September 16, 2016
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THE ASUS ZENWATCH 2 REVIEW

The Asus ZenWatch 2 launched last year. While the launch itself wasn’t as grand as most new products would be released, it sure did capture the eyes of the consumers.

If you’re on the verge of buying your new wearable, hold for a moment, and reflect if this one’s for you, which is currently sold for a low sum of 799 AED for the leather type and 520 AED for the rubber-strap model (both 49 mm version), which is cheaper than its predecessor’s initial launch price.

Design

Looking at its predecessor, it is no wonder that ASUS ZenWatch 2’s design is appealing. This smart watch is made from a high quality stainless steel, which can come in silver, gunmetal, and rose gold. On the other hand, its straps could be leather or rubber, which gives you the choice depending on where you are or your needs. Similar to the other smart watches we have out in the market, its design is not exactly flashy, but its overall look does not make it boring. Instead, it exudes elegance.

Unlike its predecessor, ZenWatch 2 has two sizes: a 49 mm version featuring a 1.63-inch display and a smaller 45 mm model that comes with a 1.45-inch screen. So if you have a smaller wrist, then the smaller model would be the best fit for you, but if you are a big-watch enthusiast, then go for the 49 mm version. Conversely, this smart watch, either of the two sizes, is relatively thinner than most of its competitors aiding more comfort when in use.

Overall, considering the options this wearable gives in terms of color and size and its “thinness,” I would rate this 5/5.

Essentials

Let’s begin with its display. As noted, the ASUS ZenWatch 2 features a 1.63-inch with 320 or 280 resolution and a 1.45-inch display with 280 x 280 resolution both with the AMOLED screens. These give the display nice and vibrant colors. Many would comment that its resolution is not that high, but in all honesty, what the wearable has is certainly more than enough to get the job done. To protect the unit, there’s Corning Gorilla Glass 3 panel, which is said to be able to hold for quite some time.

While these make the wearable all good, its large bezels around the display make it a bit disappointing. But to make up for this, the AMOLED construction makes the black watch to blend into the bezels.

Moving on, the larger model comes with a 400 mAh battery, while the smaller version features a 300 mAh unit. Before its launch, Asus made extreme claims about the watch’s battery life and hyped it up well. Yet, the watch didn’t live up to it, which the battery size almost supports (smaller than its predecessor).

A full charged watch can last up to 10 hours with the screen always on ambient mode (the watch is in a low power state that dims the screen when it’s not being used), but this improves after a couple of charging to at least a full day, which could be more if ambient mode is not in use, which means that the batt will last longer if you will not use it, which in actuality defeats the purpose.

On the other hand, the charging experience has improved. For one, a dock or cradle is no longer used. Instead, there is a USB type A connector with a magnetic pogo pin that fits at the back of the smart watch that makes the connection for charging very easy. However, the absence of the cradle makes the wearable “knock-able.” The device also charges fast; in 30 minutes, 50% of the batt could be charged.

To compare it with the other wearables, Moto 360 has 320mAh power pack and LG G Watch R has 410mAh battery. It is safe to say that ZenWatch 2 is in the average category in terms of battery life.

Noting the display, screen size, and batt, this watch is at 3/5.

Performance

Powering the ASUS ZenWatch 2 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor supported by 512 MB RAM, which is the standard processing package for almost every Android Wear smartwatch in the market making the watch performs smoothly while navigating through the various cards and menus showing very few issues.

The power button has been relocated on the right side, which was at the back before. A push to the button turns of and off the display. Turning the display off could also be done by tapping the screen with the palm of your hand. Holding the press brings up the menu.

Convenience is still big in this wearable through the voice commands. Simply say, “OK Google,” and this will function as Google Now. Moreover, its voice recognition is dependable making it really easy to reply to messages and do a lot more using just your voice.

If you’re not into voice commands, the watch works following swipe commands. For example, swipe left from home watch face’s edge to see the apps drawer. Another swipe will bring you to a contacts page that lets you send and read messages, which now allows emojis to save or send out.

Moving on to apps, one of the pre-loaded apps is the Together app, which lets you send messages directly to other ZenWatch 2 owners. It also has an Asus Weather app in addition to the Android Wear one, which could be a sign of being redundant. Another down side to this is that any of these can’t be removed.

Moreover, heart rate sensor, which is common in wearables, is not in ZenWatch 2 but it has a 6-axis gyrometer and accelerometer, and this somehow is sending an impression that there’s a less of a focus on fitness with this watch. If you are on the higher tier of wanting to be fit, then you might want to consider a fitness tracker or smartwatch with more robust exercise options.

All in all, the ZenWatch 2’s performance sits at 3.5/5.

Special Features

The ZenWatch 2 has new features! One of these is its ability to be linked to iOS device via Bluetooth, which allows for sending notifications from your iPhone. But don’t get too excited because this is still limited. For example, there are no third-party watch apps available for download at the moment. Also, the watch is still unable to send Hangouts, text, or chat messages from your iPhone. Of course if you’re not comfortable with the iOS devices, then you can always use your Android smartphone.

Another feature to look forward is watch faces. This can be tinkered with through the ZenWatch Manager app, which needs to be downloaded before all of the faces show up on the device, and this offers more options than Apple Watch, and many customization settings for the complications.

The wearable is Wi-Fi ready, has a built in microphone, and its Bluetooth connectivity is very good; the range is impressive, too.

The wearable also comes with an IP67 certification for resistance to dust and water, and this means that it is completely protected from dust and can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water (fresh water) for 30 minutes without a negative impact on performance and usability.

While these special features are solid, still they bring nothing new to the table. Having said that, we give it a 2/5.

Design
5 out of 5
Essentials
3 out of 5
Performance
3.5 out of 5
Special Features
2 out of 5
Overall

THE VERDICT

Considering how it has improved from its predecessor, how it offers much choices and its sleek look, ZenWatch 2 is truly promising. Yet, if we factor in its limitations, such as compatibility, battery life, and the huge bezel, it makes it just a “good” and not a great smart watch.

Overall, if you were to buy a smart watch for the first time, this would be a good buy. This would give you functionality as best as it could be without tipping the money scale.

3.38

Average
3.38 out of 5