Smartwatches – Gadgets or Great Gizmos

Firstly i want to disclaimer the use of the word Gadget. In general people use the word gadget to describe an item with a specific use case that ends up not being used very often and results in it being discarded.

Ex.s the pizza scissors or the spaghetti measure. Both very useful tools but also one trick ponies that don’t end up being used as they take more time to locate and use instead of just using whats around.

pizza scissors The Spaghetti Measure

Gadgets are for Christmas and not just for life

Onto the Good Stuff

So when the hype machine spun up in March of 2014 with the announcement of Android Wear people were sorting themselves into one of 2 groups, those excited by this new technology and those who were not. I was admittedly in the latter group. My opinion on mobile phones had tipped in the balance of disliking large screens around this time and another display device on my person seemed like a dumb idea. The only real devices being showcased were the pebble and the LG G Watch and neither inspired me until I saw the Moto360.

Daily Life

I was a big fan of this device after seeing that video for a number of reasons. Firstly it looked like a watch. This is paramount, as a device designed to replace a watch it should appear and function like a traditional watch. It should tell the time of course but it should also sit well on the arm and not be a hindrance to the motion of glancing at your arm to tell the time. Google and Motorola have succeeded in this as the device feels as at home on my arm as any watch I wear daily to work.

Notifications are the big draw to using this device. Any text message, email, comment or Google now card will display on the watch meaning even as I type this I have looked at a message, dismissed it as trivial or something I can deal with later and continued typing without touching my phone. And the best bit is that I am doing this naturally and because I want to work this way.

Impact (Surprising Result)

The most surprising benefit to wearing this is increased battery life. Now my HTC One M8 is quite efficient on battery usage as I would generally get just over a days usage out of the device however phone is now lasting 2 days. As a tech professional my phone is almost always doing something as it is linked to various apps with notifications and is my primary small device when in work. I would have suspected that the Bluetooth being always-on would have dropped my battery life not increased it. In fact looking at the power usage on my phone reveals that over the past week Bluetooth has only accounted for 2% battery.

2015-01-12 10.39.25

 

The Faces i use

Name Why
Speeds Pro This clearly appeals to the motorcyclist and avid Motorsports fan in me. Its red dials and sports look are complete when you buy the Pro version (€0.99) and you can customise the bottom center dial. I use mine to track my steps taken but it can be customised for a number of different things.

unnamed

Digital For those times when i need to quickly tell the time and only the time.
For a minimalist watch that uses low power and easy to read in any position.

Motorola_Moto_360_Digital_Watch_Face-450x450

Pascual This watch struck me as simply an elegant watch face to use. I have used this to showcase the device and Android Wear itself. However as a tech I found one feature extremely useful.
The outer white band is dotted with blue items for when I have calendar entries. Being able to glance at my watch and tell my colleague that yes I am free for a meeting at 3pm without needing to open my phone or calendar is pretty cool.

moto3-blue-square-620x620

Overall Verdict

In Summary, I cannot recommend this watch enough. Its custom faces and dials will appeal to any watch fan as it can change in an instant from classy and contemporary to digital and trendy. As it increased my battery life on my phone to nearly 2 days and mirrors that life on the watch itself I can stay over or stay late somewhere and not need to bring a charger with me. As its charging the device dock turns the watch into a dim alarm clock and works extremely well, if you have a HTC dock you will love this.

I suspect that these devices will become more and more popular as the features increase and more apps get used to the new Android Wear OS. My prediction, you will all be wearing these within 2 years.

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