The original ASUS ZenWatch was originally announced back in September 2014, but the smartwatch market is moving at an incredible clip these days, so the Taiwanese OEM has deemed it necessary to unload a next generation Android Wear model: the ZenWatch 2.
While the ZenWatch 2 retains design familiarity with its predecessor, it is now available in two different case sizes (echoing a similar move by Apple with the Apple Watch), which should make it more appealing to both men and women. The larger of the two smartwatches features a 49mm stainless steel case paired with an interchangeable 22mm strap, while the smaller 45mm stainless steel case comes with an 18mm strap.
ASUS is also stepping up the customization factor with three case colors (gunmetal, silver, rose gold) and color-matches stainless steel straps. And if that isn’t enough, ASUS has expanded the number of leather band options this time around (Khaki, Brown, Gray, Blue) and even includes rubber straps (available in Blue, Orange, Red, and Taupe) for those that like to roll that way when working out. In total, 18 different watch combinations are offered (along with the ability for users to create their own watch faces).
While the design-focused updates are welcome, ASUS has also made some functional improvements to the ZenWatch 2. A new magnetic charger promises to “dramatically [improve] battery recharge times” and a new digital crown on the side of the case “[enhances] the user experience by a providing new way to interact with the watch.” In addition, the ZenWatch 2’s display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 to minimize scratches and dings. The smartwatch also retains an IP67 water-resistance rating.
While all of this sounds good, there’s one big downer that is looming over ASUS’ announcement: pricing and availability for the ZenWatch 2 won’t be revealed until this September. By that time, Motorola could possibly swoop in with an announcement of its own -— anyone up for a second generation Moto 360?