Asus Zen­Watch 2, as you can eas­i­ly guess from the name, is the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of smart watch­es from the Tai­wanese com­pa­ny, which were announced exact­ly a year after the first — in Sep­tem­ber 2015. The updat­ed mod­el looks stricter, has changed slight­ly in size, but the “fill­ing” has remained vir­tu­al­ly unchanged. It’s the same proces­sor, almost the same screen, and the body is also made of stain­less steel. What has Asus been doing all year, and why are the new watch­es bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous ones?

Specifications Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q)

  • Screen: 1.63”, 320×320, 278 ppi
  • Proces­sor: Quad-core Qual­comm Snap­drag­on 400, 1.2 GHz
  • Graph­ics accel­er­a­tor: Adreno 305
  • Oper­at­ing sys­tem: Android Wear 1.3.
  • RAM: 512 MB.
  • Built-in mem­o­ry: 4 GB
  • Wire­less inter­faces: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g, Blue­tooth 4.1 LE.
  • Sen­sors: Six-axis sen­sor (micr­o­gy­ro­scope, accelerom­e­ter)
  • Secu­ri­ty: IP67
  • Bat­tery: 400 mAh, non-remov­able
  • Dimen­sions: 49.6×40.7×9.4~10.9 mm
  • Weight: 56 grams

Packaging and equipment

The Asus Zen­Watch 2 smart watch is pre­sent­ed in a small blue box. The pack­ag­ing con­tains the mod­el name, man­u­fac­tur­er logos, an image of the device and frag­ments of bar­codes on the back side. Here, in par­tic­u­lar, you can find out the col­or of the mod­el and the mate­r­i­al of the strap. The deliv­ery set includes: the watch itself, a pow­er adapter with a cur­rent of 1 A and a spe­cial four-pin charg­ing cable with mag­net­ic fas­ten­ers.

Appearance

The Gun­metal ver­sion arrived for test­ing with a leather strap — tex­tured blue on the out­side and smooth brown on the inside.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The front side of the watch is cov­ered with 2.5D Corn­ing Goril­la Glass 3. The dis­play is rec­tan­gu­lar, which gives tone to the design of the device. Let’s imme­di­ate­ly note a fair­ly large frame around the dis­play: about half a cen­time­ter on the sides and a wider upper part and a small one. They are made in a beau­ti­ful dark blue col­or and shim­mer a lit­tle under the glass.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The main part of the body is made of stain­less steel. On the right is a mul­ti­func­tion but­ton that looks like the crown of a clas­sic watch.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

On top there is a small eye­let on which the strap is attached. The fas­ten­ing is con­ve­nient, and the belt can be fas­tened with lit­er­al­ly one fin­ger; you just need to hook the ears with your fin­ger­nail.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

A large num­ber of inscrip­tions are applied to the cen­tral part of the rear part of the case: name and mod­el num­ber, infor­ma­tion about the man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­ny and coun­try of pro­duc­tion, input pow­er, as well as cer­ti­fi­ca­tion data. On the right are micro­phone slots, at the bot­tom is a four-pin dock­ing sta­tion for charg­ing the device. Thanks to the mag­nets, the charg­ing wire fits into the groove a lit­tle and quick­ly, you just need to bring it from the log­i­cal side.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The device is well made and leaves a pleas­ant impres­sion. Out­ward­ly, it looks quite strict, but it can also be bright — a lot depends on the num­ber of the dial and strap.

Ergonomics

The clasp on the leather strap is clas­sic, and most users have not had any prob­lems with it.

The watch is con­trolled exclu­sive­ly via the touch screen. The only but­ton locat­ed on the right edge looks like a clas­sic fac­to­ry crown. Its proven three o’clock posi­tion will be com­fort­able for both left- and right-han­ders. You can con­trol the watch with your voice and the “Hey Google” com­mand, as well as with swipe and wrist ges­tures.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

If the watch comes on, it vibrates. In the same way, the device sup­ports user actions.

There could only be one com­plaint about the ergonom­ics of the Asus Zen­Watch 2 — the case is quite long, almost five cen­time­ters (and this is with­out the “ears” on which the strap is attached). How­ev­er, there is a small­er twin mod­el, and if the WI501Q is too big for you, the WI502Q is worth a look — all sizes except body size, screen size and bat­tery capac­i­ty are defined.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

When worn under the deliv­ery mod­el, every­thing is very com­fort­able — the watch is not heavy and is easy to use.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

Screen

The WI501Q mod­el has a square dis­play with a diag­o­nal of 1.63 inch­es, a height of 320x320 pix­els and a back­light of 278 ppi (in the WI502Q — 1.45 inch­es, 280x280, 273 ppi).

