A good smartwatch is hard to come by, especially one that has it all. There’s always something that’s missing from each one that would make it just perfect. But sometimes, you just can’t have it all. Plenty of companies offer different watch models marketed for a specific purpose in order to appeal to a broader audience. MyKronoz is a Swiss company that does just that. We previously reviewed their ZeSport 2 watch marketed toward a sporty, active audience and now we got our hands on a whole different beast -- The ZeRound 3.
From a design perspective, the ZeRound 3 is supposed to be a golden middle ground between MyKronoz ZeTime hybrid lineup and the ZeSport smartwatches. From a functional and technical perspective, however, it’s supposedly the most advanced of the bunch. So naturally, we went and tested this claim to find out if it’s really worth your money and time.
Design-wise, the ZeRound 3 is a minimalistic watch that’s all about practicality. The first thing to notice is its smaller form factor, coming in at 44,5mm in diameter and a 12,6mm in thickness. While this isn’t small in itself, it is significantly smaller when compared to many smartwatches which usually hover around 50mm diameter range. This makes the ZeRound 3 unique as its size hits the sweet spot that will make it fit on both larger as well as smaller wrists.
The body itself is made out of zinc alloy which is known to be highly resistant to impacts and scratches which is a great thing when talking about such a wearable. The entire surface of the body is completely smooth and there are no protruding elements to keep the watch really compact. The underside houses the magnetic charge pins, the heart rate sensor and the speaker while on the right, you have the one and only button and the small opening which houses the built-in microphone.
The minimalism, however, comes with a drawback of the watch looking a bit uninspired in terms of design as there are no standout design features to really catch your eye. Nevertheless, the general build quality is really solid with the watch weighing a measly 57 grams and comes with a light yet sturdy silicone strap which makes it extremely comfortable to wear. Oh, it’s also IP67 rated so splashes of rain or immersion in shallow water should pose no problems.
In terms of the display, the ZeRound 3 is a huge step up in terms of quality when compared to the ZeSport 2 as it features an 1,2 inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 390x390. This as also a step up when compared to the more famous competition like Samsung and Apple and it really shows. The screen is bright, sharp and no pixelation occurs under any circumstances. Being an AMOLED display, the viewing angles are amazing and the display perfectly blends with the minimal design of the watch itself. Colors are extremely vibrant with available watch faces and even the UI playing into that fact.
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.2 BLE + 3.0|
|Dimensions||44,5 x 12,6 mm|
|Battery type||Li-ion 350 mAh|
|Talk/standby time||2,5 hours/up to 5 days|
|Memory||ROM 256Mb / RAM 64Mb|
|Display||AMOLED 1.2” / 390 x 390 px|
|Sensors||3-axis accelerometer & optical hear-rate|
FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE
A big feature of the ZeRound series is the fact that they have a built-in speaker and a microphone. The ZeRound 3 is no exception, and while I love the fact that I can answer calls and talk over the watch, the performance is not consistent. This is especially the case with usage of the microphone during calls as it is only viable in ideal, quiet conditions and when you put the watch right next to your mouth while talking. Surprisingly, the voice command app that’s integrated with the Google Assistant and Siri picked up my voice without a problem no matter the distance of the microphone. The speaker can get sufficiently loud and produces minimal distortions, even at a higher volume.
As with all their watches, MyKronoz opted to go with a proprietary OS on the ZeRound 3 and it is much more enjoyable to use than on the ZeSport 2. Not only due to the better display, but also due to the somewhat better specs as the ZeRound 3 comes with 64mb’s of RAM and 256mb’s of internal storage.
While this is nothing to write home about when compared to the competition who scaled their RAM into gigabytes a long time ago, it’s still an improvement when compared to the rest of MyKronoz lineup. This translates to a much faster experience when using every function of the watch. Sure, you still don’t get the smooth transitions and bouncy animations but you do get a minimal delay when using the watch.
The main screen will always be your watch face where you can select from a fairly disappointing 13 different ones. Not only is this a step down from the ZeSport 2 which had around 20, but you also can’t download more to further showcase that beautiful screen. While there is still no dedicated “always-on” option, it helps that the watch can be set to a 5-minute display timeout which when combined with a responsive wrist flick might as well be an always-on function.
Since there are no rotating bezels or crowns, you will mostly rely on touch controls and somewhat on the single button present on the right side of the watch. It will turn the device on or off and serve as a “return to watch face” button from anywhere within the UI. While I would have liked the button to return me to a previous menu the two quick screen tap method the watch employs also works great. As expected, the MyKronoz ZeRound 3 lacks the advanced fitness features of the ZeSport 2, but it still has almost everything you’d expect from a smartwatch.
Swiping to the right will take you to some basic, but extremely accurate activity widgets where you can check steps taken, distance traveled, the time you’ve been active as well as calories spent. You can also long-hold any of them to quickly set your daily activity goals. Swiping upward will take you to any and all of the notifications coming in from your Bluetooth connected smartphone.
Downward swipe serves you up with a shortcut to the main settings and information on the remaining battery and weather. There are also some quick buttons to turn on the airplane and do not disturb mode, increase or decrease the screen brightness and volume or use the “find my phone” function. A leftward swipe is where you’ll find the usual assortment of utility apps like the heart rate monitor, alarm, sleep tracking, weather, a stopwatch and a calendar for example. I also appreciate the fact that you can customize the appearance of the main menu, and I decided to use the colorful widget style as it showcased just how vibrant and bright the screen is.
All the apps preform their functions admirably and the only bug I encountered was with the “find my phone” app which wouldn’t stop my phone or watch ringing even after “I’ve found it”.
While you might be concerned that a screen of this quality will cost you precious battery life -- I’m glad that ZeRound’s 350 mAh battery actually performs great. A reasonable screen timeout and brightness levels will net you around 3-5 days of usage, depending on how often you use its other functions. What’s more, charging the watch is extremely fast and you’ll get from 0 to 100% in only 45 minutes.
THE COMPANION APP
When it comes to the companion app, things here are somewhat improved when compared to other MyKronoz watches but still not without problems. The ZeRound 3 uses an app called MyKronoz which serves as a HUB for more than one watch from their lineup. The main method to pair the watch to the smartphone is still the QR code scan and it’s not ideal. It took me half an hour to pair the watch for the first time. During this time, the watch was completely unusable.
After successfully connecting it and going through a quick firmware update the experience got a whole lot better. The app doesn’t offer much that you can’t already see or do from the watch itself and is really only useful for updates, remote camera and to reverse the “find my phone” in order to actually find your watch. It’s only a shame that the watch still frequently disconnects from the app which affects push notifications but not the calls which you can still receive and answer with no issues. Again, the watch performs fairly well autonomously but this is still a big problem that will hopefully be fixed in future updates.