Smartwatch delivers “watch” element, fails on other bit
This generation of smartwatches is typified by a move away from the overly plasticky look of the original breed. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the info-packed 96x96 pixel LCD screen on the face, this just would look like a normal wristwatch. Not very stylish, granted, but normal.
Actually, the Frame is the ugliest device on test (which, you’ll find out, is saying something). It’s also festooned with an excess of all-too-easy-to-accidentally-press buttons and a screen with a reflective mirror effect that makes it hard to read in sunshine. Textbook.
The Frame works with both iOS and Android devices, connecting via Bluetooth 4.0. The MetawatchManager app controls the grid-like display on the screen, letting you choose which notifications appear on an app-by-app basis. That’s great in theory, and a smart way to display a lot of info at a glance, but the current reality is a near complete lack of apps.
You can receive texts, emails (iPhone only) and calendar notifications, control music and screen calls, but everything else, from Facebook and Twitter integration to fitness apps, is “coming soon”. Oh, and it won’t let you set an alarm – the watch we had at age six did that! It will, however, alert you if you stray too far from your phone, reducing the risk of leaving it in bars.
It charges using standard micro US B but, stupidly, requires a proprietary clip to connect to the watch via a small C-shaped connector on the back. This inelegant solution makes it a pain to connect properly and renders the watch useless while charging by covering most of the watchface. Once fully juiced up you can use it for up to a week, though.
Despite arriving at the smartwatch market in time for the second generation, this feels more like a first-gen product. It fails to impress when it comes to style, functionality and, at this point, availability of apps. We doubt we’ll bother going back to it even if the latter situation changes. Love Info-packed display. Decent battery life Hate Mirrored LCD display difficult to see in direct sunlight. Uninspired design. Current lack of apps T3 Says This watch’s face may be packed with info, but with so few apps, little of it feels essential