What Is It? – The third time is apparently the charm for Asus when it comes to making a smartwatch. The Asus ZenWatch 3 is a real improvement on previous models, and best of all, it looks like a real watch, not some clunky box-like thing on your wrist. The watch links to your phone with Android Wear, but you don’t need an Android phone, as there’s also an app for the iPhone. The ZenWatch 3 has a round Gorilla Glass bezel with a leather strap and is available in three “colors” – gunmetal, rose gold or silver. It’s a touch-screen of course, with three buttons on the side to turn the watch on or off and perform various functions. Asus has some 50 different watch “faces” available, although some of them, frankly, make the ZenWatch 3 unreadable as a watch! A step counter and sleep monitor come built-in but there’s no heart monitor as you’d get with a “fitness” watch. As with most smartwatches, the ZenWatch 3 gives you notifications of incoming calls, text, and email, and you can answer the calls, talking into your wrist like Dick Tracy. There’s no GPS, but there is Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, meaning – for instance – you can download music and play it from the watch on Bluetooth earbuds – of course – that works better from your phone. The watch’s battery needs to be recharged at least every two days, or sooner depending on use, but Asus provides a “donut-ring” charger that attaches magnetically to the back of the watch. Did I mention the watch is water-resistant for about 30 minutes, so you can shower with it on (why would you?) and not worry about getting it wet in the rain.
50 Plus Friendly? – The Asus ZenWatch 3, with the right choice of watch face, is pretty easy to read, as a watch, and overall the face is large enough to read the smaller sized instructions & notices.
Frustration Factor? – I really didn’t have any serious problems with the ZenWatch 3, only that this watch comes with the earlier version of Android Wear, although it is supposed to be upgradable to Android Wear 2.0 soon.
Is It Worth It? – The Asus ZenWatch 3 is a nice-looking watch, even if you only use a few of its features. And it doesn’t look like a smartwatch at first glance. It is, however, not for smaller wrists. The price is a little over $200 direct from Asus or on Amazon.