Accessory review: I’m Watch
I’m, the Italian company that claims to have produced the world’s first real smartwatch in 2012, recently took to the stage at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to introduce the next iteration of I’m Watch. I’m says that this smartwatch is the first of its kind to deliver calls, texts, emails, notifications, music, calendars, weather forecasts, pictures, and more directly to your wrist, through the use of Bluetooth technology that connects the watch to iPhone and Android-based smartphones. But is I’m Watch right for you? That’s ultimately up to you to decide, but let me tell you a little more about it here.
First, let’s talk specs. The new I’m Watch features a 1.54-inch full color TFT display with a 240×240 pixel resolution and 220 ppi. It’s got 4GB internal memory, 128MB RAM, a built-in microphone and speaker, a magnetometer and accelerometer, and an IMX233 processor that runs the show. It’s a rather large watch, at 52.90 x 40.60 x 10mm, although it’s relatively light weight.
The smartwatch runs a highly customized version of Android called I’m Droid 2 and has a built-in rechargeable Li-Po 450mAh battery. According to the manufacturer, the standby time without Bluetooth is up to 48 hours, and with a Bluetooth connection that is reduced to up to 24 hours. The talktime with the built-in speakerphone is up to three hours, and that is increased to five hours if you are actively doing other things besides talking. It’s got a 3.5mm audio out jack that doubles as a charging port, via the included USB power cord.
As I stated in my previous post about I’m Watch, some of the standout features of this latest version of I’m Watch that sets it apart from the first generation include:
- Smart tethering that enables the battery to last almost two whole days while tethered.
- I’m Cloud – this feature allows you to manage your smartwatch apps and data through your phone or computer.
- I’mages – this is an application that displays photos you take on your phone on your smartwatch.
- I’market – this is a proprietary app store for I’m Watch that has hundreds of different apps
There are also three different collections with a variety of options, so there’s probably something for everyone:
- Color Collection – color options include white, pink, blue, red, yellow, green, black, and the new Alu (an aluminium color with a white or black strap).
- Tech Collection – options include titanium, carbonium, magnesium, and the titanium Special Blue Edition in electric blue.
- Jewel Collection – this luxury collection includes options in black gold; silver; and yellow, pink and white gold with diamonds.
When you turn the watch off for the first time, you’re taken through a relatively easy setup process that includes setting the correct date and time, as well as linking your I’m Watch to your own personalized online account at I’m Cloud. This account allows you to manage all aspects of the watch, including the apps you can install from I’market, your social media accounts (including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and more. You also use I’m Cloud to download software updates to your computer, which you can then install by connecting your watch to your computer and following the simple instructions.
I personally ran into some connectivity issues with my review unit of I’m Watch: although it connected just fine to my HTC EVO 4G LTE, my phone doesn’t support Bluetooth tethering. I also had difficulties connecting the watch to my ASUS Nexus 7. Therefore, since my watch could not get a data connection through Bluetooth, I was unable to test the various functions of I’m Cloud, nor was I able to set up email, weather, news, or social media. My phone also didn’t support media streaming with I’m Watch, so I wasn’t able to view pictures or listen to music. I’m does warn that not all phones or carriers support Bluetooth tethering, so I can’t really fault the company for this. Still, it would have been nice to see a WiFi option available, but perhaps that will come in the next version.
Even without a data connection, however, that didn’t mean that I’m Watch was completely useless. I was able to place some test calls using the I’m Watch, which functioned fine. The speaker was surprisingly loud for such a small gadget, and while it wasn’t the best sound quality I’ve ever heard, I can’t really complain – after all, it’s a watch. I’m amazed that I can place calls with it at all! There are also very handy calculator, alarm, and compass functions, as well, all of which work without a Bluetooth data connection.
The UI itself is fairly intuitive – it didn’t take me long at all to figure out how to navigate through the system. It can be a bit laggy at times, but never too bad in my experience. I also imagine that this will be improved in future software updates, too.
The concept of the smartwatch is certainly incredibly intriguing, as is the idea of one that runs Android, like I’m Watch does. Fitness buffs might enjoy the ability to connect to heart rate monitors or pedometers. Social media gurus will enjoy always staying connected, even without taking their phones out of their pockets. Music lovers might enjoy the ability to plug in any old pair of headphones to the 3.5mm audio jack and listen to music streaming from their phones. As you can see, depending on your own equipment that you already have, the possibilities here are very interesting. My experience was limited by the capabilities of my phone and tablet, but your experience doesn’t necessarily have to be.
I encourage you to visit I’m Watch online today, and read more about all this watch can do. Feel free to carry on a discussion in the comments below, too. Hopefully, after some good research and conversation, you can determine if I’m Watch ultimately has a place in your own personal gadget collection.