The ASUS ZenWatch is one of the most affordable smartwatches in the market and one of the most affordable Android Wear powered smartwatches specifically. It’s been out for some time now but that doesn’t really mean anything or take anything away from this watch as it can still compete very well with some of the top smartwatches currently on the market. For example, I compared it to the Moto 360, which you can watch here if you like, and it competed very well. But in this video, I want to go over some of my likes and dislikes of this device starting with the likes.
First of all, I really like the build construction. It’s crafted with an aluminum frame that is cool to the touch and sits well on the wrist without giving off any sort of that cheap, sticky or slimy plastic feeling. I really like how thin it is. It’s not very bulky, which also makes it feel comfortable on the wrist. There’s a very nice, subtle curved glass front panel that protects the curved 1.63-inch AMOLED display that looks good, although the bezels could be trimmed down significantly in turn for a bigger display.
I really don’t like the stock leather wrist band included with the base model ZenWatch. But on the flip side, I do love that it can be easily removed and swapped out for pretty much any other watch strap of your choice. All you need to do is take it to a watch shop and take out your band. Something as simple as that is not possible with many other smartwatches.
The ASUS ZenWatch also performs very well. There’s a Snapdragon 400 processor inside of here, which does a great job loading and allowing you to scroll through various cards on the fly. And it does feel good doing so with the very subtle curved display. I was able to get through a full day of use with the ASUS ZenWatch, scrolling through cards and using the watch on and off. Although, I did charge the ASUS ZenWatch each night to make sure that the battery would last me through the next day. Battery life is pretty solid. I mean it’s not great but it’s not the worst either.
Now as with many of the likes, my dislikes are all over the place. Like I mentioned, I don’t like the stock wristband but that isn’t too big of a deal because you can easily swap it out. Now, there’s also no heart rate monitor on the bottom of the device, which we typically see with most smartwatches. Instead, ASUS has equipped the ZenWatch with a biosensor that sounds pretty cool and can measure your stress levels and your heart rate. But it doesn’t do a very good job at all. You’re definitely not going to want to use this watch to accurately measure any sort of health data. It just doesn’t do that great of a job but it does look pretty cool pressing your fingers on the sides of the bezels to read your heart rate. I’ll give it that.
There’s also no wireless charging. ASUS included a little 5-pin charging cradle, which you’ll have to attach to the back of the watch each time you want to charge it. It’s not too big of a deal but wireless charging would be much more convenient.
Also, the display is an AMOLED display panel that does save some battery and delivers more deep and accurate black colors. But it doesn’t get very bright and there’s no ambient light sensor to help adjust to various lighting conditions. And the display itself has a very noticeable yellow tint to it, which is pretty hard to overlook.
I also mentioned performance is good, which I liked, but I specifically don’t like the voice surge since it takes a very long time to get results from the time you speak your command. It takes much longer than, say, the Moto 360 and I’m willing to bet most other Android Wear devices. I found that it can be fast but as with the flashback I just showed you, it’s kind of all over the place.
So those are the pros & cons that I found. For $200, I can’t expect this watch to be perfect and it’s obviously not. But that doesn’t mean it is a bad smartwatch. If you’re looking for a budget smartwatch that won’t break the bank, you have an Android device and you prefer the design over the functionality; then I think the ASUS ZenWatch is the one to beat. It’s very customizable, you can swap out the straps and you can customize the watch face with the free ZenWatch Manager app. If you plan using this watch to send a ton of voice messages or significantly reduce the amount of time you pull your phone out of your pocket, then this probably won’t be the best option for you.
With that said, let me know what you think of the ASUS ZenWatch by leaving me a comment below.