ASUS just wrapped up its IFA Berlin keynote address during which it showed off a range of new devices like the “world’s fastest Wi-Fi router,” plus some we’ve already seen like the Zenfone Selfie and Zoom. Afterwards we got a chance to take a hands-on look at the Android-powered ZenWatch 2.
Much was the same from when we first saw the second-generation ZenWatch back in June. Namely the company showed off the ZenWatch 2’s wellness tracking capabilities, which it says take advantage of the ZenWatch 2’s fitness tracking hardware with “industry leading accuracy,” and the new Smart Assistant that’s meant to provide important information in a timely manner (why Google Now wouldn’t be enough, we’re not sure).
Two things that were new, however, include a new watch-to-watch communication app called ZenWatch Message and luxury bands the company is making in partnership with Swarovski.
The company didn’t provide much detail on ZenWatch Message other than that it enables ZenWatch owners to exchange short messages and emojis. ASUS also didn’t show much of the UI on stage and it wasn’t available in the demo units, so all we can do is hope it’s something better than WEAR 5-Tiles. And maybe it takes advantage of Android Wear 1.3’s interactive watch face capabilities? We might have to wait a little longer to find out.
Finally, in our hands-on we pulled out my battered first-generation ZenWatch to compare the hardware design of the two. Note that the ZenWatch 2 pictured is the 1.45-inch model: The new watch comes in two sizes, 1.6-inches and 1.45-inches.
The ASUS ZenWatch 2 will be available in Europe beginning in October at a starting price of approximately $170 for the 1.6-inch model and $190 for the 1.45-inch model. While there’s no US release date yet announced, we do know that it will start at $129 stateside. The watch can get more expensive as you add luxury bands like those aforementioned ones from Swarovski (pricing details not announced for these), of course. You will, fortunately enough, be able to attach any standard 22mm watch straps to the large model and 18mm watch straps to the small model. Check out our other piece for the full hardware specifications of the device.