I belong firmly in the mechanical watch category. But I welcome the smartwatch revolution and its potential to revolutionise the way we live our lives. I’ve read numerous reports from futurists and engineers about how a smartwatch could potentially detect an anomaly in a person’s heartbeat that signals an impending heart attack and immediately call the wearer’s doctor. I’ve dreamt of a world where smartwatches could give you a rundown on your diet and prod you to eat more vegetables. I’ve personally witnessed how smartwatches improved the fitness levels of my sedentary friends.
Yet, for all its potential, the smartwatch in its current iteration is still somewhat lacking, mostly because most technology brands are hell-bent on linking the smartwatch to your smartphone rather than thinking of it as a separate concept.
The stainless steel ASUS ZenWatch 2, while nowhere near the future I envision for the smartwatch, is a step in the right direction. It’s truly ecosystem-independent, meaning that you can use it with any smartphone of any operating system without being hampered or restricted. The battery lasts for two whole days, which might seem shocking but such is the state of the world we live in now where your other smartwatches have to be charged daily. And if you do forget to charge the ZenWatch 2, all you need is just about half an hour to get a day’s usage.
It also helps that the ZenWatch 2 looks stylish. The case is crafted from premium stainless steel and there are interchangeable straps in a variety of colours that can suit whatever outfit you’re wearing, whether it’s a suit or your most louche brunch outfit.
The ZenWatch 2 also gives you a warning if you’re moving away from a location and left your smartphone behind, nifty for those regularly on the go. Similarly, if you misplace your phone, just let the ZenWatch 2 find it for you. It will make your smartphone vibrate, flash or ring, depending on the settings.
The other usual suspects are there – the fitness applications, the interchangeable 50 watch faces, the luxurious leather and rubber straps available, the information at a glance, etc. But what the ASUS ZenWatch 2 represents, to me at least, is the willingness of a tech company to redefine what a smartwatch means to it, even if it might possibly not be accepted by the market. But at the price tag starting from $229, I’m certain there will be many takers willing to buy into that vision.
The ZenWatch 2 is available in leather and stainless steel straps at ASUS brand stores and selected authorised retailers at $229 and $299 respectively. For more information about the watch, click here.