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The screen is of very high qual­i­ty: wide view­ing angles, good col­or ren­di­tion and deep blacks. The bright­ness is quite enough: of the five pos­si­ble lev­els, the mid­dle lev­el seems to be the most com­fort­able in most cas­es. To save bat­tery pow­er, you can even set the min­i­mum val­ue, but in this case the screen will “blind” in bright light.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The only thing is that there is no anti-reflec­tive coat­ing; curved glass glares even from flat­ter glass.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

Names

Asus Zen­Watch 2 runs Android Wear 1.3. Syn­chro­niza­tion with a smart­phone is only pos­si­ble if it has the appli­ca­tion of the same name.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The Android Wear plat­form allows you to quick­ly and eas­i­ly set up your gad­get. If you already had a smart watch and have dif­fer­ent watch faces saved on your smart­phone, after syn­chro­niza­tion they will all be avail­able here. If this is your first gad­get, through the “More watch faces” item, you can add a whole range of oth­er infor­ma­tion, both paid and adver­tise­ments, to the pre­set “cov­ers”.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

A pleas­ant sit­u­a­tion in Asus Zen­Watch 2 is the pres­ence of the FaceDesign­er pro­gram, which allows the user to cre­ate a small watch face, both in his heart and in just three steps. The first is choos­ing a flash­light, the sec­ond is choos­ing a reg­u­lar or dig­i­tal clock and set­ting it up, the third is installing var­i­ous wid­gets, for exam­ple, dis­play­ing the weath­er fore­cast, clock or bat­tery lev­el. A true builder for per­son­al­iza­tion.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

There is also an appli­ca­tion called Zen­Watch Man­ag­er, which allows you to use var­i­ous util­i­ties and view data on the sta­tus of the watch: bat­tery lev­el and mem­o­ry usage.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

If you don’t want to spend time cre­at­ing your own watch face, then among the quan­ti­ty required in the Play Mar­ket there will prob­a­bly be a dozen mas­ter­pieces that will suit every­thing.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

Through the Android Wear appli­ca­tion, you can install pro­grams for clients that work with smart watch­es. These could be instant mes­sen­gers, clients of dat­ing ser­vices, social net­works, and so on.

By default, the Google Fit client ser­vice is con­nect­ed to the watch, which allows you to mon­i­tor phys­i­cal activ­i­ty indi­ca­tors. It is also sug­gest­ed to install the Well­ness appli­ca­tion on your smart­phone, which also helps main­tain a healthy lifestyle: it cal­cu­lates phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and counts the steps tak­en, by the way, quite accu­rate­ly.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The main con­trol takes place using the touch dis­play, but the watch also “under­stands” voice com­mands. These could be phras­es like “Cre­ate a note”, “Weath­er in the world” and the like.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

In the appli­ca­tion, you can enable data syn­chro­niza­tion with a cloud ser­vice, dis­able part of the appli­ca­tion, or dis­able them on your smart­phone while the watch is turned on. An addi­tion­al syn­chro­niza­tion option — via Wi-Fi — allows you to link data between your smart­phone and phones if they are on the same net­work, but for some rea­son do not “see” each oth­er via Blue­tooth.

If you swipe down on the dis­play, the noti­fi­ca­tion pan­el will appear: the smart­watch will receive either “All” or “Impor­tant” alerts. Here you can see the bat­tery charge lev­el.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

By going to the sec­ond screen, you can select the “The­ater” mode, which will turn off the lights com­plete­ly. On the third screen it is pos­si­ble to increase the back­light bright­ness to max­i­mum.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

On the last screen — “Set­tings” — you can set the bright­ness lev­el from 1 to 5, change the watch face and sys­tem font size, con­fig­ure Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth, enable ges­ture con­trol, air­plane mode, or select “Always on screen”. Here you can also view infor­ma­tion about the device and firmware, set a lock screen, reset the set­tings to fac­to­ry set­tings, reboot or turn off the watch.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

Slide your hand across the screen or slight­ly upward to turn on Google Now swipe for apps and sug­ges­tions. A swipe from the left of the screen instant­ly eras­es the tooltip to the right—opening up addi­tion­al options, such as launch­ing apps on your phone, quick­ly delet­ing emails, or call­ing back.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

A long press on the sin­gle phys­i­cal but­ton or a “swipe” to the right on the watch face screen opens a menu of appli­ca­tions, smart­phone con­tacts, and a third screen after that pro­vides basic voice com­mands that can be pressed or read—essentially a cheat sheet for the user. Voice search and con­trol can be launched while the screen is active by press­ing “Ok Google.”

