I got my first smartish watch in yestersay! I am gonna post some first impressions.
But first some background so you can understand my personal biases.
I like many people on this site have been sitting back watching what is happening in the wearables market. I like the concept of a smart watch/fitness tracker but at the same time realize that I haven't personally worn a watch since... my first cell phone!
When it comes to wearing something around my wrist, I need it to be there 24/7, if it comes off, it may never go back on again. So comfort for me is defined as the ability to wear it without it negatively impacting me in any way. Secondly, there needs to be a reason for wearing it, my old watches are collecting dust simply because the usefulness of telling time has become trivial as my cell phone will tell me. Because of this, if I am to purchase/appreciate a smart watch, it will be because it enables me to do something new.
Now onto the watch itself.
I picked up the watch off of dx.com for about $70 with free shipping. This is the most expensive item I have ever ordered from that site. The reason why I settled on this no name(almost) watch is because of a number of marketed features and price. Here they are in order of relative importance.
First, a marketed 3 weeks battery life
Second, built in pedometer for fitness tracking (I am/was 207lbs trying to get back to 180lbs), so nothing hardcore, but a good indicator of relative activity level.
Third, pushed notifications to keep my phone in my pocket and me from being distracted.
Fourth, water proofing
Fifth, music controls
Now onto what I got out of the deal.
My shipment arrived in about 20 days, which is pretty good for free shipping from China!
It comes in a nice little black box, opening the box left a strong lingering smell of fresh plastic, typical of something mass produced for economy prices. The instruction manual folds out and can be fully read in a couple minutes.
The watch arrived with 0% power and a nifty magnetic charging cable. To fully charge the device using a computers usb port and not a higher powered wall plug took about 4-5 hours for the initial charge.
My first impression with the device as it lay charging was that it was very light! This thing although bulkier than a timex weighs less than a timex. Also, the plastics used in the construction feel nice and slightly rubbery. Definitely not the hard glossy plastic I was a little worried about getting.
Putting it on my wrist the watch feels... Well like a standard watch, the rubberish band prevents it from sliding around too much and has no sharp edges digging into my skin.
Once charged I played around with the android app on my HTC One M8, first I changed it to english, which consists of navigating to the gear symbol, and then the EN symbol which toggled everything quickly and easily. Then I sync'd it successfully on the first try and updating to software version 3.17 was easy to do. The update was a little slow to update given the miniscule size of the files involved, but once updated it didn't matter anymore.
The first thing after updating I attempted was changing the watch face. The app currently has 56 different faces to choose from, themes ranging from traditional analog, large easy to read digital numbers, to naruto/one piece graphics. You can install up to 3 watch faces at a time and they are a single button click away to swap between once installed.
Speaking of the watch face, currently the time is set on a 24h clock, there is a setting on the watch to change it to 12h format, but it isn't working. And reading online it sounds like an ongoing issue, hopefully this will be patched, reading 21:00 hours to me requires more concentration than an analogue face so this is a little disappointing.
Next I set up my notifications, it was easy to select any of the programs on my phone I wished to push to my watch. No problems here.
After that I tried the built in camera trigger on my phone. It works... But only with a camera program built into the app. It can also record video. Basically, if you have a fancier camera program with filters/etc, this won't work with it. For what its worth, I will probably never use this feature again irregardless.
The music control currently recognizes the standard player and the google player in my phone. Unfortunately for me I use the xbox music app for all my music and this feature doesn't work. That said, to access the feature on the watch you must navigate to the music app to get access to the next/previous/pause/play buttons. Even if this feature worked, the current setup is not safe to use while driving unless you remember the button combo to get to it.
Finally, I set up an alarm, for my watch to notify me when I am leaving my phone behind, and various backlight settings that allow it to glow, and glow when you flick your wrist.
Altogether I spent about an hour and a half playing with the watch and managed to use up about 10% of its battery life. Yikes!
Then bedtime came, I showered with it on, no issues there, and settled in. I have a seven month old baby who keeps us awake at all hours of the night and having the time a flick if my wrist away was terrific! And then about 2am and something very annoying happened. I was awoken when my bluetooth connection was lost. My phone was charing on the floor beside the bed, but this distance was sufficient enough to set off the alarm. In the morning I turned off the phone losing feature. If it gets lost... I always have another option that will apparently set my phone off. It appears to be hit and miss, it worked the first time but succeeding tests did nothing.
In the morning I had lost another 5% power. So that 3 week time may be accurate... As long as you interpret it as 3 weeks of standby time. Without triggering glowing/vibrating/etc. Also, since it's e-ink, standby mode still shows the time! Take that fancy power hungry colour watches.
As to the pedometer, it appears to be functional and even gives out a reading for energy burned from walking. It is probably not accurate as the device doesn't know my mass... But it is still better than nothing and gives me something to add to my myfitnesspal app.
In summary, the watch performs about as expected. I recommend it to anyone looking for a smart watch and hate having to charge it. No it'll probably never get you three weeks, and if it does... You should have just bought a regular timex. But it's a hell of a lot better than charging it every second day. Also, for that price, it should be able to tide you over and let you watch these better smart watches evolve into a product that suits your needs better.