Android Wear 2.0’s release has been delayed multiple times, and aside from a few watches that have just hit the market, there aren’t many ways to get Google’s latest wearable OS right now. That changes in about two weeks, thanks to ZTE, which is making its first-ever Android Wear watch. It’s called the Quartz, and it will be available on April 21 via T-Mobile for just $200. You can also get it online starting April 14th.
For that price, you’ll get a round 1.4mm AMOLED display, interchangeable 22mm band, water-resistant (rated IP67) body and, most importantly, Android Wear 2.0 and all its improvements. There is also a 500mAh battery, which is larger than the LG Watch Sport’s 430mAh cell. That should hopefully help the Quartz outlast LG’s pair of wearables, which both barely made it through a full day during our testing. The Quartz will also supports LTE, and will be compatible with T-Mobile’s Digits program that lets you use the same phone number across your smartphone and other connected devices.
But there are some tradeoffs the company made to hit that $200 price. In particular, the most notable missing features are NFC, a heart rate monitor and a rotating dial. In addition to cutting costs, ZTE also cited longer battery life, a slimmer profile and less risk of damage as reasons for leaving those out.
As a comparison, LG’s Watch Style, which also lacks NFC, a heart rate sensor and doesn’t have its own LTE radio, costs $250. The Style has a useful rotating dial that makes scrolling easy, though. The Quartz also has to content with the Asus Zenwatch 3, which costs about $255, but runs the older Android Wear for now.
To be clear, this isn’t ZTE’s first smartwatch. It already makes the Axon watch, which runs Tencent OS and only retails in China. All that really means is the company already has some experience making watches, and the partnership with Google here makes for a compelling product.