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Asus ZenWatch hits retail

gadgets Updated: Nov 18, 2014 11:36 IST

Two months after its initial reveal, the Asus ZenWatch Android Wear smartwatch is finally on sale.

All Android Wear watches offer more or less exactly the same features and functions; the only thing that really sets each of the timepieces apart -- be it the Moto 360, Sony Smartwatch 3 or the LG G Watch -- is their design.

A watch is a piece of jewelry and so looks are just as important as performance. And that's what makes the ZenWatch stand out. It has a curved, oblong screen, a stainless steel bezel and a leather strap -- it looks like a classic watch.

However, it initially appeared as if this attention to classical styling was going to come at a premium. Asus suggested that the watch could cost as much as $260 when it went on sale, but as of Monday it is available for $199 in the US via Google Play or BestBuy.

That means that it is $50 cheaper than the equally elegant Moto 360 and $100 less than the LG G Watch R.

As well as looks and a price tag that puts it on a par with existing Android Wear watches, the Asus device has an integrated heart-rate sensor and is able to track movement and steps taken and calculate how relaxed the wearer is.

The watch doubles as a remote shutter release for snapping smartphone pictures or for locking and unlocking the handset. Tapping on the screen will automatically drop an incoming voice call and, so that you can impress people at work, the watch can be used for managing a presentation on a projector too.