ASUS Zenwatch 3 on The Wrist

With beautiful design, fast battery charging and high quality screen, Asus smartwatch costs $ 1,999

The Asus entered the Brazilian market for smart watches with not one, but two models . The most expensive is ZenWatch 3, aimed at the luxury market. With a suggested retail price of $ 1,999, it features a circular display, a quick-charging battery and a stainless steel design that made it one of the most beautiful smartwatches I’ve ever seen.

Is ZenWatch 3 good? I’ve been using the Asus watch in the last few weeks and I’m counting my impressions on this short review.

What is legal?

ZenWatch 3 draws attention for good reason: it is beautiful. My unit has a brown, almost black, sporty style bracelet, but the design is neutral enough so it can be used on any occasion, including the most formal. Although I follow the tendency of the watches to become bigger and bigger (45 mm), it does not look like a giant bump on my relatively thin wrist.

The 1.39-inch (400 × 400 pixels) AMOLED display is circled by a sleek gold ring, has good definition and has proven to be efficient in strong sunlight conditions: the lighting sensor does the job of raising the brightness enough to The display. The cool thing is that Asus has managed to hide the sensor, so it does not “steal” part of the screen, as it does in Moto 360.

Three physical buttons are on the side of ZenWatch 3. The middle one, also present in other Android Wear smartwatches, acts as a start button, while the lower one is a shortcut to Eco Mode – in this mode, connectivity is restricted, which Increases battery life. Since the top button is customizable, then you can configure it to open any application (here, I chose the calendar). Having a physical button to trigger a command is certainly better than touching a tiny screen.

Another point that counts in ZenWatch 3’s favor is the high customization capability. The manufacturer already puts dozens of dials in the ZenWatch Manager application, ranging from children’s themes to some more serious, which combine more with the classic style of the watch.

The cool thing is that the dials support up to three complications so you can see the battery level (the clock or the smartphone), the weather forecast, the calories burned or the number of steps directly from the home screen.

And although the battery is only mediocre, as I’ll explain later, it goes without saying that you’ll be out for too long without the watch on your wrist. Asus included a fast-loading technology, called HyperCharge, that really impressed.

In my tests, the level went from zero to 80% in just 25 minutes (!), Taking about 45 minutes in total to complete the load. Although the battery is small (it’s 340 mAh), charging smart clocks usually takes twice as long.

What’s not cool?

According to centralledwatch, the weakness of most smartwatches is present in ZenWatch 3: Battery. The autonomy is only within the average of the watches with Android Wear, that is, it is bad. In the on-screen display mode, it works for about 12 to 14 hours – so it is almost insufficient for a full day of use, assuming you wake up on the to sleep.

In economical mode, leaving the screen on only with the movement of the wrist, the duration reaches a day and a half – in practice, one day, since it is not very convenient to carry the unattached magnetic cable of ZenWatch 3 everywhere. The problem with this is that the Asus clock’s accelerometer is not only efficient, it’s not always efficient: on several occasions, even turning the wrist more abruptly, the screen did not show me the time.

Android Wear is likely to be the main culprit for autonomy, as competitors like the Gear S2 (with Tizen) have similar battery capacity and can last longer from the power outlet.The fact that ZenWatch 3 is one of the first to come with Snapdragon Wear 2100, a Qualcomm processor specifically geared towards wearables (and to consume little energy), adds to that feeling.

And speaking of Android Wear, it’s clear that Google’s wearable operating system is still pretty raw, not having evolved much over the years – Android Wear 2 was slated for this year but has been pushed back to 2017. There is no app Really interesting and the notification system is quite annoying.

On a tiny-screen device, almost a third of the display is constantly occupied by an Android Wear notification strip, which overlays part of the display and disrupts the view. To take the notification, you need to swipe up, swipe right, and repeat the process for every notification you have. And then wipe the finger marks off the screen.

It is also difficult to understand that ZenWatch 3 does not have a GPS or heart rate reader, which makes it less useful for joggers or walkers. It is positioned as a luxury watch, but that does not mean that people who have $ 999 to spend on a smartwatch do not do physical activities. Major competitors such as Gear S2 ($ 1,899), Apple Watch Series 1 ($ 2,199) and Moto 360 Sport ($ 1,999) have a heart rate reader – and the latter has GPS as well.

Worth it?

Rationally, no.

The ZenWatch 3 is a beautiful watch, but the price of $ 999 pushes even buyers who are willing to spend a lot. Even for those who want a smartwatch, the Asus gadget lags behind options like Moto 360 Sport or Gear S2 which, although they do not have a handsome gold ring, are more functional – the former takes advantage of connectivity, and the latter still has a Rotating bezel that improves interaction with the system. If the question is only beauty, there are spectacular dumbwatches for that value.

While Asus strived for its sleek, water-resistant design, fast loading and ultra-high quality screen, ZenWatch 3 suffers from the same problems as many competitors: the ecosystem is far from mature, the value is still inaccessible to almost Everyone and the battery does not have a really good duration. Even with the help of Eco Mode, the duration lags far behind the peace of Pebble’s seven to ten days, for example.

In addition, while the target audience of ZenWatch 3 is probably not too worried about money, $ 999 is something that makes little sense to a device that is not so useful. No matter what smartwatch you buy, it will be out of date in two years, either because of the dropping of software updates, because of the hardware limitation for running new applications, because of battery life, limited charge cycles, Either because you will surely scrape it somewhere, damaging its beautiful design.