The smartwatch market is not yet very saturated, but there is already a clear division into low-cost mass models with simple, functional and more original devices with popular manufacturing and unusual electronic components. It is to the smartwatch that you can connect ZenWatch from ASUS, which, without a doubt, can attract attention to its owner when it is on the wrist.
Specifications ASUS ZenWatch WI500Q
- Screen: AMOLED, 1.63”, 320×320, capacitive
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz
- Operating system: Android Wear 5.0.2.
- RAM: 512 MB.
- Built-in memory: 4 GB
- Wireless interfaces: Bluetooth 4.0.
- Sensors: accelerometer, heart rate monitor, digital compass.
- Battery: 1.4 Wh
- Dimensions: 51×39.9×9.4 mm
- Weight: 50 grams
The ASUS ZenWatch smart watch is housed in a black cardboard box with an almost cubic shape.
The entire interior is also made of black cardboard – most likely, this should emphasize that the gadget belongs to the luxury class.
Inside the box are the watch itself, a power lock, and a USB cable.<=>micro-USB, docking station and documentation set.
ASUS positions ZenWatch as a premium-level smartwatch, because special attention is paid to the design of the device, which is quite obvious: the watch case is made of stainless steel, along the perimeter of the device there is an insert coated in rose gold color, the protective glass is slightly curved. .
The strap supplied with the watch is made of light brown genuine leather. If desired, it can be changed to any other with standard 22 mm mounts.
The back panel of the watch, in contrast to the polished edges and front edging, is made matte (reminiscent of titanium). At the bottom there is a five-pin connector for charging and connecting to a PC via a docking station, and on the right is a small power button. You will have to press this button mainly to turn the device on and off, since when the watch is on your hand, it is difficult to reach it.
There are no other elements in the body of the gadget, with the exception of the microphone on the left border.
If the design of the device is really up to par, then two small mistakes were noticed in the ergonomics. The first is that the length of the watch is more than five centimeters, while the bottom panel is completely flat. As a result, your gadget will be thin on your wrist on the kitchen sofa, so before buying a smart watch you should definitely try it on your hand.
The second drawback is the construction of the strap clasp. On the one hand, the mechanism is very convenient from the point of view of putting on and taking off the watch: it is enough to tighten the strap once to a wider angle so that the proprietary metal clasp mechanism takes over all the work. On the other hand, this mechanism is thick, which makes it difficult to work at the computer for several hours.
The described shortcomings are the price to pay for an excellent appearance, and what is important, everyone must decide for themselves.
But the watch case is protected according to the IP55 standard, which allows the device not to be afraid of splashes and splashes of water – you can wash your hands in ZenWatch without fear for the functionality of the device. However, you should not swim or take a shower – the smartwatch cannot operate while submerged, and water may damage the appearance of the leather strap.
ASUS smart watches are equipped with displays with a 1.63-inch AMOLED matrix with a resolution of 320×320 pixels. The resolution is not very high and, let’s be honest, the pixelation of the image is noticeable to the naked eye, although we cannot say that this somehow interferes with working with the phone. But AMOLED displays, when turning on the “duty” black and white dials, consume much less energy than IPS matrices, which positively depends on autonomy in the always-on screen mode.
The viewing angles are generous, and there are no complaints about the quality of color rendering. The image on the screen is easy to read during the day even at medium backlight levels. Of course, the maximum level of illumination by the rays of the spring sun would be more comfortable, but ASUS ZenWatch, unfortunately, does not have a light sensor, and hardly anyone will constantly change the brightness manually.
The screen is covered with protective glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which, in turn, has an oleophobic coating.
ASUS ZenWatch runs on Android Wear wireless system version 5.0.2. Despite the fact that the portable platform is not particularly suitable for deep customization, the manufacturer has used all possible devices to distinguish the watch from others.
To control the external functions of the watch on a smartphone, adding to the mandatory Android Wear program, you need to install the ASUS proprietary application – ZenWatch Manager. In accordance with Google’s requirements for working with Android Wear, the smartphone must have an operating system of at least Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and support Bluetooth 4.0.
In addition to a number of standard watch faces for Android Wear, ZenWatch Manager allows you to install 25 more on your watch, most of which can be further customized by changing their color, background image or information displayed.
The dials in ZenWatch Manager are divided into several categories: “Convenient” (simple pointers with an inclination to display the weather, day of the week and second time zone), “Bright” (unusual hands with a large selection of colors), “Precision” (sporty hands with information about activity), “Operational” (switch and digital with a closed background image and a cover for any additional information for display) and “Mechanism” (classic switches with gears and minimal color customization).
Among the useful functions of ZenWatch Manager, it is worth noting the watch search function (since the watch does not have a speaker, the gadget can only vibrate, so you can only find it within one room). It will also be possible to turn off the beep or alarm, close the screen and turn off the phone (the watch will vibrate if the connection with the smartphone is lost).
