Review by Sunetra Chakravati,4/4/2016 4:02:01 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Premium looks | Metal watch frame | Android Wear apps
Battery is an issue | some connectivity issues
Which is where the ASUS ZenWatch 2 scores well with me. The rounded-square design sits very well on broad wrists and is very comfortable to wear. The mostly stainless steel design speaks of good build quality and it is a very smart looking kit. The design is streamlined and therefore not as clunky as some of the other smart watches I have tried recently. My review watch was the gun-metal option (you also have silver and gold) and the now omnipresent Gorilla Glass finishes off the overall look.
The screen is a curved Gorilla Glass and gives the clarity required of a watch. In fact, that’s the probably one of the strongest features of the Zen 2. The display is crisp and vibrant, the different watch faces come out strikingly well and all the icons and read-outs are crystal clear. There is no trouble in readability in sunlight, inside the room or with the lights off. It is supposed to be water resistant – I had it on a few times when it was raining but haven’t tried swimming with it yet.
In terms of features, the Zen 2 allows for steps to be tracked (which is one of the few uses I will grudgingly give a smart watch), along with distance travelled and calories burnt. While it does not have a heart rate monitor, I didn’t feel the overwhelming need for one.
I used my ZenWatch 2 with a iPhone 6 (no, I don’t need a 6S yet) and the integration was relatively simple. I had to keep the Android Wear app open on the phone and sometimes I did pick up a slight lag in the phone which could be because of the connectivity with the watch, but I wasn’t able to verify it. Notifications were smooth – I had paired it with my work phone so calendar invites, LinkedIn notifications and calls appeared seamlessly. There were some teething troubles in getting it paired, but my wife put it down to my lack of technology awareness. It integrates well with Apple Music as well – allowing the user to pause or skip tracks. The small notification window at the bottom stays on the screen if you want it (in case you forget what song you are listening to) or you can swipe down to get rid of it.
The interface is simple – I used the swipe left option more often than the physical button. It takes a little time to get used to what swipe provides what information, but once you get a hang of it, its pretty straight forward.
The controlling the interface with hand movements was a hit-and-miss. Even the basic flicking of the wrist to get the watch face to turn on for me to look at the time worked 7 out of 10 times. It’s a bit frustrating to have to reach out and tap the screen just to know what the time is. The Zen 2 is definitely not the only one which has this issue. I tried some of the scroll up / down options and it was again, not a consistent function.
The battery lasted for less than 2 days in regular mode – with the low battery usage “always on”, it made it to end of day 2 with between 15-20% charge left. Which I think is pretty damn good. My usage had a high volume of notifications, music on for about 6-90 minutes and a fair bit of fiddling around with the watch faces etc.
For £150, I will. I think it gives me a lot of more option on the way I want my watch to look and provides a lot more functionality (notifications, health monitor) than the lower end of branded Swiss watches. The battery life definitely is a deal breaker, but that I presume, is an industry-wide problem to solve.
Size: 49.6 x 40.7 x 9.4 ~ 10.9 mm
Operating System: Android Wear
Storage: 512MB RAM; 4GB storage
Controls: Voice, touchscreen
Other features: Curved Gorilla Glass 3; IP67; Bluetooth, Wi-fi