The world of Bluetooth watches is getting immensely crowded. After years of trying, it seems as if Bluetooth watchmakers finally have a captive audience. The Pebble smartwatch seems to be leading the charge in the here and now, but for those looking for something a bit fewer Jetsons and a bit more Dick Tracy, there’s the Martian Passport. At a glance, the unit itself looks very much like a classic wristwatch, replete with analog hand dials, a knob to change the time, and a metallic casing. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll spot a 96 x 16-pixel OLED display, capable of displaying contact names for incoming calls and scrolling new text messages. It’s a bit thick (0.52 inches), but it houses a battery that can survive a full two hours of yapping or seven days in standby. Those needing to juice it back up can do so in a couple of hours via the side-mounted micro-USB port.
Internally, there’s a Bluetooth 4.0 chip (which supports classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth low energy), a vibrating motor for notifications, a three-axis accelerometer, a magnetometer, noise-cancellation microphone, and a couple of menu / select buttons on the left. The whole thing is shockingly well built, oozing quality from every possible pore. It’ll play nice with iOS and Android devices, and there’s an incoming iOS app that’ll add even more functionality in the near future. In our testing here at CES 2013, we found the watch to pick up calls and notifications from an iPhone 4S immediately, and the OLED panel was remarkably easy to see even from a few feet away. Chatting into the watch was predictably awkward, but undercover agents should feel right at home. In all seriousness, audio quality was crisp, and folks on the other end had no issues hearing us.
Is it worth the $299 asking price? That’s hard to say. The famed Pebble will begin shipping in just over a week for a measly $149, so you’d have to really prefer the look of this guy to pay double.