ASUS Details The ZenWatch 2: Coming In Octoberby Brandon Chester on September 2, 2015 7:01 AM EST
At this year's Computex Taipei ASUS released some teaser information about the upcoming ZenWatch 2. At the time we knew what the ZenWatch 2 would look like, but there weren't any details about the display size, case size, battery, display, or any other aspects of the hardware. Three months later, we're much closer to ASUS's planned launch of the ZenWatch 2, and they've decided to release essentially all the information one would need to know about the watch.
For starters, the ZenWatch 2 comes in two sizes. the first has a 1.45" AMOLED display with a resolution of 280x280, while the second has 1.63" AMOLED display with a resolution of 320x320. The case dimensions of the smaller and larger model are 45.2 x 37.2mm and 49.6 x 40.7mm respectively. While I appreciate that ASUS has put in the effort to try and accommodate users with smaller wrists, I think it's still going to leave out a very large segment of the market in the same way that all previous Android Wear devices have done. Let me explain why.
Consider that the smaller ZenWatch W1502Q has a square display with a 1.45" diagonal, which equates to a screen area of roughly 1.05 square inches. As a point of comparison, the 42mm Apple Watch, which is the larger of the two models, has a 5:4 display with a 1.5" diagonal. This means that it has a slightly larger area of 1.1 square inches. Despite the 42mm Apple Watch having a larger display, the dimensions of the watch case are significantly smaller in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions. If a user finds the 42mm Apple Watch to be too big, they'll certainly feel that more strongly about even the smaller model of the ZenWatch 2. I happen to fall into that group of users with smaller wrists, and when I originally heard that the ZenWatch 2 would come in two sizes I was hoping for something even smaller than this as I haven't been able to find an Android Wear watch that I can wear comfortably yet.
If you are a user that finds one of the ZenWatch 2 models to be a comfortable fit then your watch will come with 4GB of internal NAND, 512MB of LPDDR2 memory, and Qualcomm's APQ 8026 SoC which has four Cortex A7 cores with a max frequency of 1.2GHz, although no Android Wear devices ramp up the SoC like they would do so in a smartphone. The ZenWatch 2 also includes a 6-axis gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a sensor for tracking the user's heart rate.
As for the battery life, the smaller W1502Q has a 300mAh battery, while the larger W1501Q increases that to 400mAh. ASUS rates the larger model for over 2.5 days of use in ambient mode, and the smaller one for more than 2 days of use in ambient mode. Battery life will obviously vary greatly depending on a user's workload.
The ASUS ZenWatch 2 will be available sometime in October. The larger model will be priced at 149 euros, while the smaller will surprisingly cost more at 169 euros. It will launch with three different straps, with one being a fabric strap, one being leather, and one being metal. Each strap will have a choice of three different colors, and it's a safe bet that the metal band will come with a price premium.
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JeremyInNZ - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkI have the original Zenwatch, and it's a nice smart watch. I can't stand however, the charging cradle. It's nice to see the new one changing that up.
ajcarpenter - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkI was really hoping that this next wave of Android Wear devices would have NFC for Android Pay support. I like the Android Wear OS but I don't want to commit to a new device until they get payment support. Apart from that, this looks like a nice device.
johnnevill - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkI'm still not the biggest fan of the square face with the big-ass bezel, but this sure is a nice looking device. Here's hoping that Motorola's next 360 that they are announcing tomorrow will have an AMOLED screen. That's sort of a non-starter otherwise.
Vepsa - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkAnd here I thought I wanted a LG Watch Urbane
melgross - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkIt's interesting that now we're seeing rectangular Android Wear watches come out, the railing against anything that isn't a round case has evaporated. Was all that angst against rectangular watch cases directed towards rectangular watch cases, or against the fact that Apple's watch is rectangular?
I think it's the latter.
Gadgety - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkI don't mind rectangular, I've had rectangular watches, and back in the 70's found them very cool. However when such a large part of the watch is dead bezel area, I find it aged from the get go. Same goes for Apple. The circular screens with thin bezels are much more interesting from a visual perspective, a mix between good old, and good new, and also provide more screen acreage.
StubbyMcGee - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkDo you have any examples of this "railing against anything that isn't a round case" or evidence that said railing has "evaporated"? I doubt your thinking is correct considering YOU are only "now seeing rectangular Android Wear watches come out" whereas we (i.e. everybody else) saw rectangular Android Wear watches come out last year, long before the Apple Watch was even revealed...
jjj - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkSo it this pace they'll reach a reasonable pricing next year, decent hardware in 2-3 years and they'll stop cloning dumb watches... never.
ingwe - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkI just can't see the market for smartwatches in the long term. I mean, isn't the reason that smart phones are as large as they are because people wanted more functionality and to have that functionality accessible means a larger format?
I think they are pretty cool. I just don't see them being used alongside a phone that does everything better (except for monitoring HR and such) and isn't much less convenient. I can't see them having enough functionality though to have people ditch their phones.
I don't hate them; I just can't see a real use to justify the added cost.
Murloc - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - linkthey are useful in certain niches:
2. people who have to read lot of messages but not answer to them