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Asus ZenWatch 2 review: It convinced me to wear a smartwatch every day

Florence Ion | Oct. 16, 2015
It's a solid, stylish device with a battery that lasts the entire workday.

Speaking of which, I found the ZenWatch 2’s default watchband to be very comfortable, though it took a while for it to loosen up. If you do want to swap out watchbands, you can do so easily with the built-in pushpin band release. You may have to grab a watch band removal tool if you plan to latch on third-party bands, however.

Inside, it’s like any other watch

The ZenWatch 2 performs like any other Android Wear watch. It runs on a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 with 512MB of RAM and features 4GB of onboard storage for music and things. It also has a built-in microphone and is IP67-rated for water resistance. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, too, but no heart rate monitor, so it’s not the type of watch meant for you athletic types. I’m personally okay with that, since I only use the step counter and don’t typically wear devices when hiking or practicing yoga.

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The ZenWatch 2 charged with a magnetic cord, so there’s no worries about carrying around a dock with you everywhere you go. Credit: Florence Ion

Battery life is what particularly impressed me. I’d unlatch the ZenWatch 2 from its magnetic charging cord at about 8 in the morning, and when I’d return home at about 7 in the evening the watch still had about half of its battery life. Then I’d take it off my wrist, leave it on the dresser with the rest of my jewelry, and it’d still be kicking strong well into the next morning. I brought the charging cord with me to work the next morning and the ZenWatch 2 still had about 17 percent juice left by the time I clocked in at around 9:30 AM.

Since the cord is just a cord—not one of those annoying docks that bulks up your bag—it’s easy to stow. The ZenWatch 2 also supports fast charging and you can easily charge it up fully in just an hour and a half.

A word about bloatware

Back in Berlin, I complained that the ZenWatch 2 came bundled with a bunch of bloatware, like Asus’s own messaging and fitness applications. I’m happy to report that none of those apps were on the watch when I received my review unit. Instead, you can choose to download them individually from the Google Play Store.

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The ZenWatch 2 actually offers some helpful apps, if you wanna download them from the Google Play Store. Credit: Florence Ion

I actually installed the ZenWatch Wellness app just to check it out. It’s not too bad. It buzzes every hour to remind you to get your butt up off your chair and around the office for a walk. (My coworkers and I found ourselves taking frequent walks together to keep our respective wearable devices from bugging us about being active.) It doesn’t intrude with any other fitness apps you might have installed and, at the very least, it reminds you to get up once in a while—which basic Android Wear and Google Fit don’t do just yet.

 

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