Review: ASUS ZenWatch 2

 

Asus has topped its previous ZenWatch with a much better one. ASUS announced that the ZenWatch 2 is now receiving the Android Wear 1.4 update to Marshmallow 6.0.1. The new update enables the speaker found on the WI501Q model ZenWatch 2, allowing users to make phone calls over Bluetooth, set audible alarms, and hear app notification alerts and sounds.

Both models of the stylish ZenWatch 2, WI501Q and WI502Q, now include Wrist Gesture support allowing users to scroll through cards, open apps, return to the watch face, dim the screen, and cancel voice actions before they take effect. With the ZenWatch 2 available in two sizes – with the smaller fit presumably for women, judging by the marketing – it opens up a wider pool of options, making this second-generation wearable much more appealing.

1. Display

The display of the smaller ZenWatch 2 is a two-finger-touch AMOLED screen, made of curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that measures in at 1.45 inches on the diagonal. In terms of sharpness, the screen offers up a 280 x 280 resolution, or 273 pixels per inch (ppi).

2. Comfort

The smaller ZenWatch has enough notches for my tiny wrists to fit pretty well. The band isn't quite as comfy as the new Moto 360, though, as it's not Horween leather. Just regular "genuine leather" for Asus. The Asus ZenWatch 2 hasn't changed too much specs-wise. The watch still runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 at 1.2GHz with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.


However, there are fewer sensors packed into the newer smartwatch. Specifically, the ZenWatch 2 has a 6-axis gyrometer and accelerometer, instead of the 9-axis with heart rate monitor. There's also a built in microphone, Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi capabilities. None of this is news, but it's great for the latest Android Wear operating system that it runs on.In short, it means that the ZenWatch 2 can connect over Wi-Fi without your phone nearby and get notifications.

3. Hardware And Battery Life

The company has installed a Wi-Fi chip to make use of the new features in Android Wear, and fast charging tech means you can juice up 50% of the battery in 36 minutes. In fact, you'll get a full charge in just over 45 minutes (for the smaller model, which packs a 300mAh battery).

The quoted battery life is two days but if you want to get anywhere near this you'll have to opt to use the lower power always-on screen, which keeps the screen dim, and turn Wi-Fi off. Again, the comparisons here are more with Pebble than Android Wear rivals.

“The Asus ZenWatch 2's big premise is individuality and affordability and, on these points, it's somewhat of a success. It's cheap - especially in the US (UK buyers get a bit of a bum deal) and there's loads of combinations to choose from. However, it feels more like a competitor to the Pebble Time than a genuine Android Wear contender. It's not as smart as Sony's AW devices and it's not as stylish as entrants from the LG and Moto corners. Treat the ZenWatch sequel as a smartwatch gateway device, expect no bells and whistles, and you won't be disappointed.”   -Asus