i’m watch is one of the first smartwatches that connects to the web, and we had high hopes that the sleek looking gadget will be feature-rich, user-friendly and fun to use. After using it for just a few minutes, however, our excitement faded away rather quickly. Here’s an in-depth analysis of this Italian watch.
- Price : $399 / £299
- Operating system : i’m Droid 2 (customized Android version)
- Display : 1.54” color TFT LCD 240×240 pixel display
- Compatible with : Android 4.0+, iOS® 4+, Blackberry 10+
- Battery life : 5 to 10 hours
- Storage capacity : 4 GB
- Memory : 128 MB
- Size : 52.90×40.60×10 mm
- Weight : 90/95/130/170 g
Design & Display
The design looks elegant and sturdy. The watch is bulky, but the aluminium case is pretty light. Though the silver joints that seam the strap and the case are too flashy, the watch has a graceful overall appearance. There are two stereo speakers on both sides and a power button on the right which when pressed turns the watch on/off, wakes up the display or exits the open app. The left side has the headphone jack, which also acts as the charging and data transfer port.
The i’m Watch has a 1.54 inch, 240 X 240 pixel colour display with a 200 pixels per inch density. The pixel density is less than the Samsung Galaxy Gear’s 278 ppi density, but it still offers a decent and sharp picture. In direct sunlight the text isn’t easily readable as the watch doesn’t have an ambient light sensor in order to adjust the brightness automatically. But when it comes to water resistance, there are two openings on each side from the speakers, the watch is simply not water-proof – and even it being water resistant is questionable.
When it comes to the user interface and user-friendliness, the watch isn’t very impressive. The touchscreen is not as responsive as you would desire to see in a smartwatch intended to save you time and effort.
A good thing about the i’m Watch is that it shows the caller’s name and allows you to answer/reject a call, but the call quality isn’t very impressive, probably because of the run-of-the-mill speaker and mic. Another hassle associated with i’m Watch is that it doesn’t have a vibrator motor, so if you turn your watch silent, you’ll never know about the incoming notifications. The biggest nuisance, however, is the lack of working text message alerts.
While some modern smartwatches like the Martian smartwatch, the Neptune pine, and the Sony SmartWatch 2, can be charged with a standard micro USB cable, the i’m Watch needs special equipment just like the Pebble, the Omate Truesmart and the Samsung Galaxy Gear. You need a USB to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter to charge your smartwatch or transfer data. The vibrant colours suck power from the 450 mAH battery, so to prolong the battery life, the i’m Watch stays in sleep mode. That means you’ll encounter a black screen whenever you look at its face, and to tell the time you need to turn the display on by pressing the power button. It can be annoying if you have your hands full. You’ll need to recharge your i’m Watch after every 5 to 10 hours depending on your usage.
Compatibility and connectivity
The i’m Watch excels when it comes to compatibility. While most watches pair with some of the Android or iOS devices, the i’m Watch can be paired with iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, Android 4.0+ and BlackBerry 10+. However, it’s not a simple pairing as you would do with most other watches by simply connecting the two devices via Bluetooth, you’ll need your watch’s serial number to set up an i’m Cloud account and then begin the sync through the web portal.
Feature and apps
There are several apps on the i’m Cloud including Mail, Address Book, Facebook, Twitter, Weather, Appointments, iMoticon, Stock Market, Compass and more. You can easily select the ones you want to appear on your watch. Remember these apps will appear only as long as the watch stays tethered to your smartphone via Bluetooth. We activated Facebook, Twitter and email, and full text from these apps appeared on the watch (without the pictures) and was fairly easy to read. Other apps include home-baked apps for Google Calendar, a calculator and an alarm clock.
Unfortunately, this is where the good stuff ends. We also tried i’music which was simply a chore to use. From the main screen, if you swipe left, the watch takes you to settings where you can set personal preferences, adjust volume etc. If you swipe right, you’ll see four different screens, each with four apps you’ve selected. You can simply choose a different app by long pressing an icon. We couldn’t figure out why the ‘smartwatch’ doesn’t display general notifications or even text messages from the phone? At first, the watch was advertised to have the capability to display SMS but now it’s “coming soon”.
The i’m Watch vs others
The i’m watch is the most expensive yet least impressive smartwatch we have used so far. On the upside, excluding the Martian range of smartwatches, the i’m watch is compatible with a wider range of smartphones than any other smartwatch. But probably that is the only area where we can give it better grades than its rivals. Here’s a table that compares the i’m watch with other popular smartwatches available on the market these days:
Design & Display5/10
Compatibility and Connectivity8/10
Features And Apps5/10
- Full-text Twitter, Facebook and email messages
- Headphone Slot
- Compatible with iOS devices, Androids as well as Blackberry phones
- Expensive yet fiddly to use
- Short battery life and not water resistant
- No text message integration
- No way to turn off the back light when charging, so the colour display sucks a lot of battery power and increases charging time
- Updating the software is a hassle. You need to download the update from the website, copy it to the watch via USB and then restart the watch