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Asus debuts affordable and stylish ZenWatch 2, arrives in Europe in October

The new Android Wear-powered ZenWatch 2 will come in two sizes -- 49mm and 45mm -- and work on both iPhone and Android smartphones.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Dan Graziano
Aloysius Low
3 min read

We have seen an influx of premium smartwatches this summer from Apple, LG and Huawei, among others, but Asus believes a nice smartwatch doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. The company's new ZenWatch 2 is both stylish and affordable. Asus on Wednesday announced at the IFA trade show in Berlin that the Android Wear-powered watch will arrive in October with a starting price of €149 (converted to £110 for the UK) in Europe.

The watch will be available in two sizes; 49mm and 45mm, and three colors; gold, silver and gunmetal. There's an option of either a rubber, leather or stainless steel band. Any traditional watch strap will also work as long as it's 22mm in size. If you're the type that wants to show off, there's also a Swarovski crystal-studded leather strap.

Seamus Byrne/CNET

The watch is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, the same chip used in virtually every other Android Wear device, and is equipped with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It carriers a water-resistant rating of IP67. That means you can wear in the shower and while doing the dishes, but swimming is out of the question.

The larger model sports a 1.63-inch rectangular AMOLED display with a 320x320-pixel resolution, while the smaller models features a 1.45-inch rectangular AMOLED display with a resolution of 280x280. Both of those work out to about 278 pixels per inch (ppi) and 273 ppi, respectively -- the higher the number of pixels, the sharper the screen looks.

Close up with Asus' bubbly Zenwatch 2 (pictures)

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I have the same complaint with the ZenWatch 2 that I had with the original. The bezel around the display is simply too big, and it takes away from an otherwise nice-looking watch. The ZenWatch 2 also doesn't do anything special (aside from a few preloaded apps Asus that are included). In fact, it lacks some of the standard features we have seen in other Android Wear watches. There's a six-axis sensor for tracking steps, but the ZenWatch is one of the few smartwatches that doesn't include an optical heart-rate sensor.

The larger of the two models has a 400mAh battery (compared to 300mAh on the smaller model), which is said to get up to two days of use on a single charge. It's unclear how long the battery on the smaller model lasts, although I suspect it would last around a day and a half. This is far off from the Pebble Time Steel, which can last almost a week. The ZenWatch 2 features an all-new magnetic charger that is said to provided 35 percent faster battery recharge times than the original. It should take only 36 minutes to charge the watch from zero to 50 percent capacity, which is pretty nice.

Catch all the electronics news from this week's show in Berlin.

Editors' note, September 2, 2015: The ZenWatch 2 was originally announced at the Computex trade show in June. This article has been updated with additional hardware and release information from the company's IFA announcement.