Should you really consider the Martian Smartwatch – an analogue smartwatch that costs almost double the price of some digital smartwatches?
Well, if you are looking for a smartwatch that is compact, can receive notifications from a variety of devices, locates your phone, allows to make/answer calls and listens/talks to you, you should definitely be interested in this stylish gadget.
At a glance
- Compatibility : iOS 6+ and android 4.0+
- Display : Analogue display and 96×16 pixel digital display
- Battery life : 3-5 days
- Connectivity : Bluetooth 4.0
- Size : 39x37mm
- Weight : 70g
Design And Display
There are three different versions of the Martian smartwatch including Martian Passport, Martian Victory and Martian G2G. We used the Passport model that looks something like you might have seen Sean Connery-era James Bond wearing on his wrist.
The analog design comes with high quality materials: stainless steel, aluminum and anti-scratch glass crystal. You can either choose a genuine leather band or a custom-designed silicon band, both with a stainless steel clasp. Though the Martian has a smaller face than most other smartwatches, at 13.3 mm, it’s very thick. Unfortunately, just like the Galaxy Gear, the Martian Smartwatch is not water resistant.
Since smartwatches have a small display, touchscreen interface is usually not the easiest to operate. The folks at Martian realized this and have used voice control instead – probably our way of interacting with smartwatches and smartphones in near future. The watch not only listens to you but also talks by reading texts and other notifications. However, if you want to read your notifications, you’re in luck because there is a small 96×16 digital screen at the bottom of the face.
On the right side is a winder that lets you set the time, while on the left side are two buttons: one is the Select button while the other is the Command button that activates voice control. Managing the different functions and making calls via the Martian Watch was as smooth as it gets. Unlike the Galaxy Gear, that offered good voice quality at the smartwatch user’s end but an average quality at the other end, voice quality was great at both ends because of the noise-cancelling microphone.
Another good thing about the Martian smartwatch is that it fits in well with the rest of the world i.e. you can charge or update software by using the standard Micro USB cable included, while most others need a specific cable or even a cradle for charging. The manufacturer claims that you can expect a battery life of 7 days but we think they have stated the standby time, and a more realistic use will drain the battery within 3 to 5 days.
Compatibility and connectivity
The Martian smartwatches excel when it comes to compatibility with other devices. Right now the smartwatch is compatible with iOS 6 and higher and android 4.0 and higher. What’s more, the general features like text ID and messages will also work with Windows phones and Blackberries. Though, it gives the best experience when running with Google Now or Siri, but if you have an older iPhone, it still works with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS’s integrated voice controls.
Features and apps
Unlike most other smartwatches, the Martian smartwatch isn’t very smart on its own and depends on your smartphone. Though it can pair with both Android and iOS devices, you have to do all the customization through the app you’ve installed on your smartphone.
As soon as you get a notification, the watch vibrates on your wrist and the alert also scrolls along the tiny digital screen. One interesting tweak here is that you can adjust the strength of vibration and speed of scrolling. You can also add a delay before the notification appears on the screen.
We tested the smartwatch with two different devices, one running on iOS while the other on Android. Almost all notifications appeared on the Android phone instantly, but iOS device only pushed notifications form calls, SMS, calendar alerts, reminders, emails, Facebook, and Twitter. This list might be enough for most people, but if you’re a true geek and want all notifications (for example push mail) from your iPhone apps, you have to wait for an update expected to be released soon.
The most amazing feature we noticed is that with Siri or Google Now, your smartwatch can do almost anything from accepting calls to reading emails – so you can enjoy a complete hands-free experience.
Martian smartwatch vs others
Some of the biggest benefits the Martian Passport smartwatch offers over its rivals are; a compact body, capability to be used as a camera control, voice commands and option to locate your phone. On the downside, it’s not water resistant, has a small, low-resolution notification screen and is not developer friendly.
When compared head-to-head with the three most popular smartwatches (including the Pebble, the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Sony SmartWatch 2), it’s the most expensive option along with the Galaxy Gear. Just like the Pebble, it is compatible with iOS and Android devices, but it goes one step ahead and also offers limited compatibility with Windows phones and Blackberries. Some major features missing in the Martian smartwatches as compared to the others are Alarm, Google Hangout, Instagram, and smartphone low battery alert. It also has a very modest digital display with just 96×16 pixels in addition to the analogue face. When it comes to the build, the Martian Smartwatch is made of stainless steel and you can choose a leather or silicon wrist band, in other words it’s better than or as good as any other smartwatch.
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Design & Display6/10
Compatibility and Connectivity8/10
Features And Apps5/10
- Excellent quality with 1 year warranty (and return policy)
- Locates your phone if it’s within about a 20-feet radius
- Compatible with a wide variety of smartphones
- Charging with the standard micro-USB cable
- Powerful voice control
- Not water resistant
- Not very customizable
- Analogue display and a small notification screen
- Thick and heavy