The only way for Computex, Asia's foremost tech exhibition, to get going is with a deluge of announcements from local powerhouse Asus, and this year's show is no different. One of the big attention grabbers from Asus today is the ZenWatch 2, its second Android Wear smartwatch.
Like the Apple Watch, the ZenWatch 2 has a metal crown, which gives you "a new way to interact" with the Android Wear interface. It initially seemed as though this would work like the digital crown on Apple's watch, however it turns out to simply be a power button with a fancy title. The ZenWatch 2 is, however, the first Android Wear smartwatch to offer a choice of sizes, letting you pick between a 49mm-tall stainless steel case (with an interchangeable 22mm strap) or a 45mm one (with an 18mm strap), echoing Apple's 42mm and 38mm options.
Silver, gunmetal, or rose gold are the color options for each case, and can be color-matched with a stainless steel strap, similarly to Motorola's Moto 360. With the addition of brightly colored rubber straps and a number of leather options — yes, khaki is included — Asus offers a total of 18 different combinations of materials and colors for the ZenWatch 2. Plus, thanks to a partnership with Swarovski, there's also "a gorgeous leather strap with an embossed diamond pattern and tastefully accented with Swarovski crystals."
Asus is using a new magnetic charging connector on the ZenWatch 2, which the company promises will "dramatically improve recharging times." The steel case is topped by a gently curved Gorilla Glass 3 surface, which provides protection for the AMOLED display within. On the software front, a new Watch Face Land app will let you create your own custom watch faces, and Asus' Remote Camera app has seen an update. It puts the connected Android smartphone's viewfinder on the watch and can now also switch between the front and rear cameras as well as zoom in and out. Every part of the ZenWatch software experience has been updated, says Asus, but as with any Android Wear watch, the fundamental experience of using the device will mostly be the product of Android Wear itself.
The ZenWatch 2 runs the latest version of Android Wear, which was recently introduced with the LG Watch Urbane, however Asus' watch is still a long way from actually being released. Asus tells us that it will reveal the full specs, pricing, and availability information during IFA in Berlin this September — leaving this as more of a promise than an actual product. The goal is to keep prices consistent between the two watch sizes, leaving the choice of strap to determine the particular cost.
Hands-on photos by Sam Byford.
Update: The original article speculated that Asus' metal crown will function like the digital crown in the Apple Watch, however we've now confirmed with Asus that it's simply an external button and not a physical scroll wheel.