Saturday, 6 January 2018

Product: ZeTime Smartwatch

Design: 4.5 / 5
Build Quality: 4 / 5
Functionality: 4 / 5
Ergonomics: 4 / 5
Durability: -- / 5

MSRP: $296.88 (CAD)
Overall: 3.5 / 5

I've been thinking about getting a Smartwatch for quite a long time now. But as the (Cr)Apple iWatch states right up in the 1st paragraph of their battery description, their GOAL was for 18hrs of usage on a full charge. How much sense does that make? It doesn't even last a full day! And what if you forget, or are unable to charge? You're pretty much wearing a $500 bracelet. So I started looking at hybrids, which I also scratched off my list, because the only notification you get, are a small blinking light (indicator), and a bit of a vibrating buzz, upon which, you still have to pull your phone out of your pocket to see what the heck is going on. It's no different than having your phone vibrate in your pocket to tell you that you've got an incoming notification because unless you pull your phone out, you really have no idea what's going on.

The beauty of the ZeTime is that, while the battery to power smartwatch functions will last about 3 days (reviewers have indicated they've gone up to a week), the analogue watch will still power on for up to 30 days. It's the same battery, and this is on a single charge. So even if you forget to charge the ZeTime, you can at least still use it as an old fashioined watch. Not only that, It's actually quite a beautiful time piece.

I'm not going to go on about all its features (you can watch the video up top for that), but some observations of the watch after playing around with it for a bit.

It runs its own OS so functionality isn't quite as seamless as it would be if you were wearing an Android or Apple wearable, you don't have FULL smartphone capabilities, and while you're supposed to be able to be able to make your own pre-set responses on Android phones, all of the pre-set messages I added ended up looking like gibberish that looks like Chinese, but don't even make sense in Chinese. 
The heart rate monitor is a bit fickle; it has a tendency to bounce around a bit. But if you patiently sit around and keep pressing the 'check now' function, the overall average seems like it should be accurate enough.
The watch is also able to take photos, but it uses its own camera software. So if you're used to HDR+ features, or portrait features, you will not be able to use these features if you're taking photos by controlling it with the watch.

Response rate isn't the greatest, but it's not so slow that it will start pissing people off. And as stated before, it's still got some bugs, but I think it's a pretty good effort for a 1st gen device. This watch, is not a finished product, nor is it for everyone. But, for the moment, it can be the perfect timepiece for SOME people. This watch is for you if:

1. The primary function for it is to TELL TIME.
2. You want some kit that makes you look like a sexy beast.
3. You're only looking to view notifications and messages and not respond on the watch.
4. You don't REQUIRE fully developed smartwatch capabilities.

CONCLUSION: Smartwatches at the moment aren't a bit of kit that can be all things to all people. There are sacrifices that will need to be made. Full smartwatches seem to have a pretty dire battery life. Other hybrid style smartwatches... Well, just don't ok? For the time being, this one is pretty good as a monitoring device. I've come across two other time pieces that might potentially be better, but....
1. Pebble. They've ceased daily operations, so I guess you can't buy that.
2. Martian. I'm not sure how trustworthy they are. While their new phone (looks like ZeTime + voice) has been kickstarted, every other item that they sell is out of stock on their website. 


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