Asus ZenWatch 3 Review: A Sleek and Handy Smartwatch

Asus ZenWatch 3 Review: A Sleek and Handy Smartwatch 1

ZenWatch probably hasn’t introduced any breakthroughs in terms of functionality but it most definitely turns head thanks to its unrivaled design. The rounded shape resembles a traditional timepiece emphasized by an eclipse-inspired appearance and chronograph-styled buttons. The watch can be easily synchronized with your mobile devices and even used as remote control for their cameras. You will definitely appreciate its clear and vibrant display as well as the quick charge function.

ZenWatch 3 is a successor to the 2nd generation of ASUS smartwatch devices. The model hit the market at the end of 2016, but it has not lost its relevance even to this day. The watch boasts a compact housing, exquisite design, and decent performance.

Design and Display

For the most part, smartwatches are rather cumbersome. No matter how hard the manufacturers seem to try, it’s rarely possible to fit powerful hardware into a thin housing. Nevertheless, ASUS engineers did not sit idly by and managed to reduce this watch’s dimensions. Thus, the thickness of ZenWatch 3 is only 9.95mm, which is quite impressive for wearables. For comparison, the thickness of Moto 360 and Apple Watch Series 3 is 11.4mm, LG Watch Urbane is 11mm thick, and Huawei Watch 2 Classic is 12.6mm.

A streamlined design, rounded edges, and a slightly recessed display favorably emphasize the compact size of the gadget. As a result, ZenWatch 3 does not look cumbersome. The watch will organically fit both male and female wrists.

ZenWatch 3 case is made of stainless steel in 3 available colors: Gunmetal, Silver, and Rose gold. The strap is made of natural Italian leather with a stitching. The proprietary bands come in either light beige or dark brown colors. You can quickly swap straps thanks to the clip-on design. Unfortunately, the straps feature unique lugs so that it’s harder to pick up an alternative band.

The ASUS designers drew inspiration from a solar eclipse. This is evidenced by the rim of the dark gold color placed between the steel case and the black circle of the darkened display. Such a design solution gives the watch a greater feeling of sophistication and luxury.

The right side of the case accommodates three control buttons. The central one, stylized as a chronograph button, opens the Home screen. The lower button puts the watch into energy-saving mode. The top button can be assigned for a quick app launch (by default, it engages ASUS ZenFit fitness tracker).

ASUS ZenWatch 3 utilizes a 1.39-inch round AMOLED screen with a resolution of 400×400 pixels and 287 pixels per inch. Such resolution results in fantastic sharpness and crisp colors. Viewing angles are also good. Color reproduction is natural, without excessive ‘acid’ hues. The black color is displayed perfectly (this is a merit of the AMOLED screen) and white tones don’t bear any visible imperfections.

Specs and Performance

The heart of the device is the SOC Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. This is the first processor of the new Qualcomm line, originally developed for wearable devices. In fact, it is an improved version of the Snapdragon 400. The main differences between the Snapdragon Wear 2100 and its predecessor are compactness (it is 30 percent smaller) and energy efficiency (the power consumption is reduced by 25 percent).

The first samples of ASUS ZenWatch 3 were powered by the Android Wear 1.5 operating system. In 2017, the OS was updated to the 2.0 version.

Users can synchronize ZenWatch 3 with their smartphones using the proprietary ZenWatch Manager app.

Control is carried out by swipes on the touch screen, each of which can be replaced with a special gesture. For example, an analog of a swipe up is a fast turn of the wrist from oneself and a slow return back. A swipe down is a slow turn of the wrist from oneself and a fast comeback.

All in all, the smartwatch boasts good performance and a decent set of functions. Unfortunately, in pursuit of compactness, the manufacturer had to abandon certain features. Thus, ASUS ZenWatch 3 does not have a heart-rate monitor or GPS functionality.

Battery and Camera

Thanks to the energy-efficient Snapdragon Wear 2100 and AMOLED screen, the battery lasts for about 30 hours with normal usage (which is above average for Android Wear gadgets). When setting the display to the maximum brightness and enabling the always-on screen mode, the device will beg for a recharge after 17 hours. There are various tricks that allow extending the battery life by 2-3 times, but you will have to disable all wireless interfaces.

On the bright side, you can easily power up the smartwatch thanks to the quick-charge function. According to the manufacturer, 15 minutes are enough to charge the battery by 60 percent. In reality, I managed to power it up to 52 percent in that amount of time. The full charge takes approximately 55 minutes.

ASUS ZenWatch 3 does not have a built-in camera, but you can use it to remotely control an existing camera already embedded in your smartphone or tablet. For this, you need to download and install ASUS Remote Camera app from the Google Play Store.

The application allows synchronizing the smartwatch’s display with the screen of your mobile device. All you need to do to take a picture is tap on the ZenWatch screen. ASUS Remote Control supplies several functions – the switch between photo and video modes, the 5 seconds times, zoom, and flash on / off.

Conclusion

ZenWatch 3 is a stylish and luxurious-looking smartwatch with a great value in comparison to the cost. It offers a powerful functionality packed into an ultra-compact body. A sleek and modern design will fit both men and women without looking cumbersome. Unfortunately, it lacks some features and its battery life could be improved.

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