Archive for the ‘Smartwatches’ Category
Friday, January 23rd, 2015
We first covered the Alcatel Smartwatch when it was announced at CES earlier this month, but now we’ve got our first piece of solid information about the product: We are expecting stock at the end of March. That’s still two months away of course, but it’s an encouraging sign for a smartwatch that looks like a strong early contender for 2015 smartwatch of the year. Let’s take a look at what makes the Alcatel Smartwatch so special (because it sure isn’t that unique name!).
The first thing is the price. This smartwatch is being sold for only £100, making it about half the price of similar smartwatches like the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R.
The Alcatel Smartwatch also works on both iPhone and Android phones, which is a rare commodity in a smartwatch market currently dominated by Samsung and Google. While the Apple Watch is coming later this year, it’s sure to be way more expensive than the Alcatel Smartwatch.
Battery life is another big advantage for the Alcatel Smartwatch. The wearable is said to last between two and five days, which is very impressive for a smartwatch with an LCD display. While you’ll probably need to turn off the always-on display mode to reach those figures, it makes the Smartwatch a way better choice for those that primarily want a wearable for fitness tracking.
Otherwise, the Alcatel Smartwatch is essentially a better but less expensive version of the Motorola Moto 360 which proved so popular last year (and remains on my wrist to this day!). The most notable similarity is the almost-round display, with a flat spot at the bottom of the circle for the watch’s display driver and other circuitry to be kept.
The Alcatel Smartwatch is coming to Mobile Fun at the end of March, and is available for pre-order right now. Please visit the link below to see more information, be notified of stock availability or place your order!
Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know what you think of the Smartwatch in the comments below!
Monday, January 5th, 2015
Alcatel unveiled their first smartwatch at CES this weekend. The creatively named Alcatel Watch is a less expensive version of the Moto 360, with the same almost-round display missing a slice at the very bottom.
The big difference (besides the price) is that Alcatel’s Watch works with iPhone and Android, through a companion app installed on your phone. Here, you’ll be able to choose which phone apps will have their notifications piped through to your watch, adjust watch faces and themes and see health data the watch has collected.
The health tracking provided with the Watch seems on par with other smartwatches, thanks to an integrated heart-rate sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, altimeter and compass. That’ll translate into stats like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and time spent sleeping.
Image from The Verge
Alcatel are claiming that the Watch will last between two and five days on a single charge, depending on your usage and the smartwatch’s settings. That’s better than most Android Wear smartwatches, so it’ll be interesting to see if that advantage is realised in real-world testing. Charging is also a bit more convenient than most smartwatches, with a simple micro-USB port allowing charging without the added bulk of a dock or adapter.
There are four versions of the watch, with two plastic models in black/red and white (coming soon) and two metal models (coming later this year). US availability will reportedly begin in April; global availability has yet to be announced but we’ll be selling it once it is available. You can see our store page here for more info, and to pre-order or be notified when stock is available.
What do you think of the Alcatel Watch? Let us know in the comments below!
Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
The Android Wear smartwatch OS reached version 5.0 this December, with the new version bringing the first official support for custom watch faces. Google have even opened a new section of the Google Play store for them. There are 31 watch faces to choose from – and we’ve downloaded and tried them all, so you don’t have to! Here are our recommendations, suitable for both round and square smartwatches.
Our first watch face is actually four, called Albumen, Episode, Next and Runway. Each one offers interesting glanceable information. Albumen represents busy periods in the next 12 hours as abstract blobs, Episode shows current and upcoming weather, Next shows your next calendar appointment and Runway is a 12-hour weather forecast. All four faces are reasonably stylish, and the face is worth an install.
Next up is the PAC-MAN watch face. It’s a bit expensive for a single face, but you do get a properly animated PAC-MAN who roams the perimeter of your watch, eating power-pellets and chasing ghosts. You may need to install the StayLit Wear app, which keeps your display on for longer, for the full effect.
If you’re a fan of the Despicable Me movies, then this watch face featuring the minions will be just up your street. You get the time in the upper right corner, with various minions showing up and causing mischief over the course of the day.
The Un Petit Monde watch face is a nice artsy watch face, which shows a hand-drawn time readout above a time-lapse of a travel-inspired scene. It’s simple, but effective.
There are few wordy watch faces, but there’s one in this pack from Behance. Other options include more traditional analogue designs and some cool novel ones. The combination of five minimal watch faces and backed with nice artwork is a strong one
The least pronounceable watch face is also one of the most stylish. BCBGMAXAZRIA shows the time in a small circle that moves throughout the day, surrounded by a glitzy series of concentric circles in nine selectable colours.
As the name suggests, Muzei is not just a watch face; it’s also a wallpaper app from your phone. You can choose between ‘featured art’ (a new painting every day), your photos or images from 500px (with the 500 Firepaper app installed). Once chosen, your wallpaper will be reflected on your watch.
This futuristic watch is often cited as the pick of the bunch, offering a traditional analogue design cloaked in modern colours and with a few added functions. You’ll see a battery indicator for both phone and watch, a weather forecast and a date indicator. It’s all done in a fairly streamlined fashion, treading just on the right side of cluttered.
ustwo return with another large – and free! – collection of watch faces. There are 12 in all, including two of my favourites, ‘Air’ and ‘Invert’. These oft-customisable watches each execute well on a single simple idea, and there’s sure to be at least one to catch your fancy. You should take advantage of the new Wear 5.0 ability to hide watch faces though, lest you be flooded with unwanted additions.
