If you want the fastest Android phone in the US, you can pre-order Google’s Pixel phone starting at $649, and get it around October 20th. There is another option, though — ASUS will release its 5.7-inch Deluxe Special Edition ZenFone 3 smartphone with the same Snapdragon 821 processor in the US for $799 by the end of the month. Both have metal unibodies, but the ASUS is the flashier of the two.
For many, the ability to get Android updates first on Google’s Pixel devices or use the Daydream headset will be a deciding factor. But the ZenFone 3 does have a few things going for it — it has 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB, 256GB of (expandable) UFS II storage (instead of 128GB max on the Pixel) and is the first device with Sony’s new Exmore IMX318 23-megapixel front camera sensor. Both have 1080p screens, but the 5.5-inch Pixel XL sports a Quad HD display and significantly higher $869 price tag.
If both of those options are too rich, ASUS has tamer variants of the ZenFone 3, including the Deluxe 5.7-inch 4GB model with a mere Snapdragon 820 for a very decent $499. The 5.5-inch Deluxe sports a mid-range Snapdragon 625 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a $399 price tag.
ASUS also confirmed the final price and availability for the ZenWatch 3. As a reminder, that’s a stainless steel Android Wear watch that can be recharged to 60 percent in just 15 minutes — it’ll run $229 and arrive at the beginning of November. Meanwhile, the ZenPad 3S 10, a middling 10-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 tablet with an Octacore MediaTek CPU and 4GB of RAM also comes in early November for $299. All devices and pre-orders are available at the ASUS store.
Apple’s tiny MacBook was a revelation when it debuted last year. It was thinner and lighter than most ultraportables on the market, and its refined design brought over some cues from Apple’s mobile hardware. So it was only a matter of time before a PC maker took a swing at a similar design. Enter the ASUS ZenBook 3, a minuscule machine that promises to be just as portable as the MacBook while packing in much faster hardware. But while ASUS has proved it can sell powerful machines for far less than the competition, it’s less experienced when it comes to delivering truly premium hardware. The ZenBook 3, while attractive on the surface, is a reminder that ASUS still has a lot to learn.
At first glance, the Zenbook 3 screams luxury. Its aluminum alloy case is smooth and sleek, and it measures an impressive 11.9mm at its thickest point. I particularly liked the deep shade of blue and the gold accents, which are classy in a subtle way. ASUS’s ZenBook line is unquestionably “Apple-inspired,” with an emphasis on thin profiles and all-metal cases. But the ZenBook 3’s design in particular looks like a mixture of the MacBook and the 11-inch MacBook Air, right down to the small notch below the trackpad and the look of the speakers above the keyboard. That’s one way to evoke a premium feel, I guess. But it would have been nice to see some actual innovation, as with HP’s sexy new Spectre.
With a 12.5-inch display, ASUS managed to outdo the MacBook by half an inch. But Apple’s laptop boasts a higher-resolution 2,304 x 1,440 display, as compared with 1080p on the ZenBook. At least it’s a good-looking display, though; it’s bright enough for outdoor use, while colors appear vibrant and mostly accurate. Though it’s not a touchscreen display (that’s to be expected with such a thin laptop), ASUS covered it in Gorilla Glass 4 for extra protection. After testing out plenty of touchscreen Windows laptops over the past few years, though, I’m surprised by how much I missed that feature here.
While the two-pound ZenBook 3 feels light and sturdy at first, it wasn’t long before I started noticing flaws. Applying a bit of pressure around the laptop’s keyboard leads to some seriously disturbing creaking noises, as if the seams around the bottom of the case are rubbing against each other. It’s not something you might ever do to your laptop, but this also doesn’t bode well for long-term durability. If a bit of force from my hands can disturb the case’s integrity, how can I ever trust it in a book bag with other heavy items?
Then there’s the keyboard and trackpad, which present a different set of issues. The ZenBook 3’s buttons have more travel than those on the relatively flat MacBook, but the feedback you get when pressing them is mushy and insubstantial. Perhaps it’s just because I’m a heavy typer, but I was never able to get into a decent typing flow. While I eventually got used to the wonky feedback, I still get more typos with this machine compared with every other laptop keyboard I’ve tested recently. Honestly, even though the MacBook’s keyboard isn’t ideal either, I still prefer it to the ZenBook 3’s.
