Asus ZenWatch 2 Looks Like Apple Watch, Runs Android

Staff Writer
Updated

TAIPEI - Asus unveiled a whole slew of devices today (June 1) at the Computex trade show, including tablets, a smartphone and all-in-one, but the company was surprisingly quiet about its most interesting new product. Without any fanfare, Asus unwrapped its ZenWatch 2, an attractive, Apple Watch-esque follow-up to last year's Android Wear-based ZenWatch. No price or availability has been shared, but a rep told me the device will be launched at IFA 2015 in Berlin later this year, and that more details on software and price will be announced then.

Dozens of ZenWatch 2 devices were on display at the show, with a wide range of pleasant-looking bands including gold and silver metallic straps and bright red or pastel blue rubbery ones. The new wearable will now come in stainless steel cases of two sizes (49 x 41mm and 45 x 37mm), just like the Apple Watch, and each case will be available in Silver, Gunmetal and Rose Gold. I really liked the dainty look of the smaller watch face. 

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Asus will also offer 9 bands for each watch size, made of rubber, leather or metal in various colors. I put on a ZenWatch 2 with the larger face and a silver metal bracelet that's reminiscent of the Apple Watch's Milanese Loop band, although the Asus was noticeably lighter on my wrist.

The units on display were running a video loop of Android Wear functions, and Asus says the device will come with the latest version of Google's wearable OS. That likely means the watch will support Wi-Fi and gesture navigation. I enjoyed looking at the colorful cards in the demo, thanks to the watch's Gorilla Glass AMOLED display.

The ZenWatch 2 will be integrated with the company's Zen UI, which adds tools such as Remote Camera to control your smartphone's shooter and a Wellness app. The Remote Camera has been enhanced from the version on the original ZenWatch, while the Wellness smartphone app has been redesigned. Wellness lets you see all the data tracked by the ZenWatch's sensors, such as the heart rate monitor. 

Asus made a new magnetic charging cable for the ZenWatch 2, so you don't have to carry around a charging cradle like the one for its predecessor. The new ZenWatch is also IP67 water-resistant.

A rep told me that the ZenWatch 2's hardware is pretty much ready, and that more software details will be released at IFA. We'll be covering the news from Germany, so stay tuned.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low needs a smartwatch because she keeps losing her dumb watches. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide on Facebook.