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.
The Gunmetal version arrived for testing with a leather strap — textured blue on the outside and smooth brown on the inside.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When worn under the delivery model, everything is very comfortable — the watch is not heavy and is easy to use.
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).
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.
The only thing is that there is no anti-reflective coating; curved glass glares even from flatter glass.
Asus ZenWatch 2 runs Android Wear 1.3. Synchronization with a smartphone is only possible if it has the application of the same name.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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$.
- improved personalization;
- stainless steel housing;
- high-quality display;
- easy replacement of the bracelet.
- the need for daily recharging.