Review: ASUS ZenWatch

asus_90nz0011_m00010_zenwatch_android_smartwatch_brown_1421709650000_1112696If you buy any Apple Watch you have many choices although all of them involve the type of watchband or body you prefer. The mechanism itself is the same with prices ranging from $349 to $17,000. Currently, the Apple Watch only works with an iPhone 5 and up.

If you have an Android watch, however, you have more choices. Smartwatches are made for Android by Motorola, LG, Samsung, Sony and others. And within each smartwatch model you have case and band choices. Only Pebble offers the user a choice between iOS and Android platforms.

To make things simpler, most of these manufacturers have adopted Google’s Android Wear OS. So for whatever watch you choose, the operation while not identical will be very similar.

After having purchased 4 of these watches, I have found some considerations that I did not like. Features were the most common but price was a major issue. My last smartwatch was an LG Watch Urbane, a stylish model loaded with features. But it also came with a $350 price tag.

On the heels of this purchase, I discovered that the ASUS ZenWatch I previously considered had lowered its price from $199 to $150. This caused me to reappraise the ZenWatch.

Features

Size – One of the most attractive features of the LG Watch Urbane was its size—a 1421709397000_IMG_458603circular 1.3” P-OLED display.   The ZenWatch has a rectangular 1.63” AMOLED display. This watch has an even thinner case than most of the other watches on the market at 7.9mm. (Even thinner than Apple’s!)

Processor – Both of these watches use the same processor: a Qualcomm® 1.2GHz Snapdragon™ 400 processor.

Memory – If memory is an important issue, both of these phones offer 4GB of internal storage.

Backlit Display – The ZenWatch offers an “always on” display that cancels the full display and just presents the time with a limited black background. This is a key feature that needs to be addressed in the next generation of the Apple Watch line.

Case – Like many of the higher priced competitors, the ZenWatch has a stainless steel case with an attractive gold stripe on the side to match the leather band.

Band – The ZenWatch offers an attractive light brown leather strap that matches the gold stripe on the edge of the case. The band is a standard 22mm size and can be replaced with any band found at most retailers.

Heart Rate Monitor – Place two fingers on the watch’s bezel to get your heart rate.

Negatives

Like most watches, the ASUS ZenWatch has a few features that should have been included.

The watch comes with a charging cradle and micro-USB cable. This cradle has a small tight fit. An improvement would have been to have a wireless charging dock, like that on the Moto 360.

Since the case is smaller than other smartwatches on the market, the battery is smaller as well. As a result, it can only hold a one-day charge. Other similar models have a 1 to 1-1/2 day charge. You need to plan to charge this phone every night as a regular bedtime procedure.

Evaluation

Unlike the Apple world, you have many choices with an Android watch. You can get a barebones Pebble watch for as little as $100 or spend as much as $350 for the LG Watch Urbane depending on what features you need.

But if you are looking for an up-to-date smartwatch loaded with features at an extremely reasonable price point, seriously consider the ASUS Zenwatch.

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