Asus Zenwatch 2: An eye catching Wearable
Taiwan based Asus known for their budget range of electronic products, are now out with their next-gen smartwatch-like Wearable device called the Zenwatch 2. As we did not get an opportunity to review the first-gen wearable which did not do justice to our thirst for reviewing an Asus Zenwatch, we decided to procure the Zenwatch 2 and conduct performance tests.
Here’s how the wearable performed in our tests:
Design and Display
The Asus Zenwatch 2 features an eye-catching design that is both square and round. Dimension-wise, the wearable has dimensions of 49.6 x 40.7 x 10.9 mm with 10.9 mm representing the external thickness. On touching the Asus Zenwatch 2, we could clearly feel (anybody for that matter can easily do) the Stainless Steel body of the Wearable.
For our testing, we procured the 22mm larger variant (strap sizes), there is also a smaller 18mm smaller edition. The Asus Zenwatch 2 sat perfectly on the wrist; unlike the LG G Watch R, there is no heart monitor unit at the rear, but there is a side button that acts as the power/home key. This button can also be used to activate the display from Sleep.
As far as the actual display is concerned, the Asus Zenwatch 2 comes with a comparatively large 1.63-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen having resolution of 320 x 320 pixels with pixel densities of 278 ppi. The display supports both Multitouch and 16M colors and is enclosed within the Gorilla Glass 3 casing to protect it from scratches.
We consider the Gorilla Glass 3 to be a certain USP of the Asus Zenwatch 2 especially in a outdoor usage scenario and while travelling in public transport that is crowded to the brim more often than not. During our testing, in bright outdoor conditions (in full daylight), we could view the display clearly without any hint of refraction and reflection of the non-essential colors. The essential colors, sync perfectly with the Gun Metal color scheme of the strap. Also, we were able to read contents on the screen without putting in too much effort.
The dial, within the display is also stylish and illuminated. For the non-geeky, the Asus Zenwatch 2 appears just like a conventional time device and not as a smartwatch-like wearable. Overall, we are happy with the design as the Asus Zenwatch 2 gives off a premium feel.
Google’s Android Wear is the driving factor behind the Asus Zenwatch 2. All notifications and Google Now Cards are displayed neatly without cluttering the screen. There is also the Google Play integration functionality which served as a big plus to us considering the fact that we are hardcore music buffs. Another advantage that the Android Wear (seemed like an advanced version of the regular OS) operating platform offered us was the ability to choose from as many as 50 watchfaces. We could also design our own watchface.
Apart from the above, Asus has also packed in multiple of what it calls “essential apps”. These “essential” apps include a customized activity tracker and the custom Messenger. There are other apps as well; these clearly fell into the category of bloatware as per our testing.
However, the heart-rate monitor is conspicuous by its absence. As far as compatibility is concerned, we could pair the Asus Zenwatch 2 with iPhones and Asus Android smartphones uniformly. The differentiating factor between these is the performance, amongst which Asus Android smartphones are tops (as per our usage). The Android Wear user interface (UI) is fairly good, save for the built-in Asus Bloatware.
Processor, Memory and important enhancements
Under-the-hood, the Asus Zenwatch 2 incorporates a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC that comprises of a 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU along with an Adreno 305 GPU. A 512 MB RAM works in sync with LG’s G Watch R also offers 4 GB of internal storage. We felt that this aspect is a plus point as users can store a significant amount of multimedia content and play wirelessly to an external device via Bluetooth. The 4 GB storage also offers increased room for installation/storage of a large number of applications irrespective of whether these fall into the essential or non-essential category.
During our testing, we did not get to experience major enhancements; but the improvements to Android Wear UI can be considered as major considering the fact that these try to effect an increase in the efficiency of the overall performance.
As far as technical aspects of the battery are concerned, the Asus Zenwatch 2 is powered by a 400 mAh Lithium-Ion battery that cannot be replaced at any cost. During our testing, upon restricting the usage of the Asus Zenwatch 2 to only general which is using the wearable for checking notifications by activating the always-on display functionality, we were offered battery life lasting more than a full day. We consider this impressive considering the fact that it is essential to keep tabs on notifications especially when during the move.
However, the general everyday category of users could expect a much higher battery backup offering. The Asus Zenwatch 2 does not come with built-in wireless charging capabilities but users can go in for an external wireless charging kit.
The Asus Zenwatch 2 impresses; but is not the best in its class out there. Its USP, however, is its affordable price tag.