The ASUS ZenWatch 2 is reasonably priced, comfortable to wear, and packed to the brim with features. Need we say more?
Display 1.63-inch AMOLED w/ 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3 // Display Resolution 320 x 320 pixels // Input Physical button, touchscreen // Communication Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi // Battery 400mAh rechargeable Li-ion // Warranty 1-year // Contact ECS Astar Sdn Bhd // Telephone (03) 6286 8222 // URL my.asus.com
APRIL 2016 If we were to ask you to name a dozen different smartwatches off the top of your head, you'd probably be able to blurt them all out in record time, complete with a smug look on your face. However, we're pretty sure you'll be left flabbergasted if we were to narrow down the criterion to Android Wear-powered smartwatches instead, which include the Asus ZenWatch 2.
Unlike the many smartwatches that we've had the opportunity to review over the past year – including the Garmin Forerunner 235 in this month's issue – the ZenWatch 2 is actually running on a fullfledged OS that's developed by Google specifically for wearables.
Naturally, that also means the ZenWatch 2 is packed with proper hardware as well, such as a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC flash storage.
Suffice to say, we didn't encounter any performance issues while we were nonchalantly swiping our way through the Android Wear interface on the ZenWatch 2, which was done via its 1.63inch, 320 x 320 always-on AMOLED display (with a pixel density of 278 ppi). And while we have no qualms with its bright, crisp, and responsive display, we do, however, wish that it came with slightly thinner bezels.
As far as comfort is concerned, the ZenWatch 2 is easily one of the most comfortable smartwatches we've worn to date. Its lightweight watch face doesn't make you want to gnaw it off after an entire day of wearing it, while its interchangeable silicone strap was very accommodating to our wrist.
And thankfully so, as there are many great things that you can do with the ZenWatch 2, all thanks to the Android Wear OS. Having it push your smartphone's notification is a given; you can also have the ZenWatch 2 track your fitness and sports activities as well, using the built-in Google Fit app. It does so very accurately too, despite its lack of a GPS module. The 220-odd steps that it took us to walk from our car to the office actually translated to 219 steps on the ZenWatch 2, which is slightly off the mark, but the accuracy is still praiseworthy nonetheless.
You can even have the ZenWatch 2 perform quite an extensive number of actions with just your voice, like sending a WhatsApp message to a friend, or having it set an alarm for a particular time. Don't worry, the voice recognition system on the ZenWatch 2 is pretty spot-on. As long as your pronunciation skills are up to par, you won't have to end up reiterating the same command a hundred times over before it registers.
With average use – which primarily constitutes of reading the frequent WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Gmail notifications that crop up – we managed to wring out one and a half days of battery life from the 400mAh battery, which is pretty impressive considering its hardware and capabilities. If you're going to be using it mostly to tell the time, you should easily be able to make it past two days before having to give it a recharge.
The ZenWatch 2's metal crown can be pressed to turn the screen on and off, and long-pressed to bring up the apps menu.