm.
That circular display measures in at 1.39-inches, making it slightly smaller than screen on the Huawei Watch. The 400 x 400 resolution on the AMOLED display should mean a considerable bump up in sharpness in comparison to its predecessor as well.
On the software front, it’s running on Android Wear of course but not the delayed Wear 2.0 just yet. It’s powered by a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor along with 512MB of RAM, which is also joined by 4GB of onboard storage. Asus has included six different watch themes and 50 exclusive designer watch faces that support customisable widgets. It’s also including a FaceDesigner app letting you create your own watch faces if you don’t fancy what it’s served up.
Asus claims this is the first Android Wear watch to include three physical buttons although we know the Casio WSD-F10 Outdoor Smartwatch does already offer that as well. Here it’ll let you have greater control and create a more traditional watch feel when you’re interacting with the smartwatch. The top button for instance can now be assigned to quickly open one of your favourite apps.
All of your notifications are controlled from the ZenWatch Manager smartphone app, while a new ZenFit fitness tracking platform will record all of your workouts including running. Asus claims it has achieved an industry standard 95% accuracy in activity tracking, but we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve had a closer look.
In terms of battery life, you can expect to get two days from the 341mAh pack, which is the current norm for Wear watches right now. There is a new Hyper Charge Technology feature that promises to charge the battery to 60% in just 15 minutes. The watch is also bundled with a portable magnetic charger that clips onto the back of the ZenWatch 3 and can give you an additional 40% of battery life.
The new ZenWatch sounds like Asus is taking this smartwatch business serious this time. Check out our Asus ZenWatch 3 hands on to see what we made of it up close and look out for the full review coming soon.