The biggest jaw-dropper to hit Berlin’s IFA 2014 tech trade show yet is the ZenWatch, which marks Asus’ first attempt at cracking the fledgling yet already uber-competitive smart wearable market.
With all the Samsung Gears, both Android-running and Tizen-supporting, both standalone 3G connectivity-packing and dependent on synched smartphones, plus the LG G Watches and, oh, let’s not forget Motorola’s Moto 360, you’d think the smartwatch scene reached oversaturation levels.
Especially as the intelligent timepieces are, according to market research and essentially all respected pundits, far from the bestsellers predicted. They may still get there, mind you, but that’s clearly down the road.
All things considered therefore, isn’t the timing just horrible for Asus to unveil its rookie wearable effort? Not necessarily. For one thing, you have to lay some groundwork before hoping to strike gold in a newly created niche.
Besides, for a hesitant pioneer, the ZenWatch looks mighty good. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it the most beautiful Android Wear gizmo, but it’s pretty close. Strictly from an aesthetical standpoint, it’s a solid rival for the Moto 360 and G Watch R, regardless of going for a watch chassis that’s closer to a rectangle than a circle.
A smoothly curved rectangle, that is, with a luxurious, sophisticated vibe, neatly complemented by the use of a soft “genuine stitched-leather strap” and “quick-release clasp”. The superb design is worthy of all the praise in the world, chiefly because it doesn’t come at the expense of affordability.
Asus officials have stated time and time again the ZenWatch will cost “less than $200”, which likely means $199. Unfortunately, the ultra-elegant gadget’s manufacturers insist on keeping an annoyingly thick veil on hardware specifications, leaving us wondering if this baby could be a Gear Live/G Watch R/Moto 360 competitor all the way.
Software-wise, it obviously is, thanks to full Android Wear support, compatibility with any and all Android 4.3 and up smartphones, and a custom version of the Asus ZenUI pre-loaded. Don’t fret, the user interface doesn’t taint the stock Android experience, instead spicing it up with a batch of practical add-ons such as Tap Tap, Find My Phone, Remote Camera or Presentation Control.
Source: Asus Press Room