The trackpad, while large and relatively smooth, is a chore to use. It requires a lot of pressure to register clicks, which isn’t great when you’re trying to balance an ultralight notebook on your lap. It would often get confused with left and right clicks, and on several occasions I had to press down multiple times for it to register anything. Tapping the trackpad to select things isn’t great either, as it often moves the pointer off your target. And for some reason, ASUS thought it was a good idea to put its fingerprint sensor right on the trackpad. That effectively renders the top-right portion of the trackpad a dead zone most of the time.
At least the fingerprint sensor works well; it usually gets me to the desktop in less than a second. On several occasions, I received warnings about Windows Hello being disabled because of too many fingerprint login attempts, even after I was just waking it up from sleep mode. I’m not sure why those errors occurred, but it makes me think that Windows Hello is somehow trying to identify fingerprints even when the ZenBook’s lid is shut. (And that could be tied to the flexing issue as well.)
You might have noticed one other nod to the MacBook: The ZenBook 3’s only ports are a single USB-C socket and a 3.5mm headphone jack. At least ASUS was kind enough to bundle in a USB-C mini-dock, which includes an HDMI port, a traditional USB connection and another USB-C socket. Unfortunately, you can use the dock’s USB-C port only for charging, which will make life difficult if you want to connect a USB-C device and an external monitor at the same time.
Performance and battery life
|ASUS ZenBook 3 (2.7GHz Intel Core-i7-7500U, Intel HD 620)||5,448||3,911||E2,791 / P1,560||3,013||1.67 GB/s / 1.44 GB/s|
|HP Spectre 13 (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,046||3,747||E2,790 / P1,630 / X375||3,810||1.61 GB/s / 307 MB/s|
|Huawei MateBook (1.1 GHz Core M3, Intel HD 515)||3,592||2,867||E1,490 / P887||2,454||538 MB/s / 268 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (1.2 GHz Core M7-6Y75, Intel HD 515)||4,951||3,433||E1,866 / P1,112||2,462||545 MB/s / 298 MB/s|
|Dell XPS 13 (2.3GHz Core i5-6200U, Intel Graphics 520)||4,954||3,499||E2,610 / P1,531||3,335||1.6GB/s / 307 MB/s|
|Razer Blade Stealth (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,131||3,445||E2,788 / P1,599 / X426||3,442||1.5 GB/s / 307 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520)||5,403||3,602||
E2,697/ P1,556/ X422
|3,614||1.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s|
|Lenovo Yoga 900 (2.5GHz Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,368||3,448||
E2,707 / P1,581
|3,161||556 MB/s / 511 MB/s|
What’s truly impressive about the ZenBook 3 is that ASUS has managed to fit in seventh-generation Intel Core processors and gobs of memory in such a tiny case. Our review unit came with a Core i7-7500U, which offers speeds between 2.7GHz and 2.9GHz, and 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 2,133MHz. ASUS says it worked with Intel to achieve that memory speed, which is faster than any other ultraportable on the market. It even exceeds the maximum 1,866MHz RAM speeds Intel officially supports for its latest chips.
The MacBook, on the other hand, is still stuck with slow Core m3 and m5 CPUs and a maximum of 8GB of RAM. Apple might refresh it soon, now that the seventh-gen Intel CPUs are available, but for the time being, ASUS wins the spec battle.
The ZenBook 3 felt just as zippy as other high-end ultraportables. It didn’t skip a beat during my typical workflow, which involves having several browsers open with dozens of tabs each, plus Slack, Spotify and Photoshop. And thanks to the video-decoding capabilities in Intel’s new processors, the CPU usage managed to stay below 20 percent when I streamed 4K video from YouTube. Basically, you’re not sacrificing any performance here.
