Android Wear smartwatches have been around for almost three years now, and even though they haven’t been as popular as the Apple Watch but nonetheless, they’re still on par with it.
Smartwatches running Android Wear come in all shapes and sizes and even luxury watch brands are creating their own Android Wear smartwatches with their take (aside from the software, which remains the same on all Android Wear watches).
One of my favourite Android Wear watches was the Moto 360 (2015), that was until I was sent the ZenWatch 3.
I’ve been using the ZenWatch 3 for a few weeks now and it has easily become my favourite Android Wear watch to date.
Design & Hardware
Asus isn’t the first company to release a round Android Wear watch, that credit would go to the Motorola with their original Moto 360. The display on the ZenWatch 3 looks great and it is 1.39 inches which is an AMOLED display and has a resolution of 400×400 and 287 ppi.
Unlike the Moto 360 (2015), the ZenWatch 3 doesn’t have the “flat tire” because it doesn’t have the ambient display. The ZenWatch 3 is made from 316L jewelry-grade stainless steel and when wearing the watch, it doesn’t feel too bulky as say the MK Access Dylan watch.
The ZenWatch 3 that I tested out was the Gunmetal version and it has a beautiful design, especially with the gold accents. The strap for the ZenWatch 3 are geniune leather (at least on the one I tested). However, you won’t be able to put just any watch strap on the ZenWatch 3, they’ll have to be special ones has made by Asus or their partners because the design of the watch but at least they have quick release pins.
The watch has 4GB of internal storage and is being powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor with 512MB of RAM.
As for battery life, I easily got about 2 days on the ZenWatch 3’s 340mAh battery. And if you do find yourself with a low battery, the ZenWatch 3 has it’s own quick charge feature which will allow you to get up to 60% of battery in just 15 minutes. There is an option battery pack for the ZenWatch 3 but none were available to test during my review period.
The ZenWatch 3 is also IP67 rated for water resistance and the charger magnetically attaches to the back of the watch. The watch retails for $349 CAD and is available in three colours, Silver, Gunmetal and Rose Gold.
The ZenWatch 3 is running Google’s Android Wear which was specifically made for wearable devices. The watch will be getting Android Wear 2.0 in the coming weeks (or months), which bring a whole bunch of improvements to the platform including support for Android Pay (on watches with NFC) and being able to use the watch independently from your phone.
On the unit that I tested, it was running Android Wear 1.5 which is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
With Android Wear, you can receive notifications, make voice searches, reply to messages using your voice and you can set timers and reminders and etc.
To help give your ZenWatch 3 some of your own style, you can install watchfaces and apps to do more. There are hundreds of different watchfaces that you could choose from and many more are coming out each and every day.
There’s also lots of apps that are compatible with Android Wear or have a Android Wear component to them, like Google Translate, Shazam, Google Authenticator, Transit and many more.
But all of these Android Wear apps are tied to your phone, they will still need your phone as a data connection. Some newer Android Wear watches. including the ZenWatch 3, now have Wi-Fi chips built-in so the can still do things when it isn’t connected to your phone.
That’s great and all but you still can’t do things on your ZenWatch 3, on its own while you out and about. It still relies heavily on your phone do things.
The ZenWatch 3 is a glorified notification device that do a few more things that say a Pebble watch or even the Apple Watch (which also heavily relies on your iPhone).
If you’re looking for a great Android Wear watch that also has a nice premium design, then look no further than the Asus ZenWatch 3. But if you’re just getting into smartwatches, I can’t really recommend any other alternative especially since Pebble has dissolved into Fitbit.
Smartwatches haven’t really found their place in the world, they have only really hit mainstream consumers within the last two years and people haven’t found the need for a smartwatch just yet. So don’t feel like you need a smartwatch right this second, cause chances are that you don’t really, you just really want one.
- Great design and feel
- Beautiful display
- Good battery life
- Will get better with Android Wear 2.0
- One size fits all
- Not as easy to replace bands because of watch’s lugs
- Android Wear needs work (until Android Wear 2.0 comes out)