ASUS has officially launched its much-teased ZenWatch at IFA in Berlin, revealing that the rectangular smartwatch has a curved face, a brushed stainless steel body and a leather strap – but is pricier than expected.
Specs are pretty much as expected and in line with the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch: an Android Wear device with 1.63-inch 320×320 AMOLED display, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 chip, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage and a fitness functions. The watch is waterproofed to a relatively weak IP55 standard, defined as resistant to water jets but not full immersion …
It is, though, a good-looking watch with a more traditional look than its competitors. The brushed stainless steel face has a copper-coloured inlay to match the supplied tan leather strap, which is a standard 22m band and thus easily replaceable if desired. There are over 100 different watch faces to choose from.
The ZenWatch boasts a Watch Unlock function to allow you to unlock a phone or tablet via Bluetooth by touching the watch face. You can also use it as a remote shutter for a smartphone camera, and to find your phone – but only within a range of around 30 feet (you’ll need to download the corresponding phone apps for these functions).
Fitness functions include a heart-rate monitor and pedometer.
While it had been expected that the ASUS might undercut LG and Samsung, the ZenWatch is instead priced at €199 in Europe, which would translate to around $260. However, manufacturers often offer cheaper pricing in the US, and the dollar price is not yet known. ASUS CEO Jerry Shen had earlier been reported as saying it would sell for “below $200.”
Availability has so far only been announced as late Q3 or early Q4, so late this month or sometime next month.
The full press release can be found below.
Our hands-on video:
Sep 3, 2014
First ASUS wearable device powered by Android Wear unveiled
Berlin, Germany (3rd September, 2014) — ASUS Corporate Vice President Eric Chen, accompanied by ASUS Design Center Vice President Mitch Yang and ASUS Senior Product Director Derek Yu, today went on stage at a pre-IFA 2014 event held at the Classic Remise to announce the company’s latest lineup of innovations, including ASUS ZenWatch, the company’s first wearable device produced in partnership with Google.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Chen covered the company’s evolution from a small motherboard company, founded in 1989, to a leading global technology company 25 years later. Mr. Chen went on to highlight the recent success of the company’s ZenFone smartphone range, which has enjoyed worldwide critical acclaim and consumer recognition in all launch territories to date. “The success of ZenFone reflects our desire to create the most extraordinary phone that can empower everyone,” said Mr. Chen, adding: “It is our great pleasure to announce that the LTE version of ZenFone will be available in Europe during the fourth quarter of this year.”
Derek Yu then took the stage to unveil a full range of innovative new products designed to empower mobile lifestyles, including Zenbook UX305, the world’s thinnest 13.3-inch QHD+ laptop; the chic, compact and colorful EeeBook X205; and MeMO Pad 7 (ME572C), the latest and most stylish addition to the highly-successful MeMO Pad family of Android tablets. Mr. Yu concluded with the announcement of the ProSieben Entertainment Pad, an exclusive 8-inch tablet based on MeMO Pad 8, which is being launched in Germany in partnership with ProSieben* and Intel.
Rounding off the event, Mitch Yang offered an insightful look at the design process responsible for the ASUS ZenWatch, explaining how the final product was inspired by the ASUS user-centric ‘design thinking’ philosophy.
ASUS ZenWatch, the perfect smart companion
ASUS ZenWatch is the first wearable device from ASUS, powered by Android Wear and featuring a version of the ASUS ZenUI user interface developed specifically for ZenWatch. This exquisitely-crafted and slim device pairs seamlessly with a smartphone running Android™ 4.3 or higher to provide relevant and useful information when it is needed most, and also to serve as a personal wellness manager in conjunction with the ASUS ZenUI Wellness app.
Explaining the design philosophy of the ZenWatch concept, Mitch Yang said “Our design philosophy is Start with People. We want to deliver a seamless digital experience for everyone to enjoy. With our ZenWatch, you will always be connected to everything that matters in your life.”
ZenWatch brings the luxury tradition of fine watchmaking to Android Wear, with an elegant, detail-focused design and use of high-quality materials. It is designed for supreme comfort, with a soft genuine stitched-leather strap and quick-release clasp. The 2.5D curved glass increases usability with a smooth and responsive touch experience. ZenWatch comes with a selection of instantly-changeable software watch faces, allowing users to customize ZenWatch easily to match their style.
ZenWatch is much more than a sophisticated timepiece. With a range of practical smart features, including Watch Unlock, Tap Tap, Remote Camera, Cover to Mute, Find My Phone and Presentation Control, ZenWatch is the perfect smart companion. Its seamless integration with ASUS ZenUI adds even more functionality for owners of ASUS smartphones, letting users enjoy enhanced versions of exclusive ASUS ZenUI apps such as What’s Next and Do It Later.
Thanks to its integrated 9-axis sensor, ZenWatch is also a fully-featured wellness manager. The companion ASUS ZenUI Wellness app lets users monitor and track a range of wellness statistics including steps taken, calories burned, activity duration, heart rate, exercise intensity and relaxation level. Users can set and monitor personal fitness goals with ease, and see their progress at a glance.
ZenWatch raises the bar on what users should expect from wearable devices, showcasing the power of the ASUS ‘design thinking’ philosophy and ushering in a new era of true luxury and sophistication.