Review: Zenwatch 2

The Zenwatch 2 is one of the more affordable smart watches around, and Asus has just announced an improved Hypercharge model (charges faster!) at the same price. It’s available in two different sizes, so you can pick the right one for your wrist size. Here’s my review of the first generation “Wren”, which I think will be more suitable for ladies.

The Zenwatch 2 offers specs similar to other Android Wear devices, and the main differentiator is the design.

The Zenwatch 2 offers a square display and there’s a gentle curve to the face, for a more elegant feel. The bezels are rather big though. making it look rather bulky. The bands are held in place by quick-release pins, and you can replace them with your own choice of 18mm / 22mm bands. Charging is via a magnetic USB cable. The battery typically lasts a full day, with a little more to spare. By night, it is typically around 20-30%.

What’s different on the Zenwatch 2 compared to others?

  • Asus phone / ZenUI compatibility
  • inbuilt speaker on Sparrow model (can answer phone calls)
  • Crown button
  • No Heart Rate Monitor
  • No GPS

The Zenwatch 2 works with both Android and iOS devices. However, the current Android Wear with Apple iPhone experience is significantly limited. You are limited to Notifications (minimal interaction) and Google Now support.

That being said, that’s probably the most useful part of smart watches today. Notifications. My wife used it with her iPhone for an entire week, and she finds the incoming notifications useful so that she need not check her phone so often. It passed the design test as well, and the small watch face seem to suit her wrist better, as compared to my LG G Watch R.

Works with iPhone too!

ASUS has provided a wide range of case, band and size options with the Zenwatch 2. I have here with me the smaller 45mm model, with silver case and tan leather band. The case options are available in rose gold, silver, gunmetal, and the bands are available in various colours, in leather and metal band options.

ASUS also provides several apps for Android that let you add additional functionality to your ZenWatch 2. These apps include FaceDesigner (create custom watch faces), Remote Camera (control your Android phone camera), Music (sync and manage music stored on your smartwatch), and Wellness. They work with other Android phones too, not just Asus Zenphones.

With the ZenWatch Manager on your Android smartphone you can toggle a setting to have your watch vibrate if you get out of range of your phone, manage calls after you answer on your phone, and customize your smartwatch experience.

zenwatch manager

Refresh Model

ASUS recently announced the availability of the latest refresh model of ZenWatch 2 with the ASUS exclusive Hypercharge function and longer battery life. The refresh model of ZenWatch 2 can charge up to 60% of battery within 15 minutes, which is twice as fast as the previous ZenWatch 2 model. It has one of the longest battery life in the market, as market research has shown that users who bought smartwatches value battery life and design over other factors.

The battery capacity seems to be the same or slightly decreased, as the tech spec indicate the new Sparrow and Wren model to have capacities of 380mAH and 290mAH respectively (a drop from 400mAH and 300mAH). Since Asus is promising longer battery life, I am not sure if it is due to software improvements. I will update when Asus shares more details.

In addition, the refresh model of the ZenWatch 2 is also updated with the latest feature that supports voice call on the wrist (only for the Sparrow model (1.63″ screen). Users can now make phone calls through the smartwatch, thus providing an extra benefit to those who value hands-free connectivity. Furthermore, a sleep tracking feature is also included, where users can track their sleep patterns to understand better the ways they sleep each night. The latest refresh model of the ZenWatch 2 comes with more than 60 customised watch faces which provide a more luxurious and personal look to the wrist device.

The ZenWatch 2 Hypercharge models are retailing at $249 and $319 for the leather and metallic straps respectively at all ASUS Brand Stores and selected authorised retailers.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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