Gadgets martiannotifier

Published on June 19th, 2014 | by Greg


Martian Notifier: A More Refined Smart Watch

For many people, it seems like smartphones have opened up new frontiers of accessibility and communication, only to create a whole lot of problems and annoyances around those very same issues. Folks walk down the street distracted, get into accidents while texting and driving, and are pulled into checking their phones during dates, movies, and every sort of private occasion from weddings to funerals. Part of this is just getting accustomed to new technology, before society has caught up and created some guidelines for politeness. But if you’re the sort of busy person who checks their phone constantly for important updates, and yet don’t want to interrupt your meetings, then you might want to consider a smart watch.

The Martian Notifier isn’t a fitness tracking peripheral, and won’t presume to count calories or help you exercise or help camping like some other tech-friendly watches that we’ve seen. It’s got an analog face that belies the sophisticated electronics inside, unlike some models. But it’s truly a smartwatch, connecting to your smartphone and becoming a sort of portal to your Android or iOS device. The idea is simple- they stripped away some features from their top-notch previous version (perhaps our favorite watch), including some that we miss, but pared the functions down to the most essential ones. As you can tell from the name, the core of this watch is the ability to get notifications, via an unobtrusive OLED screen that’s bright and easy to read. You can also setup and receive custom vibration alerts, which are really handy. And this way, you’ll never miss a call or text, and you’ll be able to tell who is calling or what the text says without having to grab your phone. You can even tap the face of the watch to dismiss or repeat a notification.

A watch is far more discrete- peer at it quickly and even your boss won’t be offended. And this watch’s traditional appearance lends itself well to even the most conservative business environment. Plus, it’s not just calls and messages that you can gain access to- you can see notifications from thousands of other apps from Facebook to Twitter to your calendar, bank app, or sports updates as well. One cool additional thing you can do with vibration is setup a silent alarm, so you won’t wake your partner when it’s time to head to the gym at 6am. We tested it largely with an iPhone 5, but it also works across other devices (Android 2.3.3 and above) thanks to the free apps. Connection is simple, via Bluetooth, and we never faced issues with losing it- in fact, you can setup a ‘leash’ that makes your watch start buzzing if you get out of range of your phone, ensuring you won’t leave it behind in a cab or restaurant.

There’s no speaker anymore, so no more voice calls or listening to the smooth sound of Siri. But you can still use the watch as a camera remote control. And it is water resistant now, and though they don’t claim any particular rating yet, we were able to take it into the shower with no ill effects. In fact, the only connector port is so deeply recessed that you’ll need a special (included) cable to access it for charging- a bit of an annoyance, but their custom solution is totally compatible with other devices, it just uses longer connector. On that topic, battery life is much improved over their predecessor, lasting around 5 days on a full charge, plus there is a separate battery for the clock itself. Lightweight (only 1.8 ounces, less than most any other smartwatch we’ve seen), the Notifier is comfortable, and available with several different colors of bands and faces. Plus, it’s very reasonably priced, coming in at an inexpensive $129, available now.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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