Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Battery life with cellular data enabled is lacking
No heart-rate sensor
Android Pay users need not apply
Finding a feature-loaded Android Wear smartwatch under $200 is getting more difficult with each new product release.
There's the $349 LG Watch Sport, equipped with LTE and Android Pay compatibility. There's also the $369 Huawei Watch 2, which offers excellent battery life but lacks any cellular connectivity. Or, for a little less, you can pick up the fitness-focussed Polar M600 for $329.
It seems manufacturers have settled on pricing devices over $300 -- well, expect for ZTE. The company is known for making low-end and mid-range smartphones that work but are priced well below the rest of its competitors. With the ZTE Quartz smartwatch, the company's approach is no different: Load it up with features and specs at an affordable price.
The end result? You can walk out of any T-Mobile store with a 3G-connected Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch for $192. On paper, the Quartz smartwatch is just as capable as any other smartwatch double its price. And, for the most part, that's true. Well, save for battery life. That's horrible.
Dimensions: 1.8-inches in diameter, 0.57-inch height
I've only used two smartwatches with cellular connectivity: The LG Watch Sport, and the ZTE Quartz. Both devices, due to the added components, are big. Actually, make that huge. They are thick and bulky and take time adjusting to when you first start wearing it.
After a few days of wearing the Quartz, I barely noticed the overall size on my wrist. Other people did notice, however, often asking me about the watch and why it was so big.
The Quartz's watchband is interchangeable with any 22mm band, which is a good thing, because the included strap isn't the most elegant or comfortable.
A single button on the right side of the watch housing is how you access installed apps or summon Google Assistant. I missed the rotating crown found on the LG Watch Sport when using the Quartz, as it makes navigating the Android Wear interface easier.
Over the course of a week, I never felt as if the Quartz was underpowered or struggled to handle a task. Google Assistant launches without delay, scrolling is smooth, and touch response was a non-issue.
Where I found a fault is when leaving the cellular connection enabled for the watch. The added connection strained the battery, and instead of lasting all day as it did with just Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, the Quartz's battery would struggle to make it 10 full hours.
Again, when the cellular feature was turned off, battery life was more than enough to get through a full day's use. You will need to charge it nightly, but that's better than having to remember to charge during your lunch hour.
Two notable features missing from the watch include NFC for Android Pay and a heart-rate sensor. At the sub-$200 price tag, some concessions have to be made, and in this instance, mobile payments and heart-rate tracking are it.
Battery life aside, the ZTE Quartz is worth every penny if you don't plan on using the cellular portion of the watch. The lack of NFC and a heart-rate sensor are enough to force fitness enthusiasts and mobile payment fans to look elsewhere.
However, for those who could care less about either missing feature, but want an Android Wear device that gets the job done without emptying your wallet, the Quartz is a worthy option.
I suggest going into a T-Mobile store and trying one on instead of clicking the purchase button online. It's a big watch, and you'll want to make sure it looks and feels right on your wrist.