Top critical review
107 people found this helpful
late adopter opinion
on October 9, 2010
As the fourth user of this product in the whole world (based on the total number of reviews published), let me start by saying how odd I feel being the first kid on my block when it comes to owning a real Dick Tracy watch. Having a cool gadget on my person is very atypical for me. I'm a classic late adopter (cheapskate). But I've always liked the idea of a gadget that plays MP3s, tells time and makes calls. The camera, voice recorder, calculator etc. clinched the sale. Does anyone recall the watch OS MS was developing years back? That was exciting. Anyway, the reaction I've been getting to this thing is "wow, that's neat!" versus "man, you're such a loser!"
Basic observations along 4 lines: cost/value, form/fit, convenience and usability.
Cost/value: I paid nearly $200 on Amazon. That's what happens when you get excited and reach for your credit card. I later saw it for sale for $110. Is it what I wanted? No, not really. I wanted a watch phone that would allow me to leave leave the house with empty pockets. Unfortunately, the logistics of bluetooth, combined with severe battery life issues, relegates this to the "phone backup" and "gee-whiz" bucket. Is there a lot of value here? Yup. This gadget truly works as a worldwide phone, takes pictures and plays MP3s... for as long as the battery holds out. Despite several flaws, I would buy this product again at the price I paid.
Form/fit: I have small wrists, and the rubberized watch band is no problem (gets a little sweaty). You can shut off the sci-fi blue backlight on the keypad, allowing the socially astute among us to pretend nothing weird is going on and that they're just into tacky sports watches. As expected, the keyboard was designed for a chipmunk. But by growing my thumbnail a bit long, I am able to navigate it with considerable difficulty. The only change I would suggest is to the up-down-right-left keys that flank the selct button; I would widen the "up" key a little - it's narrow almost to the point of being unusable. Beyond this, there are no serious ergonomics issues. As other reviews have pointed out, the watch must be paired with a bluetooth headset. I splurged and bought the Plantronics stereo one - truly a thing of beauty. And happily, the watch ships with a chintzy little bluetooth earpiece which I will use as a spare.
Convenience: miniscule battery life kills this product. Ideally, you wouldn't have to charge your phone away from home. Here, you get a total of 6 hours life from both batteries - carrying the USB charger is a necessity. Power-off is not exactly elegant: the watch announces: "Low Battery - Shutting Down!" and 3 seconds later you're looking at a dead watch. Oddly, a fully charged spare battery is little help; it may show full power but only last 2 hours. Apart from the awful battery situation, day-to-day use of the device isn't bad. I miss calls while fumbling to put on my bluetooth headset, but that's my issue to work out.
Usability: I wish there were a "vibrate" mode instead of a noisy little midi when a call comes in. My shirt sleeve sometimes initates a phone call on its own - a one-touch keyboard lock feature would be nice.I wanted the ability to control what comes up when I press one of the up-down-right-left buttons. I wanted to use my bluetooth headset for FM radio. I wanted a slideshow option for photos (the touch screen comes close to this). And I wanted some basic MP3 player functions, like "random". But in light of the camera and everything else, some of these are nits. The most unhappy thing is the text input SW they chose: typing in any langauge is painful (I am a chinese linguist and sad to say, pinyin input is a nightmare - and from a chinese manufacturer!) A standard SMS message will have you switching from English caps to English lower case to number input to symbol input...and every time you change, your will scroll endlessly through french, german, italian, arabic etc.
One final comment: my refusal to read any sort of printed product documentation is vindicated here. The manual is totally useless - the information is wrong, missing or misleading to a laughable extent. I very nearly destroyed the watch by following the instructions for removing the battery. I was also unhappy that there is no mention of customer support anywhere at all in the product. If something went functionally wrong with the product today, I still would have absolutely no idea how to get in touch with the manufacturer.
But we're hardy souls, breaking new ground. And for all these cool features, the price is right - so I hope this review doesn't come across as too harsh. I say again: I like what I bought, and it exceeded my price-performance expectations. Yes, it is handicapped in a couple of areas. But overall, my sincere kudos to the product manager in charge of this thing. It's a game-changing product, primarily due to the low price tag, but also in large part to the long list of technologies stuffed into it. Congratulations on a very reasonable contender in this fascinating product category. If you like the idea of a general all-in-one device, and aren't too hung up on reliability and usability, go for it!