Review: ASUS ZenWatch 2

ASUS-ZenWatch-2_thumbTwo months ago I reviewed the ASUS ZenWatch with solid features that sold for an impressive $199.99 compared to the Apple Watch or other Android Wear smartwatches.

Now just 6 months later, ASUS has introduced a follow-up, the ZenWatch 2 for an even better value starting at an amazing $129. Just like Apple’s pricing, the ZenWatch 2 offers two sizes with a variety of watchbands from rubber to stainless steel.

Two Sizes

The ASUS ZenWatch 2 comes in two sizes: 1.63” (the larger model) that is the exact same size as ASUS’ previous model or a 1.45” size for smaller wrists. The larger model has a 320 x 320 pixel display and the smaller one has a 280 x 280 display.

ASUS has a different pricing approach than Apple. Its larger model is $129 while it’s smaller one is $149. The reason presumably is that the smaller model costs more to manufacture.

Cases

On last year’s model, stainless steel was the only option. With the ZenWatch 2 you canasus-zenwatch-2 now select from silver, gunmetal or rose-gold.

Both models feature the crisp AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Digital Crown

This new watch has a digital crown on its right side, but it’s no match for the Apple Watch. This crown has several functions: (1) Home button, (2) Setting screen or (3)

On/off power switch.

The previous model had its power button on the back of the watch making it extremely difficult to access. The digital crown is a welcome change.

Charger

The previous ZenWatch offered a cradle charger. Just insert your smartwatch into the cradle that is attached to a USB cable connected to a power brick.

With the ZenWatch 2, instead of a cradle you just have a USB cable with a magnetic end that attaches to the underside of the watch. No dock is available.

Charging speeds have improved as well. It just takes 36 minutes to get up to a 50% charge. Can Apple do that? The watch can last 1-2 days before charging depending upon usage.

Features

Most of the features of the ZenWatch 2 are comparable to the previous model. It uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM.

The water resistance certification has been improved to IP67. This means that the watch is totally protected against dust contact and can stand short-term water depth up to 1 meter.

Negatives

The only omission of this watch is that it is lacking a heart monitor that was offered on last year’s ZenWatch. This replacement, however, still offers a built-in pedometer to track your steps.

Evaluation

One of the best selling points of the Apple Watch is its range of options in both sizes and watchbands that are available. ASUS is making a similar move to its new ZenWatch lineup. Now you have a choice of sizes and bands at a much lower price point.

If you have been looking for an up-to-date smartwatch loaded with features at an extremely reasonable price point, seriously consider the ASUS Zenwatch 2. It may not have all the bells and whistles of Apple and Android watches, but it does cover the bases quite well.

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