Without question, the finest watch face available for Android Wear 5.0 is Speeds Pro. The face offers a cool 60s American diner feel, with well chosen typography and an iconic sense of style. The app is also highly customisable, with a phone/battery metre on the left, a date/day indicator on the right, and a dial at the bottom. This dial can be a static design element, a working speedometer, a step counter and a lot more. It’s a beautifully constructed package that is well worth buying.
We hope you’ve found this breakdown helpful! Be sure to contribute your own favourite Android Wear watch faces, and let us know what you thought of the selection in the comments below.
Tags: Android Wear 5.0, Asus, G Watch, G Watch R, Gear Live, lg, Moto 360, samsung, smartwatch, ZenWatch,
Friday, December 19th, 2014
The Pebble just became a way better smartwatch for Android users. The Pebble team announced Android Wear support this week, allowing the e-ink smartwatch to receive the same actionable notifications as Android Wear smartwatches like the Moto 360.
You can see the feature demonstrated in the video below – a Pebble is shown receiving a Google Hangouts notification and an emoji response being sent (because who needs words when you have a selection of tiny pictures?)
To get Android Wear notification support on your Pebble, you’ll need to join the Pebble app beta testing group and download the beta version of the Pebble Android app. The beta group is open for anyone that cares to join it, so go right ahead.
The unexpected move makes the Pebble a uniquely powerful proposition, as it is now by far the longest-lasting Android Wear device… and if you pick up the Pebble Steel, it’s also got a claim to be the best-looking Android Wear device as well.
If you’ve got a Pebble, try out the new features and let us know what you think in the comments below! You can also talk to us on Twitter @mobilefun.
Friday, December 5th, 2014
This week I’ve been playing with the Samsung Gear S, the latest wearable from our favourite Korean chaebol. Almost uniquely, the watch can work without being paired to a smartphone, thanks to a built-in SIM card slot, WiFi and GPS. That means you can go for a run with just a watch on, and you’ll still be able to record your route, answer phone calls or texts on the go, and even listen to music from the built-in speaker. It’s a different class of device to most smartwatches we’ve seen before, and it’s honestly pretty cool. Here are my first impressions of the Gear S.
The Gear S is giant. It’s like the phablet of smartwatches, with a big ol’ 2-inch (360 x 480) Super AMOLED display that curves around your wrist. That makes for a rather inelegant look, but the extra screen space really allows for the standalone watch features that set the Gear S apart.
Apart from the curved display, the design is quite standard for Samsung – there’s a metal ring around the display and a plastic band that clamps comfortably to your wrist. The clasp is adjustable, and should fit a good variety of wrist sizes.
The Gear S looks gigantic, but thanks to that curve it doesn’t jut out from your wrist too much – I had no issues getting the watch into my sleeves, for instance. The body measures 40 x 58 millimetres, with a 12.5 millimetre maximum thickness.
Internally, the Gear S feels solid. There’s a dual-core 1GHz processor, half a gigabyte of RAM and 4GB of internal storage for apps and music. A 300mAh battery feels a little small, but battery life is still 1 or 2 days comfortably.
When it comes to sensors the Gear S is incredibly well-equipped: we have an accelerometer, gyro, compass, heart rate, ambient light, UV and barometer. Connectivity is also insane, with WiFi N, a-GPS, Bluetooth 4.1 and USB 2.0 via a special charging dock.
The Gear S is the first watch I’ve used extensively to run Tizen, and I’m honestly pretty impressed so far. The interface is a little less intuitive than Google Wear, but there’s also a lot more going on here. A standard watch face lies at the centre of the interface, with notifications to the left and then up to five apps to the right (which could include a music player, an activity tracker, a news feed, a calendar and quick-toggle settings. Swiping from the top down brings you back, or opens your status bar if you’re already on the home screen. You can also pull up a list of apps to launch from the home screen, something that’s badly missing from default Android Wear.
Notifications are a little weird. You can easily read long previews of incoming emails and previews, but there seem to be no quick actions to these notifications – like archiving or replying to an email, for instance. To dismiss a notification, you have to long press and then tick the close box in the upper right, or drag down from the top and hit ‘clear all’. Dismissing a notification on your phone dismisses it on your watch, of course.
The standalone apps are the most fun things to play with on the Gear S. An Opera Mini app will allow you to surf the web (slowly), while an Engadget app will reel off an article to you at 250 words per minute using a system called Spritz. You can also straight up place calls, send text messages and write emails; thanks to a built-in microphone and speaker taking calls in any (relatively) quiet place is a cinch. Writing is a little more tricky, but it works surprisingly well… you can use a tiny tiny keyboard, or dictate using your voice.
There are a good range of apps available, particularly fitness ones, although finding them using the Galaxy Apps app is a bit hit-and-miss compared to the Play Store.
The Gear S surprised me. I expected a clunky, massive smartwatch that offered good features but was too impractical to use. Instead, I got a shapely smartwatch that won’t win any fashion awards but does provide some genuine benefits over a more traditional smartphone-dependent wearable. If you like the idea of a standalone smartwatch and you don’t mind paying for an extra SIM, then the Gear S is definitely worth a look. It’s available now from Mobile Fun.