Asus Zenwatch 3 Review
There’s no question the Asus ZenWatch 3 is a slick looking watch. Sporting a gorgeous gunmetal bezel, an Italian leather strap, sharp interface and an eye-popping three button layout, the watch looks sophisticated and expensive. It’s quite easily a watch I would wear with pride. We all know how pricey smart watches can be; however, the Asus ZenWatch 3 is one of the more affordable ones on the market. The $229 (USD) watch has plenty of sizzle and, ecstatically, is a sharp upgrade over its predecessors yet when you pop open the hood the ZenWatch 3 doesn’t quite measure up to the competition, including the ever-so-popular and more expensive Apple watch.
The ZenWatch 3, as you would guess, is Asus’ third smartwatch and well, let’s just say the third time is a charm. Design wise, the ZenWatch 3 looks more elegant and classy compared to its rectangular and boxy bezels from the past. It looks great on your wrist and I received a fair share of compliments while I was wearing the watch this past week. It features a bright, round screen and over 50 different displays, which are included with the watch’s software. Bottom line, there will be some kind of design you’ll be happy with. If you can’t settle on any of the included 50 or so designs you can always use one of the included apps.
“Design wise, the ZenWatch 3 looks more elegant and classy compared to its rectangular and boxy bezels from the past.”
The leather strap looks great but admittedly I have never been a fan of the leather straps. Being a guy who perspires easily, leather straps can get often get hot and moist quickly. That feeling of a slimy and sweaty strap just grosses me out. So as much as I don’t mind the strap during the cooler months, I will be looking to swap the strap out with a metal watch band sooner than later. Fortunately, Asus allows you to swap out bands quite easily with this watch.
Many of you may be wondering if the hotly anticipated Wear OS 2.0 is available for the watch and the answer is no. While Android Wear 2.0 recently went live with the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, the ZenWatch lineup won’t get it until sometime in Q2 2017. There is no denying Wear 2.0 will greatly improve the ZenWatch offerings but for now, you’ll have to wait and we did not have access to Wear 2.0 as part of this review.
Set up is remarkably easy. For someone who doesn’t have a heck of a lot of experience with smart watches, I found the process seamless. It only took me a few minutes to pair the device with my iPhone 6. It wasn’t long before I was fiddling around with the different customizable watch faces, and taking a peek at the fitness functions. A feature I absolutely loved was the fact you can enable the Find My Phone option. Over the years I have taken off my watch and misplaced it on at least two occasions, so this is a fantastic feature for me. There is also an SOS feature that calls an emergency contact, and a Forgot Phone alert that buzzes when you walk out of range of your connected device. All in all, it’s got some nifty security features.
The battery life on the watch is adequate. Similar to a smartphone, you’ll never be able to get by more than a couple of days without charging it up. Sure, it is an inconvenience having to plug in so often but the charging process is rather simple as the magnetic circular charger quickly charges your watch. In about 15-20 minutes I was able to fully charge the watch, so that is impressively fast.
On the downside, ZenWatch 3 doesn’t have a heart rate monitor, there is no GPS chip, and Asus’ software suite is rather limited. Compared to the more expensive Apple watch, this Asus watch does fall a little short and doesn’t do as much as the competition. That being said, the included fitness tracker can count your steps and it tells you how far you ran. Oddly enough, there is also a push-up and sit-up counter. I am not sure how much use I would get out its fitness tracking but it is a nice option nonetheless.
“Asus ZenWatch 3 is a visually stunning smart watch that is capable of so much more.”
There is something pretty neat about receiving text messages, notifications and incoming calls from your watch. These core features never get old with the ZenWatch 3 and they work as well as advertised. The watch is also water resistant.; you won’t be able to go deep sea diving with the watch but it does protect against water immersion up to 1 meter.
While the app selection remains limited and the ZenWatch still awaits the much-anticipated arrival of Wear OS 2.0, the fact remains the Asus ZenWatch 3 is a visually stunning smartwatch that is capable of so much more than a conventional wristwatch. When Wear 2.0 arrives, it will greatly increase the overall value of the watch and that release date is approaching. If you can remain patient for the update and are looking for a smartwatch that is affordable and can handle all those basic smartwatch functions, the ZenWatch 3 is a decent option.
***A ZenWatch was provided to COG for the purpose of this review***
- Beautiful design
- Easy set up
- Limited abilities
- Sweaty strap
- Still no Wear 2.0