Published on June 19th, 2014 | by Greg0
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.