Review: Razer Nabu Watch Forged Edition

Well, I couldn’t help myself. I’m getting tired of conventional smart watches and their terrible battery life, so I decided to give the Nabu Watch Forged Edition a try. I’ve only had this watch for a few days now, so this is a review in progress which I shall update as we go.

I’m a massive fan of big watches and I’ve always wished that Casio would bring us a smart G-Shock, which they kind of are, but it’s pricey and not yet available. When I saw Razer’s Nabu Watch my heart skipped a couple of beats, and when I got an email confirming it was now available for purchase I gave in and ordered the Forged Edition.

Now, it’s not a conventional smart watch, but it has smart features. The watch has a normal watch feature, it will last between 12-18 months on a standard battery, but there is also a second screen just below the main display that handles your smart features. The smart features include step counting, sleep tracking, and notifications, pretty much all the things you want.

Look and Feel

The watch itself is a beast. It looks big in the pictures and is no smaller in real life, but it is surprisingly comfortable to wear. A few of my colleagues tried the watch on and commented on how nice it felt to wear. The screens both look good, with the lower smart screen being exceptionally bright and readable despite its smaller size.

The Nabu Watch feels very premium with a rubberized plastic surround, and metal trim and buttons. The one thing it lacks in comparison to the standard edition is the bright Razer green trim. Although that looks pretty nice in the pictures I’m really fond of the metal trim and buttons on the Forged Edition, so it’s a worth while trade off.

Conclusion

That’s it for now. I’ll be updating the review shortly, but after only having a few days with the watch, it’s not quite time yet to sum it all up. I’ll admit, I’m really enjoying this watch so far and I definitely prefer it to standard smart watches, but only time will tell how I feel about it. Check back soon!

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Battle of the Smart Bands

This week I’ll be taking two Smart Bands out for a test drive in the hopes of finding out which one is better! The two bands that are battling it out are as follows, the Microsoft Band and the Sony Smartband Talk SWR30.

The Microsoft Band launched in the UK not so long ago and I’ve already really enjoyed using the device. I’ve been a user for about 4 weeks now and I’ve got to say I’m impressed by how accurate it seems to be with regards to its fitness tracking features.

The Sony Smartband Talk has a lot to live up to, but I like what I’ve seen from the Lifelog app. Combined with a nice looking e-ink display and talk functions for taking phone calls, I’m sure Sony is going to stand its ground in this weeks arena!

Stay tuned for my thoughts and feelings on both devices next Monday when I’ll have had a good length of time to really see what they are both capable of.

In the meantime feel free to check out my initial thoughts regarding the Microsoft Band in the video below.

Android Wear

Well with the revelation of Android Wear things in the wearable department just got a whole lot meatier! It’s great to see that wearables will soon sport properly developed OS’s to work with our small devices rather than what we have at the moment.

What really caught my eye was Motorola’s new watch, the Moto 360. It looks smart, sleek, and above all like a watch. I can’t wait to see the flood of new wearables that will soon be hitting the market. There have been a fair few manufactures jumping onboard this announcement, proclaiming their intent to bring wearable tech to the market.

For a long time now we’ve been forced to wear clunky devices, that feel more like test products than anything else, if we have wanted to dive into the world of wearable tech. With Google’s latest announcement, a sort of Nexus platform for wearables, things look like they will soon be changing.

 


Samsung Galaxy Gear Review

Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy Gear, an intriguing bit of kit and perhaps one of the smartest wearables out there. With competition hotting up and wearables fighting to become relevant in the market place how does the Gear hold up?

Look and Feel

To start with, its a lovely looking device. Its sleek and elegant with a gorgeous premium feel to it. The screen is a good size and the metal surround looks fantastic.

The strap isn’t to my taste, an off rubberised texture that has started to irritate my wrist after a few days of use. I wish Samsung had opted for a metal finish for their strap as the current one really takes away from the premium look.

While we are on the subject of strap the clasp on the bottom is pretty large. This houses the speaker for the Gear and due to it being beneath your wrist it really gets in the way. I constantly found myself getting caught against desk edges or on keyboards and the clasp makes the Gear extremely uncomfortable for everyday use.

