The smartwatch market really took off in the last couple of years. We went from having Samsung and Apple being the sole two competitors, charging exorbitant amounts of money for their watches, to having a full range of products that can suit all kinds of needs. One huge segment of the smart product market is definitely one tied to the increasing awareness of the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.
From simple bracelet trackers to watches and even fitness headphones -- depending on your fitness level, you can choose all sorts of products that will give you plenty of information and help you keep track of your routine.
One such product comes to us from MyKronoz -- a Swiss company based in Geneva that’s making a big break toward the mid to high-end smartwatch game. Their ZeSport 2 smartwatch is the latest in a line of products designed with fitness in mind and we break down everything that makes it tick.
DESIGN AND TECH SPECS
Right out of the box ZeSport 2 is evidently a sporty watch. First thing where you see that its designed with fitness in mind is the main body which features little to no protruding elements that can get in the way of your activities. Even its crown is neatly tucked in order to protect it from any damage.
Both the screen and the crown can be used to navigate the user interface and the inclusion of crown control is a great one. Like the rotating bezel of Samsung watches, this makes it so that you don’t need to use the touch screen and cover up your view during navigation. With that being said, the crown does feel a bit finicky and lacks any tactile feedback during rotation which significantly reduces the enjoyment of its usage.
|Dimensions||54.6 x 45.9 x 14.39 mm|
|Battery type||Li-ion 460 mAh|
|Standby time||4 days, 7 to 8 hours in GPS mode|
|Display||Color touchscreen, 1.3 inches / 240*240|
|Sensors||6-axis A+G-sensor, optical HR sensor, altimeter, barometer|
|Memory||ROM: 128MB / RAM: 4MB|
|Accessories included||Magnetic charging station|
|Compatibility||iOS 9/Android 5.0+|
The two buttons on the side are also used to control some of the watch’s functions. The long hold of the upper button is used to power on and power of the watch while short presses are used to go back to a previous menu. Additionally, a short press of the upper button will take you to “sport mode” where you can easily track your fitness activity. The long press of the lower button will show a QR code which you use to connect to your smartphone and a short press turns the screen on and off without you needing to flick your wrist.
The second thing that drives the nail in the fact that its a full-on fitness watch is its weight coming in at just 74 grams, strap included. Yes, this is mainly due to the fact that the entire thing is made out of plastic but it’s a tradeoff that I consider needed if you are making an unobtrusive watch designed for sport. The strap is especially great in that regard and not only does it look great but is also insanely durable while remaining highly flexible.
The screen itself is 1,3 inch TFT color display and is made out of Gorilla Glass featuring a resolution of 240x240 with a pixel density of 261 PPI. It’s a respectable ratio that makes the UI look highly detailed and saturated no matter the lighting conditions. The lower resolution does create some pixelation in smaller UI elements like numbers but its hardly noticeable during regular use.
On the watch underside, you have your optical sensors and magnetic pins used to charge the phone when you set it on the charging station that’s included in the package.
FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE
The ZeSport 2 runs on MyKronoz proprietary OS so don’t expect all the features that you get with watches running Google’s Wear OS or Samsung‘s Tizen. Simplicity is the name of the game here and the ZeSport goes all in with fitness tracking while stripping away many other features that you get in more expensive smartwatches.
When it comes to specs -- ZeSport is far from being impressive. A measly 4 MB of RAM and a 128MB of internal storage means that there’s a whooping one-second delay for every action you take when navigating the UI. While this has a positive effect on battery conservation, it makes the device seem more like a fitness bracelet that tells time rather than a full-on smartwatch that tracks fitness.
You do have an assortment of around 20 watch faces to choose from and while you can’t install additional ones -- what’s on offer here is highly varied and each watch face displays fitness information like steps taken or calories burned. What might disappoint you on that front however is the fact that the watch doesn’t come with an “always on” display function. You instead need to turn it on by pressing a button or by using a fairly responsive wrist flick.
The apps on offer are much the same -- what you see is what you get. Luckily, the ones that do come preinstalled are well thought out and cover just about everything you’d expect from a sporty watch.
Swiping to the right will take you to a couple of widgets. The first one colorfully displays your overall fitness progress through the day and there’s also the heart rate and sleep cycle monitor. The last widget displays local information like the current temperature, atmospheric pressure, and altitude.
Swiping down you get some setting shortcuts and it’s here that you can turn the Bluetooth and GPS on or off, set the brightness of the screen and check the status of your battery. Swiping up will simply showcase any and all notifications if your smartphone is connected to the watch.
A left swipe will take you to all the app shortcuts and other functions of the watch. Some of these icons will take you to aftermentioned widgets or the sport mode, making them entirely redundant.
The apps exclusive to this menu are the self-explanatory stopwatch, calendar, and a reminder as well as two apps with which you can control the music and the camera on your smartphone. You’ll also find your main settings here where you can calibrate and reset your watch, change the language and measurement units, set the screen timeout and more.
It’s important to note that every function of the watch that’s there works great. All the activities, the heart rate as well as the GPS are accurately tracked with no problems whatsoever. Each of the sport modes like walking, running, swimming and cycling are highly customizable so you can set if you want your goal to be calories burned, time spent performing the activity or distance you crossed while doing it.
What’s great is that the watch does most of the tracking autonomously, without being connected to a smartphone. You’ll obviously get less information about your fitness progress that way, but you gain the benefit of the 460 mAh battery lasting you for 4-5 days -- if the GPS is turned off. On the other hand, the battery performance with the Bluetooth and GPS turned on falls to a severely disappointing 7 hours. You can, of course, turn them off and try to sync the data with your phone later on but it’s a good chance you’ll run into some problems if you do.
THE COMPANION APP
This companion app also called “ZeSport 2” is by far the most disappointing aspect of the MyKronoz experience. To make matters worse, MyKronoz doesn’t have an all in one application but instead, each of their watches has a separate application and their Play Store scores give some idea on their quality.
First up, the connectivity. Even though MyKronoz states that the app/watch combo is Android 5.0+ compatible, there are only a small number of smartphones that it supports without issues. While I was able to install the application to two different smartphones and pair them with the watch to update its firmware -- that’s was about it.
Each time I turned the Bluetooth on after having it turned off to conserve battery -- the watch would require me to go through the pairing process all over again either by scanning a QR code or using the GPS proximity connect. Both of these options worked 10% of the time and even when I got the watch to connect, the data displayed would often be all wrong or would not display at all.
To make matters worse, the app made both my phones heat up and completely drained their battery overnight -- when they were in standby mode! The fact that the app is so unoptimized makes ZeSport 2 viable only as a standalone device. Luckily, it displays plenty of data on its own, showing that folks at MyKronoz are at least partially aware of the state of the app. Hopefully, they fix it in future iterations to nicely round out their watch experience. In the meantime, you can at least count on their super-fast and responsive support to help you clear any and all problems they can.
MyKronoz ZeSport 2 works great at exactly what it’s marketed for -- tracking fitness. Its highly affordable price does come with a few cons, especially with regard to app quality, connectivity, and massive battery drainage when using the GPS. With that being said, the ZeSport 2 has excellent autonomy, looks great and is extremely comfortable to wear. While I would still recommend it only to fitness enthusiasts, the foundation to build an excellent all-rounder watch is definitely here and MyKronoz will hopefully support it with software updates in the foreseeable future.
|+ Great design and high comfort level||-- Battery life with BT and GPS turned on|
|+ Highly accurate fitness tracking||-- Connectivity issues|
|+ Excellent autonomy||-- Abysmal app optimization|