Haier Asu hands-on review

Haier’s Asu Smartwatch turns your hand into a display

It’s impressive the Asu Smartwatch has a built-in projector, but its use case remains uncertain.
It’s impressive the Asu Smartwatch has a built-in projector, but its use case remains uncertain.
It’s impressive the Asu Smartwatch has a built-in projector, but its use case remains uncertain.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comfortable watch strap
  • Built-in heart rate sensor


  • Projector is glitchy
  • Bulky design
  • Usecase remain uncertain

Smartwatches are quite capable devices. We use them to track fitness activity, and keep us up-to-date on notifications by simply scrolling through a touchscreen display. If you’ve never asked, “what if I could project this data onto my hand,” don’t worry — Haier has, and it’s now possible with the Haier Asu smartwatch. It has a built-in projector, which is certainly something we’ve never seen before.

Wrist projector

At first glance, the Haier Asu looks like a calculator watch from the pre-internet age. With a sporty all-black case, a rubber watch strap, and a gargantuan size, the Asu feels durable enough for runs and outdoor activities. It’s 1.54-inch touch-screen is large and the screen gets plenty bright, but it’s cut off by a mini projector on the right edge.

The watch is built for men, but Haier hopes to launch a women’s version in the future with a much smaller watch face. As a woman, I’m pleasantly surprised with how light the Asu feels despite its bulky look. It is undoubtedly too big for my wrist, though, and looks comical. The rubber watch strap has enough notches so it doesn’t feel like the smartwatch is too loose.

The projector – which is easily the most intriguing part of the watch — is still a prototype, and we weren’t able to test it out. Essentially, it’s meant to turn your hand into an interactive display. By projecting onto your wrist, you can tap and swipe on your hand to control what you see on the watch’s screen.

The feeling quickly goes away when you realize the watch is meant for adults.

The Asu projects information from the watch clearly onto the wrist, but it’s tough to think of a time we’d ever need to actually use it. The idea is to show you more of the screen, which can be tricky for watches when your fingers end up being in the way. For example, you can use a virtual keypad on the watch screen to type in a phone number, which will be projected onto your wrist so you know it’s correct. Projecting this information could also be handy if a sweater ends up covering the watch, but we don’t think the Asu offers a proper solution for those problems.

We did have fun with the “Draw” app, which lets you to aimlessly doodle on the touch-screen while simultaneously projecting it on to your hand. But what’s the point? You may as well just draw on your smartphone.

Haier Asu review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Another confusing feature is the ability to project a dancing man to your hand. By tapping on a specific app, a tiny man appears on the display and starts dancing – which is then projected to your hand. Like the Asu watch, it’s unclear why anyone would need this bizarre feature. It’s hard not to admit that it was entertaining – even if only for a few seconds.

We couldn’t imagine working out with such a bulky smartwatch.

Being able to project information from the side of our watch to our hand made us feel like a Spy Kid, but the feeling quickly goes away when you realize the watch is meant for adults.

The Asu Smartwatch packs 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, along with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. There’s a 650mAh battery, which is double the size of the average men’s smartwatch. It’s unclear how long the watch will last on a single charge, but it’s likely the projector that needs so much juice..

With an integrated heart-rate sensor, it’s clear Haier is angling the Asu for fitness buffs. We can’t imagine working out with such a bulky smartwatch, and the projector just feels like a useless gimmick.

Capable of tracking activity, receiving notifications

On the left side of the watch, there are two buttons – the top one brings you to your notifications which you can swipe through to also access a keypad for phone calls. The bottom button brings you to the home screen, with watch faces that can be customized by holding down on the display.

Haier Asu review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

The Asu also has 4G LTE connectivity, so you’ll have to insert your own SIM card to be able to send and receive phone calls and text messages. Aside from the “Running” and “Fitness” apps that keep track of your activity, there’s also an app to store your music, a weather app, and WeChat is already installed.

We didn’t find any issues with performance as we scrolled through all of the different apps. Some apps took some time to load, but otherwise the interface feels smooth and easy to navigate.

Price and availability

Haier hasn’t mentioned a price tag for the Asu Smartwatch, but the device will launch first in China. The company plans to expand availability to other countries in the future.

Product Review

This featherweight Fossil might be the lean smartwatch you've been waiting for

Fossil has released its first-ever smartwatch featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100. For $255, it comes equipped with a heart-rate sensor, built-in GPS, and more, but does the Fossil Sport live up to the hype? We take a closer look.
Product Review

With style and feature upgrades, Misfit's next-generation Vapor 2 gets it right

Misfit’s next-generation smartwatch, the Vapor 2, packs built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and more, into a beautiful design that starts from $250. We take a closer look at the company's latest device.

Everything you need to know about Garmin’s GPS watches and trackers

Garmin jumped into the GPS smartwatch and fitness tracker market five years ago and has built a portfolio of devices that rivals competitor Fitbit. Here's your guide to the latest and greatest fitness devices that Garmin has to offer.

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.

The best Apple Watch deals for November 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.

Music to our ears: Spotify at long last arrives on the Apple Watch

Spotify subscribers are now able to jam out to their favorite tunes on their favorite workout accessory, as the Swedish streaming service has finally released its official Apple Watch app.
Health & Fitness

Withings new Pulse HR is a customizable, connected fitness tracker

Inspired by Withings first ever fitness tracker the Pulse, the new Pulse HR is updated with the latest in fitness tracker technology including smart notifications, 24/7 heart rate tracking, and more.
Emerging Tech

Believe it or not, this fire-proof exoskeleton isn’t designed for space marines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!