ASUS ZENWATCH

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST -

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

OS

An­droid Wear

Dis­play

1.63-inch AMOLED

IP Rat­ing

IP55

Di­men­sion

51 x 39.9 x 7.9 ~ 9.4 mm

Weight

75g

Price

$299

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.

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