Okay, I admit it. I was a little giddy over the ASUS ZenWatch3. The keyword in that last sentence: was
The ZW3 looks great. It’s round instead of square with rounded edges. It doesn’t have a “flat tire.” It’s one of the first watches with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, the first processor from Qualcomm designed specifically for smartwatches. It supposedly has a battery life of two days. It has a host of new features and a couple of extra buttons. ASUS will pack the watch with watch faces made specifically for the ZW3. It will have improved fitness features, but no heart monitor and no GPS. It will be IP67 compliant. All of that is great, but here’s why I’m not going to be first or probably not even last in line to buy the ZW3.
I love my ZenWatch 2. It’s an excellent watch! My ZW2 was purchased for me as a gift, but if I were purchasing a smartwatch today, I would buy another ZW2. The ZW3 is estimated to have a street price of $255 USD, but the ZW2 is $129-$149 (or even less than that, depending where you buy it). I can buy two ZW2s for the price of one ZW3!
I wrote an article on why the ZW2 is the best entry into the world of Android Wear and I still believe that to be true. I work in retail and lots of people see my wrists every day. I get tons of compliments on the ZW2, “I really like your watch!” “That’s a nice watch!” “Is that the Apple Watch?”
However, there’s more to this than just the price. From everything I’ve read and videos I’ve watched from people that have handled the ZW3, it appears that the watch straps may be proprietary to accommodate those “wings” on the side of the watch. For a lot of people this is fine, but for anyone who has invested in a watchband that they love, myself included, this is a dealbreaker.
The ZW3 may be the first watch with the 2100 processor, but it’s not going to be the last. The $255 price tag puts it out of my budget and considering that a watch like the Huawei Watch can now be had for less than $200 when on sale, I’m sure the ZW3 will have plenty of company at the $250-$299 price range. I’ll be keeping my ZW2, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for what’s around the corner.