The biggest issue with some smartwatches is they don’t actually look like a watch. They are big and bulky but that’s not what you’ll find with the compact and stylish ASUS Zenwatch 3.
The device has a round face with a design and construction you would find in a high-quality timepiece.
It is just 9.95mm thick with a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen and 287ppi (pixels per inch) and it is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass for extra strength.
ASUS says the look of the watch was inspired by a solar eclipse – a dark circle surrounded by bright ring.
The casing is fashioned from jewellery grade 316L stainless steel and a diamond cut bezel to give it a touch of luxury.
There are three buttons along the right edge of the smartwatch to give you complete control and easier access to the device’s features.
The larger middle button allows users to control a range of functions and modes.
The top button is customisable to provide fast access to your favourite app or feature.
And the bottom button is your shortcut to Eco Mode and is particularly useful when the battery is running low and you want to prolong the use of the watch before it requires a recharge.
What we didn’t like about the design were the large lugs where the strap joins the watch.
This gave the watch face less flexibility on our wrist and also prevented the watch from being laid flat when you’re not wearing it or while it is charging.
The high quality stainless steel is available in your choice of three colours – gunmetal, silver and rose gold.
The ASUS Zenwatch 3 also comes with its own Italian stitched leather strap but you can’t add a regular 22mm watch strap because of the larger lugs.
On the smart side, the Zenwatch 3 is running Android Wear so it can be paired to any Android phone as well as an iPhone.
Users can choose from one of six themes and more than 50 watch face designs to suit their mood or what they’re wearing.
Included with Android Wear is the Google Smart Assistant which relays not only your notifications but also reminders, weather updates and all of your calendar appointments.
Users who have paired the watch to an Android device can also use the Zenwatch Manager app for more customisation options including widgets to give you relevant information at a glance.
And you don’t have to take off the Zenwatch when you’re exercising, swimming or showering because it has an IP67 rating so it can be submerged in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes.
In fact, the smartwatch is a handy exercise companion that can track your workouts automatically whether it’s a walk, a run or a session in the gym.
What you won’t find aboard the watch is a heart rate monitor, GPS or NFC (near field communication) so it lacks the features and accuracy you’d find in a dedicated fitness wearable.
The ASUS Zenwatch 3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor which has 25 per cent higher power efficiency that the previous Snapdragon 400 processor.
With this in mind we expected the battery to run longer than it did. It usually needed a charge every night.
But that Eco Mode also came in handy if we were running on fumes in the late afternoon or early evening.
Even with 15 minutes of charge you can get the battery back up to 60 per cent capacity.
The ASUS Zenwatch 3 is available now and priced at $449.
The ASUS Zenwatch 3 offers the best of both worlds – a stylish timepiece and a smart device all rolled into one.