ASUS ZenBook 3
Surface Book (Core i5, integrated graphics)
13:54 / 3:20 (tablet only)
HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2015)
Surface Book (Core i7, discrete graphics)
11:31 / 3:02 (tablet only)
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (13-inch, 2015)
iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 2015)
HP Spectre x360 15t
Chromebook Pixel (2015)
Lenovo Yoga 900
Apple MacBook (2016)
Samsung Notebook 9
Dell XPS 13 (2015)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
HP Spectre 13
Razer Blade Stealth
Dell XPS 15 (2016)
5:25 (7:40 with the mobile charger)
When it comes to real-world battery life, the ZenBook 3 also outshines some recent ultraportables I’ve seen, like the Huawei MateBook and the Lenovo X1 Yoga with OLED. It typically lasted an entire workday, and sometimes it even had juice left over by the time I got home. In our typical battery test, which involves looping an HD video until the power dies, it lasted around nine hours and 45 minutes. Given that Intel is stressing video decoding with its new chips, though, that figure might not be directly comparable to other ultraportables. I’ll be testing the ZenBook 3 with other battery benchmarks soon and will report back with the results.
Configuration options and the competition
You have two choices with the ZenBook: the $1,099 model with a Core i5-7200U processor, 8GB of RAM and 25GB of storage; or the more powerful $1,599 version with a Core i5-7500U chip, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The latter model was the one I tested, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping to achieve the kind of performance reflected in our benchmarks.
Apple’s MacBook, which is really the only direct competitor, starts at $1,299, with a significantly slower Core M3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Bumping up to $1,599 gets you a Core M5 and more storage, but you’ll still be stuck with 8GB of RAM.
If you can live with something slightly heavier, then you’ve got a wealth of ultraportable options to choose from, including HP’s revamped Spectre 13 (2.45 pounds), the fantastic Dell XPS 13 (2.6 pounds), and even Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4. All of those machines will likely get upgraded soon with Intel’s seventh-gen CPUs, so it might be worth waiting a bit (or snap up one of last year’s models if they’re on sale).
Ultimately, with the ZenBook 3, ASUS did what it does best: pack in plenty of powerful hardware for a cheaper price than the competition. But the company’s inexperience at crafting truly high-end machines shows, with some truly worrying durability and usability issues. I give ASUS credit for building such a thin and powerful device, but what does that matter if the keyboard and trackpad are a pain to use?
3D scanners come in all shapes and sizes these days, and obviously the bigger you go, the more you have to pay. In the case of full-body scanning, many existing solutions require you to stand still for 12 to 14 seconds which isn’t ideal for both the customer and the vendor, plus they tend to take up a large amount of space. Luckily, that won’t be the case with a new machine from Japanese startup VRC. Unveiled at CEATEC, the Shun’X — “shun” meaning “instantaneous” and “x” implying limitless possibilities — can scan a person in merely four seconds, and its footprint takes up just six square meters of space as opposed to the typical nine to eleven square meters.
On the inside, the Shun’X model at CEATEC is powered by eight Nikon DSLRs plus an ASUS Xtion Pro Live depth camera accompanying each of them, and these are split into two pillars — with another four filled with high-performance LEDs — that spin around a person. CEO Yingdi Xie, who has spent over ten years doing research in Japan prior to forming VRC, pointed out that it’s this combination of DSLRs and depth cameras that makes his system more precise than the others. Once the scan is done, VRC’s custom PC software will locally output a render in about two minutes, which is again faster than what the competitors offer and somewhat more convenient than their mandatory cloud services (which are usually for subsidizing the cost of the hardware alone).
A video posted by Engadget (@engadget) on Oct 4, 2016 at 12:00am PDT
While Xie wouldn’t directly reveal a price for his solution, he did drop a big hint: A similar DSLR-only system may cost about $150,000 if you buy it outright, whereas the Shun’X is aiming to slash that price by half; and it can even go lower, depending on the configuration. Better yet, because of the much higher throughput, Xie reckons an existing vendor can afford to charge as low as $10 per 3D render using the Shun’X. Just to compare, Artec’s “Optimal” business package charges each Shapify Booth vendor $20 per 3D model file (it’s $39,000 for the machine plus pre-payment for 3,000 files), so consumers would have to pay more after a markup; either that or the vendor buys the hardware for $180,000 to avoid that charge.
It’s still too early to tell whether the Shun’X will become the next big thing in the 3D scanning market, as VRC has only just started taking orders, but one thing’s for sure: Digital content creators in the likes of fashion and gaming businesses will greatly benefit from this rapid, high-precision scanner. 3D printing studios may also want in on this, though they are probably more desperate for faster printers.
