Smartwatch Watch - Review of Three iWatch Alternatives
Remember when the news about the first iPhone came out? Many people anticipated the release of this revolutionizing gadget, but there were also some who remained skeptical about ditching their feature phones. They wondered how a smartphone like the iPhone would fit in their lives because they thought they already had everything they needed with their trusty Nokia or Sony Ericsson phone. Now, the same thing is happening with smartwatches. Apple and Samsung, both sitting at the top of the electronics world and the leaders in the smartphone industry, have their eyes set on the next time-telling technology.
Apple and Samsung are still racing to field their own modern timepieces in the gadget market, but the smartwatch field is already teeming with hopefuls. Some watches are Android or iOS compatible, while some models are nothing more than glorified digital watches. If you can’t wait for the “next big thing” from Apple and Samsung, the following list could offer some alternatives to satiate your smartwatch curiosity.
With more than $10 million from crowd funding, the Pebble Watch is one of the most successful projects launched through Kickstarter. The first units have already been shipped to the first backers, and the production is up-and-running in order to meet the demands. But as successful as it may seem on paper, the Pebble Watch still comes short of its promise to deliver smart, wearable computing. The apps which are supposedly the main selling point of the device are still incomplete, so the “smartwatch” experience of using the timepiece as a wearable computer is not yet fulfilled. Another aspect that needs improvement is the battery life, barely lasting a couple of days in one charge when paired with a Bluetooth device. On the upside, the Pebble Watch has everything you need in a watch: accurate digital timekeeping, lean and lightweight, and water resistant. The promise of downloadable apps and content makes it interesting, but we have yet to see if it can keep its word.
Martian Passport Watch
Now if you’re after a smartwatch that still looks like a regular watch, the Martian Passport Watch is something that you should consider. It keeps the analog design, complete with the hour and minute hands, as well as the big, round knobs on the side. The “smart” aspect of this smartwatch comes in through its call answering and call screening abilities. By syncing your business phone (more info) with the Martian Passport, you’ll be able to see who’s calling through a read-out display at the bottom of watch face. If you’re too lazy to check your smartphone in your pocket or bad, you can just take the call using the watch itself. It has a built-in microphone and speaker which will let you do a spot-on impression of Agent 007 while talking with your boss. But there are some things that could make you think twice before purchasing this watch. At $300, this timepiece is considerably expensive, compared to other smartwatches in the market. The Pebble Watch, at $150 looks more like a better choice if you are on a budget. It is not water resistant, and has a very bland look which is quite uncommon among smartwatches.
The I’m Watch is probably one of the most expensive smartwatches available today. At around $450, it is considerably pricier than the Martian Passport, and is truly out of reach for those who are just interested in checking out this new technology. The I’m Watch runs on Android 2.1, an old version of Google’s mobile operating system. But perhaps it is currently the “smartest” of the bunch, capable of displaying email, calendar, social media updates, and more in a wrist-ready format. But that’s not enough to justify the hefty price tag: this is an old version of Android, so the software is shaky and the application support is very limited. In short, expect a lot of glitches from this expensive timepiece.
Have you tried any of these, or are you looking forward to the "iWatch?" Have you see a different smartwatch that you think we dhold review? Let us know!
iWatch concept image courtesy of wmacphail, Flickr.