ASUS latest Android smartwatch is circular, the first for ASUS. As I wore it daily for review, it caught the attention of many people. The natural metal finishing with subtle gold bezel ring (inspired by annular solar eclipse) and durable beige leather strap is certainly eye-catching, while the 3 large buttons further makes the watch stand out. The watch feels lighter than it looks, at just 60 grams. It is also IP67 water resistant.
The icing on the cake has got to be the watch faces. When I reviewed the ZenWatch 2, I loved the design of the watch faces by ASUS, especially the digital ones. With the ZenWatch 3, the circular bezel presents the round face designs perfectly on its 1.39-inch 400 x 400 pixel, 286ppi AMOLED display.
Like all Android Wear, the ZenWatch 3 offers no surprises in terms of interactions. The 2 additional buttons are shortcut keys to open apps. The middle button, like all Android Wear, is a back button that returns you to the watch face.
There are only a handful of pre-installed apps to differentiate ZenWatch 3 from the other Android Wear watches. First, there are over 50 beautiful watch faces which can be customised with ASUS ZenWatch Manager (optional app). The watch faces look bright and clear even when the display changes to sleep mode. The ASUS ZenFit app keeps track of the steps activity, workout stats and sleep data. When you install the same-name app on the smartphone, the data will be synced to the phone for easier view,though it does not store on the cloud, hence changing devices will reset your data. The ECO Mode on the ZenWatch 3 will disable connectivity while leaving the watch face in power saving mode, effectively making the watch only for telling the time.
Other unique capabilities include built-in speaker and mic that supports voice calls and audio notifications, allowing you to answer calls and speak to the watch without reaching for the phone. The 340mAh battery gets charged 60% in just 15 minutes with HyperCharge technology, using proprietary magnetic charging cable. Typically, the smartwatch gets charged from 10% to 100% in about an hour.
3 major issues. First, the vibration motor is audibly loud but my wrist can barely feel the vibration, so I end up hearing my notifications than feeling. Second, the battery lasts just 24 hours under normal usage (with always-on display), which is rather disappointing given the ZenWatch 2 can make it about 2 days. However, ASUS offers an optional battery pack that attaches behind the watch to top 40%. Though honestly, 24-hour battery life isn’t that bad, as I just have to remember to charge every day at the same time.
Finally, the watch does not accept standard straps unlike ZenWatch 2, limiting my personalisation options from third-party generic strap makers.
After so many years, it appears smartwatches are not picking up as fervently as manufacturers expected. Indeed, I find smartwatches losing its purpose. I often do not interact with my smartwatch as often as my phone, partly because looking at the watch is a rather socially impolite action that signifies you are in a hurry. Hence, manufacturers are trying to make smartwatches look as good as a conventional timepieces. For that, ASUS ZenWatch 3 takes the cake. The watch faces are really mesmerizing, and the AMOLED display is brilliant and lifelike.
The ASUS ZenWatch 3 is a rather stunning timepiece, based on the amount of attention I get when wearing it. It retails for S$369, available in Silver (this unit), Gunmetal, and Rose Gold, with choice of strap colour in beige or brown. Despite its launch, the predecessor ZenWatch 2 remains an affordable option for wearers who prefer square face.
Official Product Website: https://www.asus.com/sg/ZenWatch/ASUS-ZenWatch-3-WI503Q/
- Premium-design dress watch style
- Speaker and mic for voice calls without reaching for the phone
- HyperCharge technology boosts the battery to 60% in 15 minutes
- Additional buttons on top and bottom can be configured as app shortcuts
- Vibration is not strong enough to be felt
- Battery lasts less than 24 hours compared to nearly 2 days on ZenWatch 2