You no longer have to be an early adopter to run Android apps on a Chromebook. Google has released a stable version of Chrome OS that includes Google Play Store access in beta, giving you the opportunity to run mobile apps on top of your usual web access. You’ll have to own an Acer Chromebook R11 or an ASUS Chromebook Flip to give this update a shot, but it beats having to run a Chrome OS beta just to see what all the fuss is about.
It’s not certain which systems are coming next, although we’d expect the late Chromebook Pixel 2 to be next in line given that it’s the only one listed as supporting Android apps in beta Chrome OS releases. Almost all other compatible devices (including machines from HP, Lenovo and Samsung) are still waiting for their turn. But hey, it’s a step in the right direction — you’re that much closer to running your favorite phone apps from the comfort of your PC.
Via: Android Police
Source: Chrome Releases, The Chromium Projects
The wearables world has come a long way in a very short time, and plenty of companies have had to learn their lessons out in public. The first devices they launched were often far, far too ugly to find mainstream acceptance, but now the fashion and wearables worlds are perfectly aligned. That’s why we’re taking a look at the devices that arrived at this year’s IFA, and comparing it with their more embarrassing predecessors. Think of it like #throwbackthursday, except nobody’s got one of those face-worn retainers you only see in ’80s movies.
Like many other early Android Wear pioneers, ASUS thought that it was hip to be square. It made sense, since smartphones have square displays too, not to mention the (then) scarcity of truly-round displays. ASUS trimmed the price to make the Zenwatch cheaper than its rivals, and curved the glass over the face to offer an illusion of greater ergonomics. The end result is a watch that made square faces look reasonably stylish, even if it would only ever cater to a niche.
Two years down the road and ASUS has firmly grasped a copy of the fashion watch design playbook and is holding it firmly with both hands. The Zenwatch 3 is packing a rose-gold inlay, a chunky crown and double pushers, making it look less like an Android Wear device and more like a Longines. It’s the sort of watch that goes down well with business types who want to be seen wearing their money on their wrists.
When you look at the first Galaxy Gear you have to ask what Samsung was thinking, even back then. It may have been a refinement of the company’s S9110 telephone watch, but it wasn’t pretty, no sir. Admittedly, it’s a striking piece of gear, with a brutalist design, exposed screws and a humped, 1.9-megapixel camera that juts out of the band rather than the hardware. But when you look at Samsung’s earlier smartwatches, like the SPH-WP10, the Galaxy Gear looks like pure elegance.
Just three years stand between the OG Gear and the Gear S3, but they couldn’t be further apart in the looks department. The Gear S3 looks like a regular watch, the sort of ultra-masculine timepiece that you’d see advertised in an in-flight magazine. Like its immediate predecessor, the bezel acts as a control dial, but now it’s been geared so that it doesn’t even look like a watch from the future. In fact, the Gear S3 could convincingly pass for a Rolex diving watch made half a century ago.
Sony’s been there (or thereabouts) for plenty of milestones in personal audio, even if it might not want everyone to remember some of its own missteps. From 1968’s DR-4A, the company’s first noise-isolating stereo headphones, to the Xperia Ear, which will arrive in stores this November. Back in the day, a 5.5mm audio lead with a nice woven coating was what connected your headphones to the sound source of your choice. These days, of course, it’s all about Bluetooth, but the Ear lets you send commands to your phone as well as receive sounds back. Even if you wouldn’t necessarily call it a headphone, per-se.
A side effect of the design of these small earpieces, of course, is that wearing them are significantly less conspicuous. In an era where people wear enormous Beats-branded cans as a matter of course, in-ear earpieces are, by comparison, invisible. While the first-generation Xperia Ear stands out, other devices of its kind — like Bragi’s Dash — aren’t meant to be visible. Although, we’re getting to the point where it’s not necessarily right to call these gadgets wearables, since they’re not really worn so much as inserted. Then again, nobody wants to walk into an electronics store and ask for the insertables section.
