Asus hasn’t made a huge impression in the smartphone world, but
don’t for a second underestimate its design skills. Its latest
offering is one of the most attractive Android Wear devices to
appear yet and borrows the Zen names from Asus’s ZenBook laptops,
which are a design success story themselves. Like many other
companies that use Google’s software, Asus has opted for a square
face over a round one, but at least the central module is metallic
and looks quite smart.
Behind the 1.6-inch 320×320-pixel touch-sensitive display is a
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU running at 1.2GHz. This is the same
chip used in many low- to mid-range phones and even tablets from
the likes of Sony, Nokia and Samsung. It’s paired with 512MB of RAM
and 4GB of storage. It’s water-resistant with an IP55 rating and
weighs 50g, or 75g with the strap attached (which, obviously, most
probably will want attached).
As it’s running on Android Wear it will support small apps
available for that platform, as is the case with Motorola’s new Moto
360 and LG G Watch R — both of which we have also got hands-on reports for.
If you’re looking for a watch that you’ll be comfortable to wear
with your everyday attire, this one could well be it. It was on the
big side for Wired.co.uk’s smallish wrist, but the lovely leather
strap kept it feeling comfy and securely fixed in place. We also
liked the way the leather matched the colour of the metal that ran
around the core unit itself.
The ZenWatch will feature a special interface called ZenUI
that has been specially created for it, but unfortunately we didn’t
get to try this out as the watch we were playing with was running
an Android Wear demo. This is something we’ll be testing in our
full review when the device goes on sale in the UK at the end of
the year for £199 — the same price as other smartwatches, meaning
this is another device likely to remain a niche aspiration for the
mainstream for some time.