Using the “Phone Assistant” application on ZenWatch, you can configure it and do the opposite – search for a smartphone using a smart watch.
Another section in ZenWatch Manager is called “Utilities”. In it you can configure the so-called “SOS message” – text and numbers to which SMS will be sent in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, we were unable to launch the mechanism of this provided instance of the clock using the Google Now voice command.
The alternative of moving to menu items in case of emergency is, of course, not so fast and convenient. You can also turn on a flashlight from the utilities section (a simple fill of the screen with one color, switchable by pressing anywhere) – its usefulness is rather conditional if you have a clock on your smartphone, as well as a digital compass.
In addition to a compass and a flashlight, the smart watch comes pre-installed with three programs for monitoring the bank. This is the standard Google Fit application for Android Wear, the UP application from Jawbone, the capabilities of which we examined in detail in a separate review of the Jawbone UP move tracker, as well as a proprietary utility from ASUS called Wellness. It is the last one that is most interesting, so we will talk about it. When launched on a smartphone, Wellness shows your statistics divided into two categories: “body” and “spirit”. Everything is clear with the first section: it shows activity data collected using a smartwatch – time, number of steps, distance traveled, calories burned, as well as the percentage level of movement goals achieved for the day. But the second category turned out to be extremely unusual: it gradually measured “relaxation” (in fact, the level of relaxation) and gave useful tips for increasing it.
Attentive readers have probably already noticed that the ASUS ZenWatch does not have the usual switch for most wearable devices on the wrist for an optical heart rate monitor. As shown when launching the Wellness app on your smartwatch, you can measure your heart rate or relaxation by tapping the pointer and switches on the frames on the sides of the display. The manufacturer does not disclose the operating principles of such a heart rate monitor, but it can be assumed that the smart watch measures the potential difference between the fingers. If this is indeed the case, then the way to measure the emotional state becomes clear – this is precisely the principle on which galvanic skin reflex sensors work. However, whether for pulse or for relaxation, the method of measuring potential difference cannot be called accurate, since this indicator shows not only changes in the environment (primarily humidity), but also the cleanliness of your hands. This is more of an image feature; athletes will probably prefer more accurate methods.
In addition, ASUS additionally offers two more good smartwatch apps that can be installed from Google Play. Firstly, ZenWatch Music allows you to download music from your smartphone to the device’s memory, after which you can listen to it offline when you connect Bluetooth headphones directly to the smartwatch.
The second program, Remote Camera, as the name implies, allows you to control the charging of your smartphone directly from ZenWatch. This camera has noticeably fewer settings than conventional applications.
You can change the strap mode, switch between the main and front cameras, enable a five-second self-timer, and record video. Some screen functions can also be controlled with the screen clock: the trigger is triggered either by a tap on the mind or by turning the wrist.
The device in operation
The ASUS smartwatch platform uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset with a clock frequency of 1.2 GHz. The exact model of the processor used is unknown, but in any case, the performance of such a chip is now significantly ahead of the requirements for conventional smartwatches. There are no slowdowns in the interface or application components in ASUS ZenWatch, everything works as smoothly as possible. In the AnTuTu benchmark, the gadget scored 4618 points, which in our opinion is not so low.
The amount of flash memory in ZenWatch is 4 GB, part of it is reserved for system memory, and the other can be used to store programs, photos, music and other files.
ZenWatch received a lithium-polymer battery with a capacity of 1.4 Wh. The gadget is charged using the included docking station, which has a micro-USB input for connecting a cable and a five-pin pad for charging and data transfer. Next to the micro-USB connector is a faintly placed white LED that signals when the docking station is connected to the charger. The dock is made of black soft plastic, and when connected to it, the watch simply snaps tightly into place without the use of any additional devices such as magnets
When the ASUS ZenWatch battery is fully charged, it can work for two honest working days with the screen always on, which displays the “duty” dial. This mode of use also involves periodic viewing (when the lighting brightness is turned on), reading the protocol and reacting to events. If you constantly run hourly programs and keep the screen on even at an average voltage level, the battery charge will barely last for a day. On the other hand, you can save money by turning off the power to the duty dial and turning on the wrist to turn the flashlight towards you – the battery life can be extended to almost three days.
The ASUS ZenWatch smartwatch turned out to be an interesting, but not entirely universal device. Undoubtedly, this gadget will appeal to those who love the original appearance and luxury goods (this is how the manufacturer positions the new product, despite the fact that it has a more than affordable price), as well as unusual technical solutions, which include a heart rate monitor and a light guide . The ability to measure the emotional state of the owner. On the other hand, smart watches are difficult to recommend to those who want to purchase a universal gadget with a practical design, especially if they are going to use it for sports. But despite everything shown, the ZenWatch is a decent smartwatch that we’re confident will fill its niche.
- steel case and genuine leather strap;
- a large selection of standard dials and the ability to customize them;
- protection from moisture;
- battery life.
- The pulse measurement method is insufficiently detected;