Withings has built its ecosystem of health products piece by piece, but its first device with heart rate monitoring wasn’t one for the record books. The Withings Pulse was a square rubber brick that was intended to be worn on a belt clip like a pedometer. After your workout, you could pull out the device, press it against your finger and be told how well your heart was doing at that particular moment. But aside from its blocky design, it had some great features, including automatic activity detection and a long-life battery. Unfortunately, the act of removing it from the clip wore the rubber out pretty quickly, and it was easy to forget when you changed pants.
Now, the company has seen the error of its ways and baked in the optical heart rate monitor into its Swiss-inspired watch. The Steel HR masks its more technological components between an analog dial and sub-dial — the latter of which tells you how much activity you’ve undertaken that day. The only gadgety component of the watch is the digital sub-dial which offers your heart rate, as well as smartphone notifications for calls, emails and texts. By burying the nuts and bolts behind a well-designed and subtle timepiece, Withings is pushing us towards a world where we’re not even aware of the tech we’re wearing.
Sony’s first E Ink watch, FES, arrived in 2014, and cleverly added the technology to both the face and wristband. That’s led to some interesting options for customization and promised to radically alter the way watches were worn. But it was by no means the first E Ink timepiece on the market, and an early proponent was Phosphor, which launched the Ana-Digi timepiece back in 2012. The display itself was static, and users could use a side-mounted pusher to toggle between time and date views on the face.
But adding E Ink to a watch clearly hasn’t provided the necessary surge in sales that Sony was hoping for. For the second-generation of its groundbreaking timepiece, it’s added more traditionally-watch like design cues. That includes a prominent bezel and sapphire glass across the crystal, making it slightly less exciting. Then again, it perhaps shows that the tried-and-tested formula for watches hasn’t changed much in the last century, and these companies have learned that if you can’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em.
We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.
The IFA 2016 show floor doesn’t officially open until tomorrow, but companies didn’t wait to show off their new products in Berlin. Yesterday, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and Samsung announced a myriad of devices, including phones, smartwatches and hybrid laptops. There will be a lot more to see in the coming days, we’re sure of that. For now, here are some highlights from the event’s kick-off keynotes — and yes, of course we talked about the “Pawbo” pet accessories. Because why wouldn’t we?
We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.
Like every year, we are back in Berlin for Europe’s biggest tech trade show, IFA. This year, as we previewed recently, expect to see many new devices from some of the usual suspects: Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sony and more. We’ve already checked out a number of fresh laptops, smartphones and wearables at the event, but that’s only the beginning since the show floor doesn’t open until Friday. Stay tuned, because there will be plenty of announcements to digest over the next few days. And you never know what kind of weird gadget we might find.
We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.
If there was ever any doubt about Asus’ commitment to Android Wear, squash it now. Earlier today the company peeled the shrink wrap off its third ZenWatch (that’s the ZenWatch 3, if you weren’t sure), and it’s the maturest timepiece from the company yet. The first thing you’ll notice is that ASUS has dropped the squircle design that the first two watches have, opting for the ever-popular round display. It’s not just about cosmetic appeal (though there is plenty of that going on). The ZenWatch 3 has solid fitness credentials — claiming some of the highest accuracy on the market — and there are some important power saving features which aim to solve one of the biggest anxieties faced by smartwatch owners — battery drain.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but ASUS thinks customizing your smartwatch is the key to your heart. To wriggle its way into your affection/wardrobe, the ZenWatch 3 will be available in three familiar colors: rose gold, gunmetal and silver. So, it’s fair to say the company is hoping to mop up a few iPhone users, along with the Android faithful.
Whichever color you go for, it’ll come with a rose gold bezel which, in marketing speak, is inspired by the annular solar eclipse. I’m not sure that’s what I first thought of, but it looks pretty enough. All three hues look nice enough, and the round display is definitely going to win favor with those less fond of the original blocky design of previous ASUS smartwatches. That display has a 400 by 400 resolution, about 287ppi if you’re keeping count, and at first glance, it’s going to be nice, bright and vivid. You’ll also get a choice of leather or rubber straps. I tried the rubber one on, and it didn’t feel all that great, but durable and no sign of itchiness. The rubber will be the better choice for sporty types no doubt.
