The ASUS ZenWatch is the only smartwatch in our shootout sporting a square shape face. That’s not to say it’s boring though. The ZenWatch’s chassis is made from two layers of stainless steel sandwiching a classy rose gold steel midsection. While the ZenWatch’s display may be square, the frame is rounded, and the display itself has a slight curve, softening the watch’s appearance. These soft touches make the ZenWatch the most unisex and classy of the smartwatches in our shootout. Unfortunately, the bezel surrounding the screen is rather thick, and detracts from its overall sleekness.
The ZenWatch comes fitted with a soft tan-colored stitched genuine leather strap, with a metal deployant clasp, but you can easily swap it for any standard 22mm watchstrap if the color or style isn’t to your liking.
Unlike the prominent buttons on our other smartwatches, the ZenWatch’s settings button is hidden on the underside of the watch. It’s fairly obvious that ASUS didn’t design the button to be used often as it’s actually quite tricky to press with the watch worn on your wrist. As such, the main points of interaction with the ZenWatch are through its touchscreen and voice commands.
The ZenWatch has a 1.63-inch, 320 x 320 pixel AMOLED display. On paper, the ZenWatch’s 278 ppi should give it about the same clarity as the Motorola Moto 360, only slightly worse than the Samsung Gear S and LG G Watch R. The reality however is quite different, as it’s noticeably the worst of the lot. The display has a noticeable haziness, and the glass on top of the screen looks extra thick too.
Like the G Watch R, the ZenWatch is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and runs on Android Wear. ASUS has also included a few of its own apps, including some exclusive watch faces, and a nice compass app. There’s also a useful camera remote app that lets you use the watch as a viewfinder for your ASUS phone’s camera. As with most smartwatches today, the ZenWatch includes a heart rate monitor and accelerometer for activity tracking. There’s also an exclusive ASUS health and fitness app.
The ZenWatch has a unique way to measure your pulse. Instead of using an optical light sensor like most other wearables, you place two fingers on each side of the metal frame at the same time, completing an electrical circuit. Unfortunately, this isn’t any faster than other methods, and seems to be less accurate too, with erratic readings often over 100 bpm despite the fact that we hadn’t done anything for the past five minutes.
Battery life on the ZenWatch was decent but not amazing. We were able to get about 18 hours out of it, but definitely requires charging every night.
Classy, unisex design. Useful exclusive apps. Erratic heart-rate monitor. Thick bezel. Hazy screen.
AT A GLANCE
51 x 39.9 x 7.9 ~ 9.4 mm
The ZenWatch uses a clip on charging cradle that fits snugly onto the back of the watch.
The ZenWatch’s settings button is hidden on the underside of the watch.