Summary

Review Price to be confirmed

Key Features: 1.63-inch 320 x 320 AMOLE display; Leather strap; IP55 water and dust resistant

Manufacturer: Asus

First Impressions of the Asus ZenWatch: Our new favourite smartwatch?

If you haven't heard there's a thing called smartwatches happening. No one is totally certain why we need them yet, but most companies are having a go anyway.

The latest effort is the Asus ZenWatch and it's a promising one. This Android Wear smartwatch doesn't break the mould, but it has a nice sense of style that won me over.

It will sell for €199 later this year, though there's no confirmed UK price yet.

SEE ALSO: What is Android Wear?

Asus ZenWatch: Design & Features

The main features are a 1.63-inch screen with a 320 x 320 resolution. It's an AMOLED screen, too, just like the Samsung Gear Live, and it makes a good first impression. It's bright, sharp and colourful -- all the things you want from any screen.

It's not a curved screen, but the ZenWatch has a curved design. The glass on the front has a gentle curve to it and the slightly tapered frame gives the ZenWatch a more watch-like appearance than boxier rivals. It's much prettier than the LG G Watch, that much is certain.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Wear Apps

I also like the tan leather strap. It goes nicely with the black fascia and subtle gold highlights. This is a smartwatch with a little bit of style. And if you don't like the strap, it supports standard watch straps and there's a quick release mechanism that makes it easy to change.

On the inside it's fairly standard. There's 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 1.4Wh battery that claims you'll get a day of use. Yes, it may look nice, but the ZenWatch will need charging everyday. Just add it to the list on the bedside table.

SEE ALSO:
Android Wear Tips and Tricks

Asus ZenWatch: Software

Being an Android Wear device, much of the software is standard to all Android Wear devices. That means a strong reliance on voice search to access all the features.

There are some Asus touches, though. Most of these, unsurprisingly, revolve around integrating with Asus' other devices and the ZenUI ecosystem it's developing on Android.



Sadly the watches I saw were all in a demo mode, but here's a quick run down of what you can do.

Watch Unlock
Unlocks your phone using your smartwatch. I'm not sure how useful this one is, but it's a neat trick.

Tap Tap
This is a user configurable feature. Simply select your favourite feature and a double tap on the phone will activate it.

Cover to Mute
If you have a phonecall you don't want to take right now, cover the watch with your palm and it will mute your phone. A neat little time saver.

Find My Phone
This doesn't require any explanation, though it does need your phone to be in Bluetooth range. It's not magic.

Remote Camera
This lets you control for Asus phone or tablet's camera, so you can frame a shot and take it using your watch. Probably of limited use in real life, but might be useful for contrived selfies.

The ZenWatch also supports Asus' What's Next and Do It Later apps for alerts on where you need to be what and what you should be doing.

First Impressions

Most Android Wear smartwatches do largely the same the things in the same way, so much of the decisions come down to style and price.

The Asus ZenWatch isn't the cheapest out there, but it's the most stylish one we've seen in person. That might change when we see the Moto 360 and other contenders, but this is a good first effort.

Next, read why smartwatch makers need to figure what we need first and fast

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