I briefly mentioned the physical appearance of the ZenWatch during our initial unboxing. One of the unique features of the ZenWatch is its design; of course, this may be subjective depending on everyone’s personal taste. The stainless steel bezel is coupled with rose gold accents. The elegant watch face is held together by light brown genuine-stitched Italian leather and a stainless steel clasp. The watch embodies class and sophistication… I’ve been given numerous compliments while wearing this timepiece.
While we are at the subject of appearance, let us highlight the 2.5D curved gorilla glass. The frame of the watch face along with the 1.63” AMOLED is slightly curved to allow for a much more seamless and comfortable wearing experience. The AMOLED display can be adjusted between 6 levels of brightness/intensity. The AMOLED display is more than enough for proper viewing under direct sunlight. I had my watch set at a brightness level of 3 and was able to get a clear view of all notifications and time.
The 1.63” display is incased by a curved edge stainless steel bezel. Aside from giving the watch a more premium appearance, the stainless steel bezel also has a more technical function; the bezel employees what Asus calls the 9 Axis Bio Sensor. The user is able to press his or her index and middle finger on opposite ends of the metal bezel and the Bio Sensor will measure and calculate the user’s heart rate per minute. It is worth noting that the heart rate monitoring function isn’t always accurate, but knowing you have it is quite satisfying. The feature also works as a good conversation starter when you’re out and about.
One single charge can last anywhere between 1.5 to 2.5 days. Of course, the battery life all depends on the overall usage. In my case, I had the watch brightness set to 3, and had notification muted when I am home and overnight. All in all, 1-2 days of usage is fairly practical, especially by today’s smart watch standards. In the near future, we do expect to see longer battery life during software updates and better processors.
Hardware aside, what really makes this watch a smart watch is the intricate brain that operates everything. In this case, the 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Processor powers the Google Android Wear OS.
So, what does this all mean for the average Joe? What does it really feel like to own and experience a smart watch – wearable tech?
From my experience, having the Asus ZenWatch is like having a personal assistant strapped to your wrist. I no longer need to reach deep into my skinny jean pockets and struggle to get my 5.5” Phablet out just so I can check for notifications. Depending on how one arranges his or her apps, whenever there is a notification, the watch will automatically vibrate and alert the user. Furthermore, you can simply bring the watch to eye level and click on the notifications to interact. Depending on the app, you can reply back to messages right on your watch via voice-to-text or view full text and email messages. When at the watch screen, you can simply drag down the screen to mute your notifications and your phone.
Aside from giving you up-to-date information on the weather, fitness (heart rate monitor & pedometer), stocks, and changing music and news, one of my favorite features would have to be the navigation. You can initiate the navigation directly through your watch or input the destination on your Map App. Then you can simply leave your phone aside and just rely on your watch. The watch will vibrate 1 time and show an image to alert an upcoming action. The watch will vibrate 2 times along with an image to prompt the user to take a specific action (turn left, turn right or go straight). This is super handy and works even better when you have the navi speaking through the speakers.
Another function of the ZenWatch (and other smart watches) that really impressed me is the “find my phone” function. Using your watch, you’re able to trigger your phone to ring, thus allowing you to find your phone if you were to ever misplace it. The Android Wear App Store also has a nifty app called “Pear”. The app will automatically trigger your watch to vibrate and alert the user with a message when your watch is out of range from your phone’s Bluetooth. You can also use Pear to trigger your smartphone to ring to find your device.
Were there any issues with the OS? Of course! For starters, the Bluetooth connectivity between the watch, my phone, and my car had frequent disturbances when streaming Spotify music through my car speakers. Then there is the issue of reply to messages. Message apps such as Facebook Messenger and Line all allowed me to use voice-to-text reply. However, when I hit the reply button on my watch for regular text messages, I was unable to reply back. Overall, the pros out weigh the cons. I’m hoping that most of the issues listed above can be fixed during software updates. Being that it is an Android device, you can rest assure that new and improved apps/software will come in the near future.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the Asus ZenWatch. Not only did it allow me to live the life of James Bond and Tony Starks, it also made living in general a lot easier. Let me say this again, sure there are plenty (and there will be even more) smart watches in the marketplace, but if you want something with class, elegance, and style, be sure to check out the Asus ZenWatch as an option. This is no Rolex and definitely no Patek Philippe, but it sure passes as an eye-catching timepiece worth checking out!