As most readers of this blog know by now, I’m a sucker for a gadget. I went off watches for a time, preferring to tell the time with my phone, but since getting a flip cover for my Huawei and found it annoying to have to open the cover everytime. I had been thinking about getting another watch – and of course, it had to be a SMARTwatch!
Smartwatches have been around for a while now and I’ve followed the brands and models with some interest – the Moto 360 was one that caught my eye a while back, mainly because it has a circular face rather than the chunky square ‘brick on a wrist’ which I don’t like much. The Moto though, has an annoying black band at the bottom of the screen which I know would bug me, so when I saw this one with a completely circular screen with no bottom bar I checked it out.
This one isn’t an Android Wear model, so isn’t strictly an Android device, but it does connect via Bluetooth to any Android phone and can also connect to iPhones but with fewer capabilities. So what can it do and how much? Well the second question is easy, the KW18 is only around A$60 plus $3 odd for registered airmail shipping to Australia from GearBest in the US of A and it is available from several eBay sellers here too for around the same price. So it certainly isn’t an expensive watch and so you would expect the features included would be limited. Not so.
First, you can insert an SD or TF card for more storage AND a SIM card (2G only though so of limited use in many places now) so you can do the Dick Tracey thing (or Maxwell Smart – hang on he used a shoe phone…) and make and receive calls and text message straight from your watch! But, you can also make and receive calls and texts using your phone when it’s paired to the watch by Bluetooth – this is what I expect most people will choose to do. The inbuilt speaker is surprisingly good and answering a call while talking to your watch sounds a little gimicky, but actually is great in the car – so it’s like a Bluetooth hands free but always on your wrist.
When paired to the phone, you can access all your contacts, call and message logs and control your phone’s camera (great for taking more natural ‘selfies’). The watch, like most smartwatches can monitor your heart rate, steps (but this wasn’t very accurate for me) and even how much sleep you get. There is a ‘find my watch’ feature too, great for when you have forgotten where you left it but of course they have to be within range of each other 40-50m. There is also an alarm and even an audio recorder to quietly record meetings or conversations.
I found that I can get a full days use out of the watch or close to 2 days if I don’t pair it to the phone and charging is by a clever magnetic clip that has a USB plug to charge from your laptop or a USB phone charger. This is much better than many I’ve seen that have a USB socket with plastic cover that breaks off after a few month’s use. It is supposed to be waterproof / splash proof – but I wouldn’t wear it in the shower myself. The strap isn’t changeable however but it seems well made and not ‘plasticky’ so should last as long as the non-replaceable battery! The watch apparently has a ‘sapphire crystal face’ so should be scratch resistant, but it does come with a screen protector already fitted plus a spare so take that with a grain of salt. The watch case is made of aluminium not plastic and comes in three colours, white, gold and black. I chose black as I’ve seen comments that the white colour can wear off on this model and it looks very stylish.
There are issues with the software you use to connect watch to smartphone though. It’s called FundoWear and it’s pretty horrible – BUT – there is an alternative that works much better called MediaTek SmartDevice available in the Play Store (link below). This has the added advantage of being able to add watch faces to the phone – 4 are built in but you can add 5 or 6 more and these can be found online quite easily. You need ones called VXP watch faces – just Google it. Installing them involves ‘unzipping’ the three files in each face set then putting them into a folder on your phone and then installing them on the watch from there, but there are online tutorials on doing this and it isn’t that hard. The watch faces are very readable in sunlight (it has an AmoLED screen) even when set to level 3 out of 5 brightness and I like the motion setting so the screen turns on when you rotate your wrist to look at the watch. It turns off again when your wrist is ‘vertical’ again. There is also a display timer that you can set how long the display stays on for too.
Here’s a few that I’ve used on my watch – note that I’ve pixelated the logos out on some images as they are famous watch brands and I don’t want to get into trouble !
All in all, I’m happy with my new smartwatch – there are always compromises with the cheaper smartwatches but I couldn’t justify $400 odd for the name brand full Android ones – but they are coming down in price so maybe in a year or two!
Price : Free
Needs : 4.0+