The excitement surrounding smart watches has drastically died off, with many companies throwing in the towel altogether on their wearables. Yet, ZTE has finally come out with their first smartwatch – the Android Wear 2.0 powered ZTE Quartz. The company has purposely waited to enter the smartwatch market late in the game, so that much like with their smartphones, they can offer a compelling smartwatch with a budget friendly price tag.
And that is just what the ZTE Quartz is all about. Priced at $192 as an exclusive for T-mobile customers, the Quartz is a great entry device for those looking to try a go at their first smartwatch without breaking the bank. When it comes to design, the actual Quartz watch face is not very exciting. Instead it has a very classic watch aesthetic which is hampered by a cheap plastic watch band. There’s no question that ZTE included a plastic watch band to help keep the price down. Fortunately, the watch band is easily replaceable. We found a compatible 22mm watch band on Amazon for just under $10 that really helps make the Quartz stand out and takes things up a notch. Overall, we’d say that the Quartz looks classic, but not cheap at all, and feels well made.
A plastic watch band is not the only place where ZTE cut corners to keep the Quartz affordable. To that effect, the smartwatch lacks NFC and a heart rate monitor. However, ZTE explained to us that not only did that help keep costs down, they also didn’t want the watch to get any thicker. And boy, it is big! We’re talking 58.6mm x 45.7mm x 14.5mm, the Quartz is quite a large wearable. Luckily, big watch faces are pretty haute right now. And even with my petite wrist I was able to pull it off. There is another benefit to the size of the Quartz, and that is that you get a large display which is a pleasure to read. The 1.4-inch OLED display itself on the Quartz is very good, and bright, with sharp visuals. It’s actually better than several other smartwatches we have tested, including Fossil’s Q Marshal. We also appreciate the fact that the watch face lacks the infamous ugly flat tire that we’ve seen on so many other Android Wear powered watches.
Running on T-Mobile, the Quartz has built in 4G LTE with a dedicated phone number. That means you can take/make calls and send/receive text messages – even if you’ve left your phone at home. There’s only a few other smartwatches on the market that are 4G powered, and none are as affordable as the Quartz. Making calls with the Quartz is a pleasant experience and call quality is quite good. You’ll feel like Dick Tracy when you’re doing it, especially when you realize how cool it is to be able to go out with your watch alone and no phone tethered to it. The watch will also be compatible with T-Mobile Digit which is still in beta. This will mean that your phone and the watch will eventually be able to use the same phone number for calls and texts.
When it comes to performance, the ZTE Quartz is powered by Snapdragon 1.1 GHz Quad Core processor. The Quartz takes quite a while to power on but in general, performance is very good. Fortunately, the 500 mAh battery on the watch is also one of the better ones we’ve seen on a smartwatch. The watch can keep going for more than a full day of moderate use before needing a charge. However, turning on GPS and making calls does make the battery drain much faster.
Read on for the Verdict…