Like most of you I was excited when the first wearable items, especially the smartwatches became available. I’m a true believer in wearable and the future in this technology. So as always I started comparing my options in smartwatches before ordering one. And while doing so, I decided not to buy one.
Here is why…
As a techie I find myself compelled to keep up with the latest trends and especially all related to wearable. When I think of wearable technology I think about braking what we call the ‘human-machine interface’, where users don’t have to fill forms and read feedback, where our environment feeds our apps with the necessary data providing seamless interactions.
When I heard about Android Wear, I thought that we were a step closer to that dream, I thought of all the unnecessary redundant tasks that it will spare me in my daily life, and I got excited like a little kid.
Soon I began to browse forums and blogs looking for the latest news about the upcoming watches, and that is where I figured that we weren’t even close to my dream.
Falling back to earth
In order to understand my disappointment, let us look at the models that are on the market right now.
LG G Watch R
A huge watch, for 299$. But if I wanted a fitness tracker that connects to my Android, I’d get a fitness tracker. It has a decent 2 days battery life though. This watch looks like it was designed for a 16 years-old and I would not wear it unless I’m going to the gym (so basically never).
The star of the market, it goes for 250$ for the basic to almost 300$ for some steel look. It is ridiculously large, slow and the screen is rubbish in daylight. You’d be lucky to land a day and a half of usage before the battery running out.
It goes for 350$ and it runs Tizen. Enough said, I’m not giving it another look.
This little cheap looking watch is amazingly cheap 100$. But for that price you’d get a cheap looking plastic watch, no colors and a very basic SDK (some cool apps). If you wanted the ‘steel’ model you need to spend 200$ for the same specs.
Not having to worry about as many sensors or AMOLED displays like other watches, pebble can offer almost a week of battery life.
Recently Pebble Time was announced which is basically a Pebble2 with a cleaner look, a better engine under the hood and some very basic colored display. Again you’ll get plastic and steel models, each with a price tag. The only difference the starting price will be near the other watches at 200$.
ZenWatch has ‘subtle’ as a motto. I like the way they approach this issue. If I’m wearing a warble I don’t want to advertise it. Very stylish and really close to the watches I already own. I don’t like the fact that they didn’t use the entire height and width of the watch for the screen. It comes with a price of 200$ but with a crappy display and crappy (if non-existent) censors. May be the second generation would be better.
You’ll notice that I have omitted a large number of smartwatches, because the review is either redundant or they fall more under the category ‘fitness tracker’ or jewelry than a smartwatch.
Now after reviewing what is on the market what can we do with these “smart” watches exactly?
In short, nothing much, you sync them with your phone (Android 4.3 or higher … don’t even bother with 4.2) and they get you to see the notifications (Mail, SMS, Calls,..) and do some minimal responses, and no I will not be shouting at my wrist with “Ok google” … never !
For a Tunisian student like me 200$ = 400 Dinars and that is quite a lot of money to spend on something that would just spare me the 10 seconds it takes me to grab my phone and read an email on a larger, better screen.
If the smartwatches (and wearable in general) are really going to become as popular as smartphones they need to step up their game. The Azus approach on design is good, it just needs a better screen and more sensors. I need my smartwatch to be smart, and not just a secondary screen to my phone, I also don’t need to think about charging it once a day, smartwatches need to reach 7 days of battery life before they became a viable option.
So, I will not be getting a smartwatch anytime soon, what about you? Are you considering to buy one? Why? And if you already bought one, tell us what it has been like to use it !