The Asus ZenWatch 2, which starts at AED 799, is relatively inexpensive in the realm of Android Wear-based smartwatches. It’s a slightly more refined take on its predecessor, and could be a decent choice if you’re looking to get into the world of wearables, though some caveats apply.
The Zenwatch 2 comes in two sizes. The face on the smaller 1.45-inch version measures 1.78 by 1.46 by 0.41 inches (HWD), weighs 60-gms, and features 280-by-280-pixel resolution. The larger 1.63-inch version comes in at 1.96 by 1.46 by 0.37 inches (HWD), weighs 71-gms, and has 320-by-320-pixel resolution.
Prices vary depending on your case and strap combination. The ZenWatch 2 comes with rounded corners and a metal crown. In terms of size, the ZenWatch 2 more closely resembles its fellow Android Wear watches, which tend to be larger. And the stiff leather band makes the case jut out, so it rarely sat right on my arm.
The watch has a physical crown button at the three o’clock position. You can press it quickly to activate the watch face or hold it down to power the watch on or off. You can also hold it for a second to access Android Wear’s Settings card.
Rated IP67, the ZenWatch 2 can survive a dunk in water up to three feet for 30 minutes. You can’t take it for a swim, though, and if you get the leather band you should probably keep it out of water completely.
The main reason the ZenWatch 2 is a bit large is due to the big, black bezel arround the display. The ZenWatch 2’s screen is bright and sharp, and we did not come across any difficulty in reading the screen under direct sunlight.
The watch can be paired with Bluetooth 4.1 devices running Android 4.3 or later, and, thanks to Android Wear’s latest updates, with Apple devices running iOS 8.2 or later. To pair it, you need to download the free Android Wear app on your mobile device, then follow the simple on-screen instructions. I paired the ZenWatch 2 with a Huawei Mate S in about five minutes.
The Asus ZenWatch 2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. It only packs a couple of sensors in its body, including an accelerometer and a gyrometer. You won’t find a heart rate monitor or GPS here, like you will in some other Android Wear options.
You get all the standard Android Wear features with the Asus ZenWatch 2, like notifications for text messages and social media, and the ability to dictate replies via voice. Since the latest software update, you can now read entire emails and and text messages rather than just snippets. You can flick your wrist to scroll through notifications or weather reports, too, although doing so isn’t very elegant.
Other than that, navigating Android Wear is the same as it has been. You slide through cards over and over via a vertical UI. Besides the Android Wear app, you can also use the free ZenWatch Manager app, where you can select over 50 customizable watch faces.
It’s easy to use and navigate despite a somewhat busy layout, plus you can add extra information widgets to your watch face like a calendar, a calorie counter, and a weather notifier. You can also track some basic fitness stats and find your phone through the app.
Battery life is quite good. During testing, the watch lasted about two days on a single charge. To extend the battery life slightly, you can dim the screen by setting the watch to ambient mode.
The Asus ZenWatch 2 is about as good as other Android Wear-based alternatives. For the starting price of AED 799, the Asus ZenWatch 2 offers you a low entry ticket into the Android Wear arena.