Asus ZenWatch combines Android Wear with classic watch design

Asus has announced its first wearable, the ZenWatch, at a press conference in Berlin.

Running Google’s Android Wear, the Zen Watch takes a classical approach to watch design and boasts a stainless steel case, curved glass face and tan-coloured leather strap. This gives the ZenWatch the look of a traditional watch, compared to other Android Wear devices like the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live.

There are more than 100 different watch faces to choose from, including a range of digital faces and those which mimic the hands of a mechanical watch.

A neat feature of the ZenWatch is how it can be used to find your phone (providing you’re within around 10 metres). Double tapping the watch screen makes the phone ring.

The square screen measures 1.63 inches and has a resolution of 320 x 320. The ZenWatch is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400.

As is the norm for most smartwatches, the ZenWatch has a heart rate monitor and can be used to track your exercise with a pedometer. We suspect this data will be synched to a new phone app from Asus, although this isn’t mentioned during the short announcement.

Interestingly, the heart rate monitor is on the front of the watch case, rather than on the back and pressed against the wearer's wrist, as seen on the Samsung Gear range. With the ZenWatch, wearers press their finger against the screen for 15 seconds to find out their heart rate.

Another feature of the watch is how it can be used as a remote view finder and shutter button for the camera of your phone - useful if you want to take a group photo without holding your phone up at arms length - prop it up against something, tap your watch, and the photo is taken.

Asus claims battery life is one day, meaning nightly recharges will be required.

Our favourite feature is how your connected phone automatically unlocks when it senses the ZenWatch is nearby, saving you from repeatedly entering your password or PIN each time you want to check your phone.

The ZenWatch is priced at €199 (£159), and although Asus didn’t give a release date, we expect it to go on sale before Christmas. We’ll update this story when we have more to share.

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