To enter the competition head to the bottom of the post.
The original ASUS ZenWatch made the right kind of industry waves by touting accessibility and affordability, thereby earning a reputation as one of the top first generation smartwatches powered by Android Wear. Now the brand has returned with a follow up that uses small improvements to render big impressions. As our overview indicates, ASUS is banking on customer satisfaction and the same tier of affordability rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. Read on for a more intensive breakdown.
The original ASUS ZenWatch came in one size that was pleasing to plenty of consumers but perhaps not as “customised” as modern gear prides itself on being. By contrast the ASUS ZenWatch 2 comes in two different sizes. For the bigger wrists there’s a 1.63” model and then a smaller 1.45” for the ladies or the men who don’t get to the gym as often (just a joke, fellas). And while everyone knows size matters, ASUS knows that colour matters just as much so there are 3 case colours (silver, gun metal and rose gold) to choose from along with 5 different strap and colour combinations.
For the watch face ASUS went with smooth crystal built from sturdy Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 that’s able to withstand wear and make swiping a breeze. Around the face is the same approachable curved design as the original ZenWatch. Somehow those rounded curves just make smartwatches look cleaner and more fun to wear. Adorning the case is a metal crown that doubles as a reset button and conjures associations with classic watches from a bygone era where email didn’t even exist let alone pop up on a screen wrapped around your wrist. For the strap, ASUS did away with a clasp and replaced it with a buckle, again drawing associations with superior timepieces of days gone by.
Like the original ZenWatch the ZenWatch 2 flaunts a stainless steel finish and thick bezel that’s not as overt as the previous model but still noticeable. In fact some reviewers feel the bezel is still too thick and not up to speed with contemporary smartwatch trends. To perhaps counter such visual heft the ZenWatch 2 is lighter than its predecessor but only by 5g for the larger model (and 15g for the smaller one). Lastly, the watch is equipped with a magnetic charger that can be attached with ease and improves the amount of time it takes to recharge the battery.
We haven’t personally landed our hands (or wrists) on a ZenWatch 2, but based on early reviews and general customer reception the smartwatch is dependable but not groundbreaking in the performance department. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 at 1.2 GHz with 4GB of storage, comes equipped with wi-fi and runs on Android Wear 6.0. Expect a relatively seamless ability to update the watch, receive calls and notifications and even communicate with other wearers by way of short messages and emojis. The battery life is longer but in order to maximize it the smartwatch must be put into low-power mode.
Thanks to a built-in microphone users can also talk to Google via the ZenWatch 2 and ask important questions about anything from sports scores to the weather. ASUS also offers an app called “Business Helper” that can manage agendas, calls and emails. Based on everything we’ve seen or read the young modern businessman with an eye for tech and a tight budget is the perfect demographic when it comes to the new smartwatch from ASUS.
Another welcomed upgrade is an Enhanced Remote Camera that works in sync with the user’s smartphone by displaying the smartphone viewfinder on the watch. Go nuts with the possibilities there. Speaking of smartphones, unlike its predecessor the ZenWatch 2 offers limited compatibility with iPhones, however those who want to reap the most benefits are best sticking with the Android platform through and through.
Lastly, like all good smartwatches the ZenWatch 2 includes fitness tracking, however according to at least one review ASUS actually reduced the number of sensors and isn’t as focused on fitness as it pretends to be. Nevertheless, the Next-gen Wellness app is sure to suffice for those not preparing for their next marathon.
The ZenWatch 2 offers plenty to relish by way of usability as long as users are thinking pretty much entirely inside the box. As previously mentioned, customization is important to ASUS. Thanks to a pre-loaded watch face app the user is able to change the display and then there are those straps and case colours to play with. Early reports suggest the watch fits comfortably and securely around the wrist but there’s room for improvement according to at least some reviews. In summary, expect moderate comfort, reliable performance and some potential hiccups in terms of compatibility with your iPhone, fitness tracking and certain downloaded apps.
In spite of its arguable flaws the ZenWatch 2 remains a steal and perhaps the perfect starter watch for tech enthusiasts who don’t want to shell out the big bucks. It makes small, but notable improvements upon its predecessor without going to extremes. Fans of Android Wear will find plenty to savour with the latest from ASUS, and those who keep saving up for an Apple Watch might now have an excuse to cash out early.
The ASUS ZenWatch 2 is available from the ASUS eShop, select Harvey Norman retailers and select channel partners. The ASUS ZenWatch 2 with metal strap starts from RRP AUD $369, and the ASUS ZenWatch 2 with leather strap starts from RRP AUD $299.
Thanks to ASUS we’re giving one lucky reader a change to win the ZenWatch 2. Simply enter using the gleam.io app below.