Asus ZenWatch 2 Review


The original ZenWatch from ASUS was a breath of fresh air in the smartwatch industry thanks to its new and beautiful design. However, it wasn’t without faults and the lack of WiFi was a bummer to many especially after the Android 5.1.1 update. The new ZenWatch 2 comes with 2 different models that target different audiences and better protection against the elements thanks to the IP67 rating compared to the IP55 rating of the original. On paper, the smartwatch seems to be a winner but how does it fare in real life? Let’s find out.

Design, Materials and Build Quality


The Asus ZenWatch 2 comes in two different models. A 1.63″ one which is mainly aimed at gents and a smaller 1.45″ one that is aimed at females. In this review, we will be taking a look at the larger variant of the WI501Q with a 1.63″ display. While both the variants have largely rectangular designs with rounded corners, the smaller one is a bit more rounded to appeal to the fairer gender. The basic shape of the smartwatch is quite refreshing as it is a good break from the rounded or completely squarish designs that most manufacturers have chosen to use. Although you can probably make out that it isn’t an analogue watch from the start, it still is quite an elegant piece. It also seems quite versatile and could easily go along with your different styles of clothing and occasions be it formal or casual. The build quality is quite brilliant and it is primarily due to the metal build. The watch casing feels heavy and that adds to the premium feel.


The single button on the right side protrudes ever so slightly more than we’d actually like but it doesn’t disrupt the design flow while the left side has a microphone.


At the back, you have the legal information as well as the model name and number. You also have the four screws that hold the casing tight and make it IP67 rated for protection against dust and water. You also have the magnetic charging port here.


The gunmetal finish of the casing along with the dark blue leather strap seems quite elegant and urban at the same time. If you wish to have a different coloured strap or a strap of different material, you can swap out the one that comes in the box for ones you buy separately. Just make sure that you get a strap size that is 22mm.


Despite having a relatively heavier casing, the Zenwatch 2 actually feels quite light on the wrist. I personally, wear watches with larger sized casing and in turn, they do pack some weight. However, I feel that even someone who isn’t used to wearing a watch all the time won’t have issues adjusting to the weight of it. I never had issues with wrist fatigue even on days with a lot of physical activity.


The leather strap fits well on the hand and the various length settings make it easy to wear regardless of your wrist size. Once you find the perfect settings, you’ll know that its tight enough to stay in place but not loose enough to slide up and down your wrists. The leather strap on the Zenwatch 2 surprisingly doesn’t feel too hot. I’ve always dreaded leather on watches since they often make my wrists sweat below the strap and that can become uncomfortable. However with the case of the Zenwatch 2, that didn’t happen.



Our unit had a 1.63″ AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass on top. The resolution is 320×320 pixels and the contents on the display seemed crisp and vivid. Apart from looking quite good, this glass also makes your swipes and interaction with the display much more intuitive and enjoyable. The display is super smooth and is a joy to use.


The display has really good contrast and brightness. The sunlight legibility is quite good too thanks to the deep blacks and high brightness. In most instances, we didn’t really have to bump up the brightness all the way even though we were under harsh sunlight. However, the display is a bit reflective and some may prefer to leave the brightness on the higher side to compensate for that.


The ZenWatch 2 is rated IP67 for protection against water and dust. In our experience, the smartwatch does well against both the elements however, we don’t recommend going diving or even swimming with the watch as it doesn’t feel at home with it. However, you can be sure that if you do take a shower or get stuck in the rain, the smartwatch will definitely hold up.


The display also quite durable as after 3 weeks of testing, the watch still remains scratch free thanks to the Gorilla Glass 3. In fact, it feels more durable than the Gorilla Glass 3 used on smartphones as most smartphones would definitely have a hairline scratch or so even if they were using the same glass. We used it just like you would use a regular watch and that often involved some accidental contact with metal and other surfaces which would usually leave a mark unless the watch was using sapphire crystal glass.

Software and Performance

The Zenwatch 2 runs on Android Wear and at the time of writing this review, the watch is running on Android Lollipop 5.1.1. The watch supports wireless updates and the Snapdragon 400 processor along with 512 MB of RAM ensure a fluid performance. We didn’t face any issues with lag or the smartwatch getting stuck. There is also 4GB of on-board storage.


The Zenwatch 2 comes with several watch faces to choose from and they are even customisable. There are a whole bunch of apps supported thanks to Android Wear but what really adds to the experience is ASUS’s own set of apps. The ZenWatch manager for instance is a detailed app that lets you take full control of your smartwatch from your phone itself. You can view the status of the Zenwatch 2, change the faces, download new faces, manage apps and much more with it. There is a find my watch feature as well as an unlock my phone feature too that uses the watch to unlock the phone. You can also manage the call notifications and also set the watch to alert you if you stray too far away from your phone. ZenWatch music allows you to select and sync the songs from your smartphone onto the watch.


But perhaps the most interesting bit if the Face Designer which basically allows users to design their own watch faces from scratch and use them on the ZenWatch 2. It offers a lot of customisability and goes a long way in making your smartwatch unique.

Battery Life

The battery life on the Zenwatch 2 should last you two days on most occasions if you have notifications turned on along with step counting and wrist gestures. However, this is with the always-on display feature turned off. If you turn this on, then you would get significantly lower battery life, even if you lower the brightness. Our suggestion would be to keep wrist gestures on and turn off the always-on display feature. While smartwatches have a long way to go in terms of battery life, a 2 days battery life is still pretty good for a smartwatch especially compared to the likes of the Moto 360 which I dreaded for having died in a few hours. Charging one extra device or accessory is definitely a pain. But at least, the Zenwatch 2 makes sure that you can afford to not worry about charging for a day or two.


There is one issue with the Zenwatch 2 charging though and that is the magnetic charging port. I quite like cables and ports that have magnetic connectors since it makes the process of plugging in to charge much easier and hassle free. It also protects your device from a fall or two by removing the cord in case you tug on the cable with force. however, on the Zenwatch 2, the cable seems to just detach itself even with the slightest touch or sometimes even without even touching it. We aren’t sure if this was an issue with our particular unit or cable but there were two instances where I left the device to charge only to find that the cable had been disconnected sometime during the process.


I’ll confess by saying that I am not completely sold on smartwatches yet. I personally prefer analogue watches. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences in smartwatches in the past particularly with the Moto 360. However, after using the Zenwatch 2 for the duration of 3 weeks, I would like to say that I’m open to the idea of getting a smartwatch for myself in the future. Starting at Rs. 11,999, the Zenwatch 2 is priced quite well and it does what a smartwatch is supposed to better than most others. Additionally, it has a much better battery life than most others too which makes it quite tempting. If you are someone who is toying with the idea of trying out the whole smartwatch scene and someone who would like to receive notifications on the fly, then this is one smartwatch you should consider buying. Besides, it is a really good-looking one at that.


  • Solid Build Quality and Elegant Design
  • IP67 Rating
  • Swappable Watch Straps
  • Beautiful Curved Display
  • Customizable Watch Faces and ASUS Apps Suite
  • Good Battery Life


  • Reflective Display
  • Magnetic Connector Gets Detached Easily

Author: Sandeep Sarma

Sandeep Sarma is a blogger and a freelance photographer. Apart from gadgets and phones, he also has a passion for movies and cars. He currently uses the S7 Edge as his main phone. Catch him on twitter at @sandeep9sarma