The Neptune Pine smartwatch is only available for pre-order at the moment, however, we managed to get our hands on it during the International Consumer Electronics Show, last month.
At first glance, it looked easily the bulkiest smartwatch we’ve used so far, but after a little exploration, it turned out to be extremely intriguing. Consider it a mini android smartphone wrapped around your wrist, packed with promising features. The price of Neptune Pine will start from US$335.
At a glance
- Operating system : Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- Display : 2.4-inch, full-colour capacitive TFT 320×240 QVGA resolution
- Connectivity : Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-SIM, NFC
- Size : 66.0 x 53.5 x 14.2 mm
- Weight : 96 grams
- Battery : 810 mAh lithium polymer
- Memory : 512 MB
- Storage capacity : 8, 16 or 32 GB
- Camera : 5-mp rear-facing, VGA front facing with LED flash
Design & display
In the Pine’s case, there is a tradeoff between user-friendliness and elegance – in other words, the Neptune Pine is more user-friendly and less elegant.
Even with the big face, the watch does give a premium air because of the matte finish, frosted-steel buttons and the water-resistant casing. The tempered-glass face on the display brings you clear info… in a stylish manner!
The 2.4-in, 6-icon screen offers almost 108% more screen area than the Galaxy Gear and is almost half the size of the iPhone 4s’ screen, so you can – with some hassle – type with two thumbs. If you don’t want to go through the chore of typing, the Pine also supports Google Now and you can dictate text by speaking directly into it. The user interface will be familiar if you’ve used an Android phone.
There are also three buttons on the side just like any other android device, one opens the menu, the one in the middle is Home button, while the one at the bottom takes you back to the previous menu. It’s speculated that voice control will replace typing on most wearable gadgets in near future, still the big screen is obviously a big perk. However, it kicks the watch a couple notches down when considering attractiveness of the design. Another advantage of Neptune Pine over most watches is that you can customize notifications i.e. they can ring, vibrate or both.
Luckily the smartwatch can be charged with a micro-USB port, which is right under the main body of the band, and no additional hardware is needed. Since we had only a few minutes to play with the smartwatch, assessing its battery life was not possible, however, Neptune claims up to seven hours of internet use on Wi-Fi. Considering the relatively large screen, extensive usage will drain the 810 mAh lithium polymer battery pretty quickly. Their CEO Wilkins divulged that with regular use, the watch would run for one day – not very impressive.
Features and apps
Owing to a licensing issue, the Pine doesn’t have Google Play Store or other Google services, which might be a major issue when the watch is launched. We were told by the representatives that the company is working on its own app store – which clearly is not an ideal solution but probably the only solution available right now.
From the built-in apps, the one that instantly caught my eye was my favorite game Angry Birds, and yes it does run pretty smoothly. The Neptune Pine smartwatch can also be your personal digital assistant because it comes with a calendar, voice recorder, calculator, alarms, notes etc. If you are a fitness freak and want to keep a track of your heartbeat when doing exercises or riding a bike in the mountains, the Pine will give you accurate heart rate. On top of that, the watch can be paired with several other fitness-tracking devices via Bluetooth to help you get most out of your workout. Other notable apps are Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Digital compass.
The Neptune Pine smartwatch comes with two cameras one at the front, while one at the back. The one in the front is a VGA camera – ideal for video chat or taking selfies. Just as expected from a VGA cam, the image quality isn’t impressive, especially when the object isn’t well-lit. The 5 megapixel camera at the rear is much better. Just pull the main body of the watch off the strap and you can shoot just like you would with your smartphone.
The Neptune Pine smartwatch vs others – a quick comparison
The only smartwatch that can actually be compared with the Pine is the Omate Truesmart, because almost all other smartwatches are merely an extension to your smartphone while these two can work as a smartphone when a micro-SIM is inserted. Click the image below to view our comparison.
As compared to most other smartwatches like the Pebble, the Galaxy Gear, the Sony SmartWatch 2 etc. the Pine has a massive screen. It is a major advantage but looks pretty odd and can also be the deal breaker.
As compared to the Omate Truesmart, the Pine has a higher resolution (320×240), bigger screen (2.4”), more powerful battery, and can be charged with a standard USB cable. What’s more, it has a back as well as a font camera and also allows you to have video chat, while the Omate has just one camera.
The Omate TrueSmart on the other hand is inexpensive, has a higher pixel density, smaller body volume, and an external memory slot. Unlike the Neptune Pine, it’s thinner, dustproof, water resistant and sweat resistant.
Yes the two watches are pretty similar but if you are a true techie and want to explore the next levels of smartwatch technology, the Pine is for you, however, if you’re an athlete or an outdoor sportsman, Omate is a better fit.
If you want to free up one of your pockets but don’t mind a gigantic smartwatch prominently sitting on your wrist, the Neptune Pine is the ideal choice at the moment. However, since we could not surf the web or make phone calls, plus there was no app store available, giving a final verdict is not possible right now. All in all, if the Pine works the way it is advertised, it might well be in high demand when released.
Design & Display7/10
Compatibility and Connectivity3/10
Features And Apps3/10
- Large 2.4-inch screen
- Front and back cameras
- Smartphone replacement
- Easily the bulkiest and not very attractive
- Old Android 4.1 build
- No Google Play Store support