ZTE is at war with smartwatch makers. ZTE Corporation is a globally-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions.
Founded in Shenzhen, China in 1985 as Zhongxing Semiconductor Co. Ltd – the predecessor of ZTE Corporation – it has now operations in 160 countries and a leader in technology innovation. Expect here not just a smartwatch but a new leader in wearable tech.
ZTE intention is to create a new class of high quality smartwatches, following the path, guidelines and features of Samsung’s Galaxy S line. Sadly, this first line of ZTE smartwatches it’s only destined for sale in China, at least for the time being.
ZTE Axon Watch – The Specs
The ZTE Axon SmartWatch features a 1.4-inch Gorilla Glass display with sapphire coating and is IP67 certified. That means dust and water protection. It comes with a 1.2 Qualcomm APQ8026 – Snapdragon 400 processor, a lasting 300 mAh battery, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB internal storage and low power Bluetooth 4.1.
Axon Watch has a diameter of 42mm, it is 11.5mm thick and weights exactly 49 grams and it is well equipped with a good range of sensors like accelerometer, gyro, geomagnetic, barometer, heart rate monitor, etc.
ZTE Axon Watch – Tencent OS
Speaking about custom software, the Axon Watch will not be powered by Android Wear but will use Tencent OS, the mobile operating system designed by Chinese telecom giant Tencent – which among other things, owns the super-popular messaging platform WeChat.
Still, Tencent OS is built on Android Wear, therefore there are similarities, such as swiping right to dismiss apps notifications, up and down to navigate through the menus and pressing down on the screen to change the watch face.
An important difference is that the user interface elements, are much bigger and more refined than on the classic Google Android Wear platform and that’s something I like a lot.
ZTE Axon Watch – The Look
The Axon Watch looks so good, that upon first glance you would probably think that it’s a classic watch as opposed to one of its smart brothers, but that’s mostly thanks to the device using its own custom OS.
In addition to the WeChat app mentioned above, there are various other apps, including a search-my-phone service to alert you if you leave your smartphone behind and an entertaining Labyrinth-style game.
Tencent OS works fine on the Axon Watch and it’s definitely fast and well-designed. Talking about compatibility and connectivity, the Axon Watch can be paired with most smartphones running Android 4.4 or up, to which it connects using Bluetooth 4.0 low energy and doesn’t need to be paired with a Tencent phone.
ZTE Axon Watch – A Stunning Display
The 1.4-inch display looks great, with a pixel density of 250ppi and this allows the Axon Watch to stay up to date with the LG Watch Urbane’s and the majority of the new generation of Android Wear devices.
From a design point of view, Axon Watch could be seen as a mixture between the new Moto 360 2 and the now old, LG G Watch R with its sportier, somehow chunky case.
But, with the perfect watch face, the screen looks bold and fashionable making the oversized lugs on the top and bottom look much more appealing or better said, more suitable.
More than that, it is possible to tailor the Axon Watch’s style to the user’s personal taste, as ZTE is made in several casing colours, with a huge choice of metal and leather straps.
ZTE Axon Watch – Great For Fitness
If you are into fitness, ZTE Axon Watch has you covered. The Axon Watch has a heart rate monitor on the back, more than it is able to track your activity levels and sleep tracking.
Unfortunately, the body is a little bit thick, however, the overall size is better than on the LG Watch Urbane and fits better on the wrist, therefore it may suit more people than many of the Android Wear watches currently available.
ZTE’s hasn’t replied to our question if this smartwatch is to hit the international markets too or this is just Chinese market dedicated. Some fear that Axon Watch will end up as a prototype for a second-generation version that will eventually hit the US and European markets too.
Either way, the Axon Watch impressed us enough that we’re looking forward to seeing ZTE’s new smartwatches range when ready.