IP is Becoming an Asus Zealot! Asus ZenWatch 3

Discussion in 'Wearables' started by internetpilot, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    I tried to get away from the Asus brand. I even spent much more on a smartwatch than I ever thought I would. However, the Huawei Watch 2 Classic not only had a brand name that I still can't properly pronounce, but also fell surprisingly short of my great expectations. So, I decided that if I wanted to go with a round smartwatch for a change, I was going to have to go back to Asus, which means the ZenWatch 3.

    Since I already own a silver ZenWatch 2, I thought I had settled on my next watch being something other than silver. For the ZenWatch 3, that meant black. Naw, I don't really want a black watch! So I ordered the silver ZenWatch 3 as well as a silver metal band. WHAT?!

    Yes, believe it or not, the ZenWatch 3 finally has third-party bands! Okay, the assortment isn't exactly stellar, but at least they finally exist. Currently, there is a Milanese (think metal chainmail) strap in three different colors (rose gold, silver, and black), there are numerous leather straps from at least 1/2 dozen different manufacturers, and then there is a rubber strap from one manufacturer in a full rainbow of colors (black, brown, gray, teal, mint, purple, pink, white, etc.). All of these are custom straps that fit the ridiculously narrow pin sockets on the ZW3 while still being a normal width band.

    I received the watch on Monday, but unfortunately that was right in the middle of my phone disaster (my Nexus 6 was dying on me), so I couldn't set it up since it needs a watch to pair it with, especially since the ZW3 still ships with Android Wear 1.5, so it's completely dependent on pairing with a phone or tablet in order to install apps on it or even receive the Android Wear 2.0 update. So, as I posted in the other thread, I resolved my phone situation with a Moto G5S+, which quickly paired with both my old ZenWatch 2 and my new ZenWatch 3. Almost immediately the ZenWatch 3 updated to Android Wear 2.0. I actually only have maybe 1/2 dozen apps on my ZenWatch2, so that's all I installed on my ZW3, too.

    The ZW3 is a superb watch. As much as I like the ZW2 (and I really do), I like the ZW3 even more. Although on paper I supposedly lose a little bit of screen real estate going from square to round, with the significant border around the ZW2, I think the screen sizes are relatively identical since the ZW3 screen has no border at all. Unlike the Huawei Watch 2 Classic, the ZW3 has some heft to it with an all metal rather than partial plastic construction. The ZW3 is very responsive compared to some lag and jerkiness with the ZW2. Honestly, though, prior to the ZW3, I didn't really notice this with the ZW2, but in direct comparison it's there. So far, all of the ZW3's sensors seem accurate (not that I had any complaints about the ZW2's sensors). All of the ZW2 apps are in the ZW3, too, including a rather nice assortment of Asustek Android Wear apps that really enhance the Android Wear experience. Asus included even more watch faces with the ZW3 than they did with the ZW2. They're all rather fancy, too. The ZW2 came with some rather plain or even cartoony ones, whereas the ZW3's watch faces are mostly elegant and dressy. All of these watch faces can support complications from the Asustek apps or Google apps, which is a big difference from the Huawei Watch 2 Classic, which could only use complications from the two included Huawei apps. The only way to avoid the Huawei apps is to use a third-party watch face (like Pujie Black), which isn't a horrible solution, but it's rather disappointing that you can't use any of the Huawei watch faces.

    So far the battery life has been excellent -- better than the ZW2. As usual with a new device, I'm messing with the watch a lot, so I don't really know what the normal battery life would be, but Asus claims it to be around 2 days and so far I could believe it. The reason for the improved battery life over the ZW2 is the ZW3's different processor, which is a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 (yep, specifically designed for wearables). I think that processor also gets the credit for the slightly better, smoother performance of the ZW3 over the ZW2.

    As for the infamous third-party band debacle, that has a silver lining (pun intended). The silver Milanese band is now officially my favorite watch band ever. It looks great (a little sparkly, but still great), and it's literally infinitely adjustable to account for wrist swelling and shrinking throughout the day. It feels very comfortable on the skin, and surprisingly does not pull out arm hair (one review said it did, but I've yet to experience that with my rather hairy arms). It also doesn't show fingerprints (finally!).

    The one thing that surprised me and initially worried me about the ZW3 was discovering the sleep function of the ZenFit app is not manual anymore -- it's automatic. It's still manual on the ZW2, and it's the exact same app, so this was a little surprising for it to be different like this in the ZW3. You just wear the watch to bed and it automatically monitors your sleep. Yeah, I didn't believe it either, but surprisingly it did work and has been incredibly accurate every single night. With the ZW2 I would frequently forget to take it out of sleep monitoring mode, so I would end up with an inaccurate sleep analysis. Now it automatically starts and stops, so it's much more accurate. When I go to bed, I put the watch in theater mode (so the watch face won't keep lighting up). I think it's actually even more frugal on the ZW3 battery when sleep monitoring than it was on the ZW2.

    Will I still wear the ZW2 from time to time? I think so, but I really am quite smitten with the ZW3, so that probably won't be for a while. They both perform so similarly that will be really easy to alternate them, and since they can both be connected to my phone at the same time, they'll both stay updated so I can easily grab either one for the day.

    I was able to get the ZenWatch 3 for $179. It's now almost $200 (for whatever reason). The Milanese band was ~$20, which is a little more than I would normally pay for a band, but I like it so much that I don't care. Also, considering that it's such a custom band, they could probably ask more and ZW3 owners would pay for it (shhhhh...don't tell them!).
     
