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Wearable Tech

Asus ZenWatch 3 has a fully round display and an extra battery pack

The Android Wear-powered ZenWatch 3 also boasts three buttons and 50 watch faces to choose from.

In today's moment of zen, meet an Android Wear watch with no less than three buttons: the Asus ZenWatch 3.

The ZenWatch 3 was announced at trade show IFA in Berlin on Wednesday. It will cost 229 euros. International pricing wasn't initially available, but that converts to about $255, £195 and AU$340. It comes in gunmetal, silver or rose gold colours with a choice of leather or rubber straps in dark brown or a lighter beige.

This year it's all about luxury. Gone is the large, blocky display, which has been replaced with a circular 1.39-inch AMOLED screen, displaying 287 pixels per inch, and measuring 9.95mm thick. It's covered by gently curved Corning Gorilla Glass, which as well as protecting from scuffs and scratches gives it a more traditionally watchy feel than smartwatches with flat faces. The display is also a complete circle and doesn't include the "flat tyre" black bar that we've seen in the Moto 360 and other watches.

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The ZenWatch 3 (left) next to an Apple Watch (right).

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On the screen you have a choice of more than 50 unique watch faces, some of which support widgets to show you useful information such as the current weather, the number of steps you've walked or missed call notifications. You change the watch face using the ZenWatch Manager app on your phone.

Where most Android Wear devices have just one or two crown buttons, the ZenWatch features a third button that can be assigned to open your favourite app. By default, for example, it opens the fitness tracker app.

Asus said the 340 mAh battery will last for up to two days, which is pretty standard compared to the Apple Watch and other smartwatches, but Asus is also doing something unique. If you want more, or you're a heavy watch user, there's a 200 mAh battery pack accessory that snaps on the back of the ZenWatch 3. The extra power makes the watch a little chunkier but doesn't make it too chunky to wear.

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The battery pack accessory makes the ZenWatch 3 a bit chunkier.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Still not convinced? The ZenWatch 3 is one of the first smartwatches to be powered by the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. It comes with a new technology called HyperCharge, which essentially takes the fast charging feature we've seen in phones and brings them to watches. In short, the ZenWatch 3 can be charged very fast: It takes only a 15-minute charge to replenish 60 percent of the watch's battery life.

As with other Android Wear watches, the ZenWatch 3 carries a water resistance rating of IP67 and is compatible with both iPhones and Android phones. Google's watch operating system isn't our favourite, although it is slated to receive a massive update later this year.

The ZenWatch 3 is slated to arrive in the US and other countries, likely including the UK and Australia, sometime in October.

Asus ZenWatch 3 specs

  • 316L-grade stainless steel
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor
  • IP67 water-resistance
  • Android Wear software
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB of internal storage
  • 1.39-inch AMOLED screen with 400x400-pixel resolution (287ppi)
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Wi-Fi
  • Curved Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 340 mAh battery

Where to Buy

Asus Zenwatch 3 (silver case with beige leather strap)

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