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

If the screen is inac­tive for a few sec­onds, it goes into stand­by mode, which con­sumes less pow­er. Most­ly the dis­play works in mono­chrome, but there are a few dials that remain in col­or even in sleep mode. If the dis­play is active, new noti­fi­ca­tions appear at the bot­tom, and the dial itself becomes more col­or­ful.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

The device can show active smart­phone noti­fi­ca­tions, includ­ing new emails, mes­sages, and tips from the Google Now ser­vice.

The device in operation

The “stuff­ing” of Asus Zen­Watch 2 is not sur­pris­ing at all. It’s stan­dard on almost all Android watch­es: a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qual­comm Snap­drag­on 400 proces­sor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of inter­nal stor­age for installing apps and watch faces. You can also down­load tracks from Google Play Music to the inter­nal mem­o­ry and lis­ten to them by con­nect­ing a Blue­tooth head­set.

Dur­ing test­ing, no slow­downs or depen­den­cies were noticed: voice com­mands work reli­ably, all ges­tures work.

Inside the Asus Zen­Watch 2 there is a six-axis sen­sor that com­bines the func­tions of a gyro­scope and an accelerom­e­ter. This sen­sor is based on a pedome­ter, the data from which is used in the Well­ness and Google Fit appli­ca­tions. The func­tion works cor­rect­ly.

Review of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist ZenReview of Asus ZenWatch 2 (WI501Q): wrist Zen

Dur­ing the test­ing peri­od, no seri­ous errors occurred, the watch did not reboot with­out per­mis­sion, and the device exit­ed the stand­by con­di­tions cor­rect­ly and quick­ly.

Wireless interfaces

Asus Zen­Watch 2 is equipped with Wi-Fi ver­sion 802.11 a/b/g and Blue­tooth 4.1 LE. Both worked smooth­ly, with­out any com­plaints. The sig­nal from the smart­phone was nev­er lost, except when the dis­tance was more than 10 meters — crit­i­cal for Blue­tooth.

Autonomous operation

The WI501Q mod­el has a non-remov­able 400 mAh bat­tery (WI502Q has a 300 mAh bat­tery). On the first day of test­ing the aver­age bright­ness, the gad­get last­ed about 10–11 hours, but sub­se­quent­ly showed longer bat­tery life — about a day. At the min­i­mum screen bright­ness lev­el, the device holds a charge for about 30 hours.

Despite the fact that the bat­tery lasts for a day on aver­age, it looks like overnight charg­ing of the gad­get, espe­cial­ly since the wire with mag­net­ic fas­ten­ers is extreme­ly sim­ple and easy to use.

In con­nec­tion with the net­work there is an adapter with a cur­rent of 1A. It takes a lit­tle more charge to ful­ly charge the bat­tery.

Results

Asus Zen­Watch 2 is the sec­ond attempt by the Tai­wanese com­pa­ny to find its place in the sun, and on the best beach. This is very con­ve­nient when using smart watch­es, which please almost every­one, except for the bat­tery life — charg­ing, although fast, must be turned on dai­ly. Pros: Excel­lent mate­ri­als, good dis­play, and user-friend­ly soft­ware that isn’t lim­it­ed by Android Wear. The year at Asus was not in vain; the devel­op­ers thought through and imple­ment­ed addi­tion­al pro­grams that allow you to mon­i­tor your busi­ness and cus­tomize your smart watch as you wish, includ­ing com­plete per­son­al­iza­tion of the dial. In addi­tion, there are two ear­phone devices on the mar­ket — larg­er and small­er, which allows con­ven­tion­al smart­watch­es to solve the issue of long-term vol­ume. The price of WI501Q with a leather strap is 15,10$.

Pros:

  • improved per­son­al­iza­tion;
  • stain­less steel hous­ing;
  • high-qual­i­ty dis­play;
  • easy replace­ment of the bracelet.

Minus­es:

  • the need for dai­ly recharg­ing.