  2. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    Okay, I'm still loving this watch. I thought I'd still wear the Zenwatch 2 some days, but I honestly haven't even looked at it since I got the Zenwatch 3. That may or may not change after the newness of this watch wears off a little.

    There are several things I'm really digging about the Zenwatch 3. First of all, I love the "Milanese" (metal mesh) aftermarket band that I'm using on it. It really is the best watch band I've found. Now, that's not really any reflection on Asus, but if their 3rd-party band support wasn't so anemic, I wouldn't have found out how much I like this mesh band (haha). So, kudos to Asus for botching up the ZW3 band.

    Second, I'm really liking the new processor. It seems to be rather fast, but still much more frugal on the battery. I've yet to have anything slow it down, whereas I would sometimes get some lag on the ZW2.

    Thirdly, I really like the automatic brightness feature on the ZW3 that's not on the ZW2. It really works just like it's supposed to -- getting plenty bright in direct sun (or other) light, but in shadow or darkness it dims very well. I think that has a lot to do with the better battery life of the ZW3 over the ZW2.

    Fourthly, (I'm pretty sure that's a word) I'm really digging the automatic sleep monitoring on this watch through the Asus ZenFit app. The ZW2 has the same app (even the same version), but the sleep monitor function on the ZW2 is manual -- you have to start it and stop it. On the ZW3 (for whatever reason), it's fully (only) automatic, and it's ridiculously accurate. Every morning I find myself wondering, "How does it know???" But it does. Every time.

    About the only caveat is that it was recently announced that neither the Asus Zenwatch 2 nor the Zenwatch 3 will be getting the Oreo update. Now, from what I've seen so far, that really won't matter that much, as there's just not as much difference between Nougat and Oreo (on Android Wear) as there was between Marshmallow and Nougat. One of the big features they're touting is adjusting the vibration notification, but according to the beta testers this gives the option of normal, long, and double for vibrations. Strangely, my ZW3 already has these exact same options even though it's only on Nougat??? The other features of the update are even more tweakish rather than actual features, so I'm not really feeling much of a loss here.

    I noticed Huawei has put their Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic on sale (at Black Friday/Cyber Monday prices) only through BestBuy. It will be getting the Oreo update, but that doesn't really change my opinion of it after trying it. I still like the Zenwatch 3 much better. The only way I would consider the Huawei Watch 2 or Classic again is if they just completely fire-sale it at like ZW2 levels ($79). But even then I would worry about why they're doing that (like are they coming out with a Watch 3?).
     
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  3. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    IP - I'm glad you're enjoying your new watch. I use my ZW 2 usually just 2 days a week - whenever my Pebble Time Steel needs to be recharged.

    The Pebbles, from the beginning, automatically & accurately reported on my sleep - it is amazing how they do that.

    One frustration with my ZW 2 is duplicate - to 4 text messages showing up on my watch. Have you ever had that problem? Of course, I don't have that problem with my Pebble.

    Sent from my Lenovo TAB 2 A10-70F using Tapatalk
     
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  4. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017 at 8:36 AM
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  5. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    I think my biggest question is why doesn't the Zenwatch 2 (using the exact same app and sensors that the Zenwatch 3 has) automatically log sleep?

    How many texting apps do you have installed on your phone? Because even if you're only using one on your phone, but have other installed, your watch could be picking up the notifications from these other texting apps. Did you take the Wear 2.0 update on the watch? If so, you can control not only what apps install over from your phone to the watch, but if that's not the issue you can still dictate which apps display notifications on your watch from your phone.

    I have a similar problem with calendar reminders. My watch is running the Wear Calendar app, but I only use Calengoo on my phone. Even though I've told my watch not to display notifications from the Google Calendar app on my phone or from the Wear Calendar app on my watch, right after I swipe the Calengoo reminder away on my watch, either the Google or Wear Calendar displays the exact same reminder and it has to be swiped away too. So, it doesn't give me double notifications, but after dismissing the Calengoo reminder the other calendar notifications popup. I'm not sure if that's a Calengoo issue or a Wear issue or what. I don't even know who to report it to...haha.

    That's a really great price on the Zenwatch 2. I'm still tempted to get a second one. After posting here the other day that I don't wear my ZW2 anymore since getting the ZW3, I booted up the ZW2, let it update the apps, etc., and wore it while I was charging my ZW3. It felt really nice and familiar. It's still a really nice watch. Eventually when the newness of the ZW3 wears off, I could see me switching between the two and keeping them both charged up and sync'd.

    I went on the Asus Zen Forums the other day and I'm starting to get a little worried (and surprised) that Asus may be getting out of the smartwatch business. I'm surprised because especially the ZW2 and ZW3 have always been rather well reviewed, and by far some of the more affordable offerings among the smartwatches. I'm hoping I'm completely wrong and they eventually announce a Zenwatch 4 or something beyond the ZW3. I'd like to know that I have an upgrade path. I really don't care much for anything else out there, and I think I've watched all the reviews on YouTube for any watch that's <$400.
     
  6. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    IP - Yes, I do have more than 1 texting app on my phone. I do have the latest Android Wear update and I am controlling (or trying to control) what apps are on my watch and I also have gone in and dictated that only Wear Messenger to be the only app that displays notifications from SMS.

    I"m sorry that you have been getting multiple calendar notifications. I use Calengoo too but I don't get duplicate calendar appointments (fortunately).

    I have sent in an email to the company's support about the problem - I'll report when and after they respond.

    Sent from my Lenovo TAB 2 A10-70F using Tapatalk
     
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