That’s a pertinent point, too, as ASUS made the bold claim that the ZenWatch 3 has “market leading” fitness tracking abilities, including sport-specific activities. So, if running’s not your thing, but you bang out 100 situps every morning, the ZenWatch 3 will log that for you (if you’re not bragging about it already). We’ll have to wait and see how well that actually works when we review it. Which should give us a little time to dust off the ab cruncher.
While I can tell you how smart it looked (fairly smart), and how comfortable it was (go for the leather strap), we weren’t able to try out the app that lets you customize the watch faces, or take it for a run, or jump in the shower (it’s waterproof) or give it a good old battery run down test. But, it what ASUS claims is true, that last point should be worth waiting for.
The ZenWatch 3 sports the latest Snapdragon 2100 Wear processor, which promises a 25 percent efficiency boost. There’s fast charging, ASUS’s calling it “HyperCharge” and it’s no joke. The claim is that 15 minutes of charge will give you 60 percent battery… or about enough for a whole day. Not bad. If that’s true, then you won’t need to rely on overnight charges. If you do, the magnetic cable will make that less painful, and there’s even a (slightly goofy) battery pack accessory that will give you an on-the-go 40 percent top up. We’re not sure how practical that is, but full marks for effort.
Over all, the ZenWatch 3 seems to be a worthy successor to the previous, generally well received Android Wear watch family from ASUS. If this has piqued your interest, you’ll be able to pick one up for 229 euros (expect a similar dollar price, or £200) when it becomes available this fall.
Qualcomm has unveiled more details about its flagship Snapdragon 821 processor that we first saw in July. It’s intended to fill the gap until a future next-gen chip comes along, so performance improvements over the Snapdragon 820 (used in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7) are decent, but not amazing. CPU performance is better across the board, with boot times, app loading and overall performance up to 10 percent faster.
New UI optimizations also bring “smoother scrolling and more responsive browsing performance,” Qualcomm says. Adreno GPU performance is up five percent, which will help games and VR run smoother. Despite those gains, your phone’s battery should last about 5 percent longer overall.
Smartphones using the chip will be compatible with Google’s Daydream VR system, though that’s not a surprise considering that Snapdragon 820 devices are also compatible. To make it easier for VR developers to get on board, Qualcomm is releasing an SDK for the chip that “supports a superior level of visual and audio quality and more immersive virtual reality and gaming experiences,” it says.
Other features include Dual PDAF (phase detection auto-focus) support for quicker smartphone camera focusing and improved laser focus accuracy compared to the Snapdragon 820. The first smartphone to get the chip, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe, has both laser and dual PDAF, both of which boast .03 second autofocus times. Qualcomm didn’t reveal any new devices that will pack the chip, but with IFA 2016 in full swing, don’t be surprised to hear more announcements in the coming days.
Following Motorola, Huawei and a bunch of other smartwatch manufacturers, ASUS has built a round Android Wear device. The Zenwatch 3 has a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a 400×400 resolution, which works out at 287 pixels per inch (ppi). That’s almost identical to the Huawei Watch and a smidge sharper than the larger second-gen Moto 360. The casing is made from stainless steel and will be available in a few different styles: gunmetal (black), silver and rose gold. All three have a gold inlay, which ASUS claims is like “the corona of an annular solar eclipse.”
The new wearable is 9.95mm thick — a tad thinner than both the Huawei Watch and Moto 360. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and 512MB of RAM, coupled with 4GB of onboard storage. While the 341mAh battery will last you for “up to two days,” ASUS is also pushing its “HyperCharge” technology, which will bring you back up to 60 percent in 15 minutes. Charging is handled with a magnetic port on the underside.
On the software side, it’s a typical Android Wear experience. Google’s wrist-ready operating system is slowly improving, and the company has its “biggest platform update yet,” Android 2.0, scheduled for the fall. ASUS is offering some custom watch faces for the Zenwatch 3, and hopes you’ll make your own with the FaceDesigner app available on smartphones. The smartwatch also has some fitness chops, with automatic step-counting that is supposedly 95 percent accurate. It can also track a few other basic activities such as running, push-ups and sit-ups — don’t expect too much, however, this isn’t a Garmin or Fitbit.
We haven’t heard much regarding price or availability. When ASUS reveals more, we’ll be sure to let you know.