Review: Asus ZenWatch 3

Smartwatches are hot right now with everyone trying to get their share of this growing market. Asus has been in this market for a while and I’m looking at their third iteration of their entrant, the ZenWatch 3.IMG_0017.JPG

It’s big. My wife saw this watch and said “there’s no way I can wear that.” She has a point. A certain smartwatch brand has a couple of sizes to choose from. The ZenWatch 3 only has one. So if you have a small wrist, this may not be the smartwatch for you. Having said that, it’s made from jewelry-grade 316L stainless steel and comes in Gunmetal, Silver and Rose Gold. The net result is that it looks classy. One catch, it has a leather strap. So if you plan on doing anything athletic with it, that might be a problem. The ZenWatch 3 has a 1.39-inch Gorilla Glass covered AMOLED screen with 400-by-400-pixel resolution, which works out to 287 pixels per inch. It was viewable in pretty much any lighting condition that I tried it in and it dims automatically to save battery power while leaving the watchface visible. Speaking of watchfaces, you get a ton to choose from so that you can find the right look for your style. 

There are three buttons on the right side of the watch. The upper one launches ZenFit, a workout app. The middle button turns the watch on and off and wakes it up. The lower button enables Eco Mode, which disables the touch screen and turns off notifications to save battery power. You can change any of the button assignments in the ZenWatch Manager app.

To charge it, it comes with a magnetic charger that can charge the ZenWatch 3 to 60 percent in about 15 minutes. That’s great as I got 13 to 17 hours on a charge. I couldn’t figure out why the disparity as I used the ZenWatch 3 on both iOS and Android to see and respond to notifications, check my calendar, as well as answer calls, and occasionally use Google Assistant commands consistently during my week of testing it. One downside is that the proprietary charger that Asus supplies means you won’t find a fast charge cable out in the real world like you might with a phone.

Many smartwatches are used as fitness trackers. The ZenWatch 3 is no different. You can view fitness information on the watch itself or in the accompanying ZenFit mobile app. The watch counts steps, calories burned, distance, and sleep. It can also track different activities, including push-ups, sit-ups, running, and walking. However, it doesn’t track your heart rate as it has no heart rate monitor. Another note, the ZenWatch 3 is IP67 water-resistant, which means that it can be submerged in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. 

The Asus ZenWatch 3 competes well on price. It lists for $350 CDN which is inline with offerings from Apple and Samsung to name two competitors.

If you want a smartwatch powered by Android Wear, it’s a great choice in terms of a smartwatch. But if Asus wanted to make it perfect, a heart rate monitor would be the icing on the cake. But as it stands, you should take a look at it if you want a stylish smartwatch at a good price. 

UPDATE: Asus reached out to me to explain the reasoning behind the lack of a heart rate monitor:

Asus decided to not include the heart-rate monitor on the ZenWatch 3 based on research that most heart-rate monitors used on the wrist (i.e. smartwatches) can be inaccurate, especially for those using that data for serious training.

 

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One Response to “Review: Asus ZenWatch 3”

  1. […] reviewed the Asus ZenWatch 3 a little while ago. Thus I was interested in fact that the Google AndroidWear 2.0 update is now available for the […]

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