Sunday , October 22 2017

ZenWatch 3 unboxing and first impressions

asus-zenwatch-3

We got a very exciting delivery late last week: an Asus ZenWatch 3. To say that some of us have been eagerly awaiting the release of this Android Wear device is putting it mildly. Somehow despite the excitement, or perhaps because of it, we managed to capture our first few minutes with the device.

Check out our unboxing below:

We will be bringing you a full review of the ZenWatch 3 in the coming weeks, however, after my first few full days with the device I thought I’d briefly comment on some of the major features of the device. If you need a quick specs refresh check them out below.

Key Specifications:Asus ZenWatch 3
Screen size1.39-inch
Screen technologyAMOLED
Resolution400 x 400
PPI287
ChipsetSnapdragon Wear 2100
Core config1.2 GHz x 4
RAM512MB
Storage4GB
MicroSD
Battery340 mAh
Charging methodCharging Dock (Magnetic)
CellularNo
SpeakerYes
Android OSAndroid
Dimensions45 x 45 x 9.95 ~ 10.75 mm
Colours
  • Gunmetal
  • Silver
  • and Rose Gold
Build materialsStainless Steel
Band colours
  • Leather
    • Dark brown
    • beige
  • Rubber
    • Dark brown
    • beige
Band materials
  • Leather
  • Rubber
Band swappableYes

Design and build

From the initial renders, images and videos the ZenWatch 3 looked as if it would be both a beautiful looking device as well as a stunningly crafted one. It is. This isn’t to say that it will appeal to everyone but I have got more comments on the ZenWatch 3 in the past few days than I have gotten for any other watch, smart of otherwise.

The casing, buttons and even the “pods” as I call them that hold the proprietary watch band fittings are precisely made and the use of curves, chamfers and two-tone materials gives the device a deceptively smaller appearance than it may otherwise have. My only issue with the device is I’m terrified of scratching and knocking it, I normally wear a stainless steel finish watch simply because I’m a bit rough and have a track record of slamming into things.

Watch Band

The watch band would be my one area of complaint. Whilst the supplied leather watch band is lovely I’m just not a “leather band guy”.  There are apparently after market watch bands coming but not in metal and not to Australia. Because the attachment mechanism is most definitely proprietary you won’t be walking into your local jeweller or watch maker and getting a replacement band.

My hope is that the ZenWatch sells as many devices as it deserve to and a vibrant 1st and 3rd party marketplace pops up around it. Unfortunately, it won’t, despite how great the device is and how much I love Android Wear I just don’t see this device ushering in a new wave of commercial success, even if it is the best Android Wear device ever released.

Screen

Goodbye flat tyres, hello fully round adaptive display. The screen is nothing short of fantastic, it’s bright, clear and best of all, thanks to the hidden ambient light sensor, it’s adaptive. This is the display I have always wanted to see (pun intended) on an Android wear device. The slightly smaller 1.39″ AMOLED display with a 400 x 400 resolution giving a 287 dpi resolution provides an excellent viewing experience.

Battery life

I’m only a few days into the review, so I haven’t had an opportunity to get a good overall impression of battery life in multiple situations.  That said I’ve never had it run out of battery after a full charge. To clarify my usage, I’ve been running the Zenwatch from about 0530 until 2130 with the always on display active using a white background when active.

I use my watch for notification triage, media playback control as well as replying to some messages. I’m sure I’m not a “heavy” user but I know I’m not a light one either.

Performance

Performance on an Android Wear device is a little different than on a phone or tablet. I measure performance as the time for the screen to switch from ambient mode to fully on, how long an interaction takes to register and similar. It’s simply been too short a time for me to get a good feel for the performance of the ZenWatch 3, as such I’ll reserve all comments on this until my full review.

Overall

Would I recommend the ZenWatch 3 after only a few days? The tech geek inside me would, but I have to keep him at bay, It’s just too soon to provide you with an honest opinion of the device, that said it’s looking good!

 

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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10 Comments on "ZenWatch 3 unboxing and first impressions"

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Phill Edwards
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Phill Edwards

I decided to buy a Samsung Gear S2 as my first smartwatch. Hasn’t arrived yet but looking forward to trying it out. Looking forward also to the full Asus review.

Goodwine
Valued Guest
Goodwine

I’ve had this for a week. It’s OK, it looks great, I haven’t missed any meetings or calls thanks to it. The “50 exclusive watch faces” suck except for like 3 or 4 but you can get more at the play store for free. In my case, battery lasts 2 full days.
I’m also not a leather band guy, but this one feels OK.
I hope it gets updated to Wear2.0, otherwise it’s not worth it. But I think it’s the best one so far.

Jamie S
Valued Guest
Jamie S

It looks and sounds like a fantastic device but I can’t help but feel Android Wear has become a bit stale. Obviously 2.0 and NFC payments might spice it up a bit but for the first time in a long time I’m considering going back to a regular digital watch at a fraction of the price. Mind you, I’m still looking forward to your review Duncan.

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

There’s no going back for me, I don’t disagree that it’s stale but I love the functionality. That said I’m read for new Wear toys!

Jamie S
Valued Guest
Jamie S

I just wish they reduced the prices a bit to make them more affordable for the average joe

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

True that goes for all devices, Tech price gouging is an issue

Member

Sounds pretty good. Is it available in Oz yet? No mention of availability or price in the body, unless I missed it…

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

Only available from Asus Au online, and it’s $449 AUD.

Member

Youch! Cool, thanks. Might be a little outside what I can ask for as a christmas present from the other half, haha.

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

yeah, the disproportionally higher costs of electronics in Au is annoying. You can grab one from B&H and import it and it come out a little cheaper, but then you’ve got warranty issues.

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