Gadgets

Smartest Watch Ever? The MetaWatch Smart Watch

MetaWatch Frame Model | Official Shopify Website

MetaWatch Frame Model | Official Shopify Website

Although not yet available for the mass market, MetaWatch can now be purchased by its Kickstarter backers and new buyers. This new Bluetooth-enabled smart watch is designed to change how people use their iPhone.

From Android to iOS

The idea of a smart watch is nothing new. However, the concept has seen resurgence in the past years as gadgets continue to become impossibly small. In relation to this, there’s a particular interest in watches that use low-power displays that receive information from a smartphone that is connected via Bluetooth.

Early visions of MetaWatch were available to developers and industry watchers, and a decent-sized community—particularly from Android users—has emerged.

But with the debut of iOS 6 this year, Apple expanded the Bluetooth functionality of its iPhone 5. Now, text messages alerts can be sent wirelessly to external devices. With this, MetaWatch made a big push to iPhone users through its Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.

A First Look on MetaWatch

Yesterday, Apple-centric website AppleInsider posted a review for the MetaWatch. They talked about the smart watch’s hardware as well as its implications to the users.

For a few days now, we’ve been using the Frame version of the MetaWatch with an iPhone 5. The hardware is well designed, and any concerns we had about the watch face potentially being too big quickly faded away once we had the hardware.

The front of the device includes a large LCD display that can be illuminated with a front light, while the left and right sides of the watch each feature three hardware buttons. On the back are four pins that can be connected to a charging clip.

The charging clip is awkward to position onto the device and we frequently had trouble lining it up just right. However, this design decision does have a purpose: It allows the MetaWatch to be waterproof at a measurement of 3 ATM (10 meters) for the Frame, and 5 ATM (50 feet) for the Strata.

The MetaWatch Frame is low profile enough that it won’t stand out in public as a geeky computer on your wrist. Despite what it offers it still looks like a watch. But the relatively large display, which is slightly low resolution at just 96 by 96 pixels, will inevitably draw inquiries about it. It’s stylish, not gaudy.

After only a few days of use, it quickly became clear that a smart watch would change how we use our smartphones. Almost immediately, the annoying habit of needing to incessantly pull the phone out of your pocket faded away. Granted, that ritual found itself instead replaced by looking at the watch. But a quick glance is faster and more socially acceptable than pulling out a phone at the dinner table.

Price and Availability

MetaWatch orders have started shipping to both Kickstarter backers and new buyers last fall. It is available in sporty “Strata” and classic “Frame”, which cost $179 and $199 respectively.

It also comes in a limited-edition design by Susan Kare that is tagged at $299. Kare is a graphic designer who created many of the original Apple Macintosh user interface elements in the 1980s.

The device is compatible with iPhones that feature Bluetooth Low Energy support. These include iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

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