Mar­tian Pass­port

Australian T3 - - RATED -

US$299, MAR­TIAN­WATCHES.COM

Part tra­di­tional watch, part smart­watch, all medi­ocre

De­spite its out-of-this-world name, the Mar­tian Pass­port is, in fact, the most tra­di­tional-look­ing time­piece on test, con­fin­ing its smart fea­tures to a small OLED strip, pack­ing just 96x16 pix­els, at the bot­tom of the face. The rest of the dis­play is taken up by an ac­tual watch, though not a par­tic­u­larly nice-look­ing one.

De­spite the dis­creet­ness of the “smart” el­e­ments, the Mar­tian isn’t lack­ing in fea­tures. It’s one of only two watches on test with its own speaker and noise-can­celling mic, mean­ing you can take calls and use voice com­mands to dic­tate texts with­out hav­ing to re­move your phone from your pocket or use a hands-free set. How­ever, it’s un­likely you’ll ac­tu­ally want to take calls as it doesn’t of­fer any­where near the clar­ity, let alone pri­vacy, of a smart­phone.

You can in­ter­act with Ap­ple’s Siri or An­droid’s Voice Search, though, by press­ing the top but­ton, as the Mar­tian is com­pat­i­ble with iOS and An­droid, con­nect­ing via Blue­tooth 4.0. Be­ing able to ask a ques­tion of your watch is quite cool, even if in most cases the re­sults aren’t read back to you but dis­played on your phone’s screen.

Alerts come via the Mar­tian app only – you can choose which ones to re­ceive – but it only cov­ers the ba­sics, with no­ti­fi­ca­tions for texts, emails, cal­en­dar ap­point­ments and re­minders. There’s no Face­book no­ti­fi­ca­tions (just di­rect mes­sages) or gen­eral Tweets (only @men­tions) and third-party apps are a no-no. Sure, there’s limited space avail­able to dis­play them, but it feels re­stric­tive.

The smart fea­tures charge over mi­cro US B and Mar­tian quotes seven days of use on standby, though clearly that’s not much use. Longevity drops to just two hours if you use voice con­trols, but if the smart fea­tures die, the clock is hand­ily on a sep­a­rate bat­tery that’ll keep tick­ing for up to two years. For a smart­watch, the smart el­e­ments feel tagged on. Love Voice con­trol. Sep­a­rate bat­tery to keep ana­logue watch tick­ing Hate Pretty damn ugly. Limited dis­play only of­fers ba­sic info. No sup­port for third-party apps T3 Says A fairly unattrac­tive watch that doesn’t quite live up to its smart billing

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