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ASUS ZenWatch first impressions: a class apart

|November 28 2014 |Asus, Smartwatch, First impressions, Android Wear

“The ZenWatch is a perfect fit for those who want functionality along with serious drop-dead gorgeous looks too”

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ASUS has been doing quite a few innovations in the gadget space, with devices such as Transformer series of laptops, PadFone phone-cum-tablets and more. Now, the Taiwanese company is making an entry in the upcoming wearable segment with the ZenWatch. While the segment is still nascent, we are seeing a lot of action with the advent of Google’s Android Wear platform. Notably, the ZenWatch is also powered by Android Wear. At the ASUS meet in Delhi, we were able to take a closer look at the device and here are our hands-on impressions.

Compared to first-gen products such as the LG G Watch (first impressions) and Samsung Gear Live, the ASUS ZenWatch takes the style aspect quite seriously and offers a distinctive look. The device features an all-metal construction which certainly inspires a lot of confidence for daily use. Additionally, its IP55 certification ensures that the smartwatch is immune to dust and water as well. As opposed to other wearables available in the market, the ZenWatch takes a definitive stance towards offering a premium look and appeal, and ensures it by offering a chic pure-leather band, which comes in a choice of colours as well.

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On the front, the device features a 1.6-inch LCD display that has been protected by a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3. This also takes care of the durability part to an extent by offering superior protection from scratches and accidental knocks, which are common for watches. For health tracking the device also gets a biometric sensor at the back, capable of measuring blood pressure.

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The leather straps are secured by a metal fastener , which is also very reliable, and users would not have to worry about their prized possession falling off their wrists. The ZenWatch is the first wearable to feature this kind of a fastener system and also helps maintain the premium look of the device.

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Despite the good things, the ZenWatch features fairly thick bezels and some may not like that. Thicker bezels increase the overall size of the device and make it feel chunky, and the designers could have done a better job by offering a slimmer watch. 

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The charging mechanism of the watch is also a downside for this premium device. The charging dock is an ugly-looking chunk of plastic that literally snaps on to the device and charges the device through a pogo-pin connector system. Thankfully, the dock can be connected to any micro-USB charger and hence the box only carries a USB cable and not any other proprietary charger.

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The device is powered using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, which is the same CPU that powers the Moto G and several other smartphones available in the market today. Due to which, this the smartwatch performs well and is quite fluid, however more in-depth report on the same in the upcoming review. Along with the processor, the device gets a 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, that can be used for storing notifications and multimedia content such as songs, which can be played using a Bluetooth headset.

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The company is yet to announce the availability details and price of the ZenWatch and by the looks of it, it's likely to carry premium pricing. However, as a wearable it is quite high on appeal and features a speedy set of hardware functionality as well. For now, we are hoping that the company keeps the pricing interesting, and if that happens, the Moto 360 (first impressions), which is one of the loveliest smartwatches available, will face some tough competition.

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