Another issue I found with the design is the camera location. I would have much preferred a front facing camera for video calls, instead we have a very large and obvious camera located on the front of the wrist band. Great if you desperately need to snap a quick picture but people will throw a fair few questioning glances at your Gear when they spot your spy camera.

User Interface

Its pretty basic yet intuitive at the same time. Lift your arm up towards you and the Gear will spring to life, by far my favourite feature. Swipe to the left to show notifications or continue scrolling for other apps.

You can also set quick gestures, for example the pre set gesture, swipe down from the top of the screen and your camera will power up, swipe up and your phone dialer will pop up. These gestures are welcome when it comes to such a tiny screen.

Normally I wouldn’t touch on this subject here but I feel sound quality needs a mention. Its good, very good in fact. During a call I could hear everything clearly even when I was in a relatively noisy area. Those around me fed back that all they could hear was muffles which allowed the call to remain private. I didn’t expect this device to be any good during calls and must admit I’m pleasantly surprised.

Camera

As I mentioned already I would have preferred a front facing camera, however Samsung opted to give us a spy camera shooter. To be honest the camera is OK, its not good, its not bad. I can’t see many occasions where you would want to use it but for some it is handy.

The major issue I have with the camera is that its relatively large and adds some bulk to the device. It also stands out like a sore thumb, with many people asking why I have a camera on my watch and giving me weird disapproving looks. I can see where they’re coming from, I mean what kind of person needs a secret camera on their watch?

Battery

I’ve heard some horror stories about the Gears battery. I managed a consistent and solid two days on my Gear between charges. Its not fantastic but its better than expected.

A word of warning for potential buyers. The Gear has to be charged in its unique cradle which doesn’t make charging on the go as easy as I’ve had liked. The reason for this is to remove the need for micro USB ports on the device itself, a trade off I wish Samsung hadn’t made.

What I liked

It does a lot more than the competition currently does and saves a lot of battery on my phone. Whenever my phone buzzes I can check wherever or not its worth while looking in more detail with a quick glance at my watch.

What I disliked

It’s uncomfortable. I thought that with a little time I would get used to wearing the Gear but I’m still very conscious its there. Its just a little too bulky in the wrong places. The clasp on the bottom ruins the device completely in my opinion, sticking out and catching far too much.

Conclusion

I really want to love the Gear but I just can’t bring myself to fall for it. Its gorgeous and well built but some of the trade offs that Samsung made are far too obvious to ignore.

The lack of compatibility also causes issues, confusing many potential customers. Unless you are sporting one of the latest Samsung Galaxy phones then you are out of luck.

The Gear feels like a gimmick at the moment with a fair bit of potential. In my opinion it just isn’t yet ready for prime time and my recommendation would be to wait for the second generation of the Gear.

Wearable Tech

So wearable tech seems to be all the rage right now. We have Google Glass just around the corner and wrist watches that pair up with our smartphones. Despite the torrent of new devices flooding the market I’m yet to be blown away by any.

There’s a few nice little devices I’ve played with. I’m intrigued by Samsung’s Galaxy Gear but it’s lack of compatibility is pretty disappointing. It’s got a whole range of features but I really don’t fancy changing my phone just to use a smart watch. I’ve had a good play with the Gear and it’s a very responsive device. The camera is pretty good quality but I can’t understand why it doesn’t just have a front facing camera instead? I’m sure Samsung will address the devices short comings with the Galaxy Gear 2 and hopefully throw in some compatibility with other devices.

On the other hand we have Sony’s Smart Watch which is compatible with most Android devices but it lacks features. It’s really a fancy second screen for your smartphone with no real ability to interact with whats happening on your device. You get a notification and in order to interact you have to pull out your smartphone. Pointless really.

I’ve just backed the Neptune Pine on Kickstarter. It’s a nice looking device with loads of potential. It can do pretty much everything my smartphone can but it is a little large. It can be used as a phone thats strapped to your wrist or you can download a companion app onto your smartphone and use the Neptune Pine as a feature packed smart watch. It’s a powerful little beast and packs a front facing camera so video calls on the go could get interesting. I’ll get my device sometime in January so I’ll write a review on it when it arrives.

2013 hasn’t been a fantastic year for wearable tech but I believe 2014 will see a massive range of devices storming into the market and hopefully they will be far better than what we have on offer right now.