This review was originally published on Twenty First Tech
Smartwatches are everywhere. You have multifunctional smartwatches from the likes of Pebble and dedicated iOS-only ones like the Apple Watch, and you have the other Android Wears like the Asus Zenwatch 2 that was launched end of last year in Singapore.
The Asus Zenwatch 2 is the signature wearable from Asus that doesn’t compromise style, despite being on sale at an affordable price of $229. It is by all means a decent device that is well worth its price tag.
The Zenwatch 2 is an aesthetic piece of art. It looks simple, yet pleasing. It’s glassy surface encased in a durable stainless steel case. It does remind us of the Apple Watch, but yet at the same time, it is by no means a clone of Apple’s smartwatch.
With customisable leather straps, the Zenwatch 2 further gives off a very luxurious feel that we most definitely appreciate. It’s also very comfortable on the wrist.
It isn’t just another brittle pretty device, it’s actually remarkably resilient. It is sweat and splashproof so it can survive the shower and a heavy storm. It’s also light, coming in at only 60g, which feels good on the wrist.
There is only one button on the watch, this is the Home button that can be used to navigate back to the main menu or power on and off the watch. That was simplistic and honestly, all we needed.
The screen is either 1.45 or 1.63 inches and the resolution on the screen is nothing to complain about. The colours on screen look great and illuminating as well.
The brightness can be adjusted according to your preference. I set it to about 2 for the sake of saving battery.
In order to extend the battery life, you can set the watch screen to be off at most times and only wake when you flick your wrist or double tap the screen.
The watch face can be highly customised as well. We thought that was pretty epic. The variety of styles available left us spoilt for choice and we were more than pleased by the designs offered.
For communication, you can read/send texts and WhatsApp messages just by commanding it to by voice. Yes, it can hear you. However, it does have some issues trying to intepret our Singaporean accent. I don’t consider myself to be much of a Singlish speaker, so the accuracy of voice recognition could most definitely be improved. Don’t rely on it to send long messages. Simple things like “Alright, I will get back to you” should not be a problem though.
For productivity purposes, you can set events on your Agenda or Calender to schedule your day. You can see a forecast of events on the Agenda page of the watch which is pretty useful. You can also set reminders for yourself without whipping out your phone so I loved that.
It also has a Zenwatch Wellness Feature that tracks your steps, calories burned and sleep data which is pretty comprehensive and links it to Google Fit. The step tracking was surprisingly accurate and sleep data was rather comprehensive. It isn’t a dedicated fitness tracker so don’t expect too much from it. However, you can take it out on runs, but if you want to track your distance, you must bring along your smartphone since it doesn’t have GPS.
The vibration on the watch can be used as an alternative means for you to receive notifications from texts or calls and can also be used as a silent alarm to wake you up without disturbing your partner.
Something pretty cool was actually the Remote Camera function that lets you control your phone’s camera from your watch, so you can see your shots from the watch itself. This is incredibly useful if you want to use it as a manual shutter instead of using self-timers.
There are too many features to be listed here, but you can think of the Zenwatch 2 as essentially a virtual assistant on your wrist.
This is where the Zenwatch 2 falls short. The battery life for my was about 1-2 days. Bear in mind, I was a very conservative user who turned off the screen most of the time. If you leave the screen on, you might have the watch dying off within a day. However, it charges pretty quickly within 1-2 hours, so that was a lifesaver for the Zenwatch 2.
It uses a magnetic cradle to charge the watch, which is pretty innovative. However, if you leave or lose your charger somewhere, you are pretty much doomed considering the battery life on this device. If it used a mini-USB charger, we thought that would be more convenient for users.
The Zenwatch 2 is an affordable powerhouse we would most definitely recommend to anyone in the market for a smartwatch. With the intelligent gestures and features on this device, it’s most definitely a versatile beauty.