One of the current gadget crazes is the smartwatch, with everyone from no-name startups to Apple getting in on the expensive fun. With a wide spectrum of pricing for this type of gadget, it’s not just the features that will vary, but the quality, too.
First of all, what’s a smartwatch even for? Again, price is going to dictate functionality with these things. For Apple’s asking price, the watch had better do everything including fix you a sandwich. But for the lower end models, the smartwatch basically functions as an alert center. It will vibrate unobtrusively for things like incoming emails, text messages, and alarms that you’ve set up on your smartphone. It connects to your device via Bluetooth and pretty much serves as a silent reminder of the things your phone is trying to already tell you.
Oband sent over one of its Aurora smartwatches for a review, and this mid-priced model also included a health dashboard to help you keep up with physical exercise, sleep quality, and more. Sadly, the first thing I noticed was the watch’s basic inability to even be a watch. The hands weren’t connected properly, so setting it was only a good idea if you planned to lay it on your desk and use it as a clock. If you so much as reached for your latte while wearing it, the hands were going to fall out of position. The fact that it never managed to find my smartphone and connect to it made it pretty much useless.
Anything can happen in shipping, so I gave the company the benefit of the doubt. I fired off a quick email about the problems the watch was having, and they happily shipped over another one.
This one had a human hair stuck to the face beneath the bezel. Perhaps that hair was an integral part of the system, since this replacement model’s hands at least held their positions when you set it. Unfortunately, this one didn’t manage to find my iPhone either, despite my confirmation that all the required updates and Bluetooth 4.0 were in place.
Interestingly, the best part of the Oband Aurora (besides the two interchangeable watchbands that came with it, letting you go from casual to formal at the flick of a pin) was the app that powers it. I got the feeling the developers put so much time into the app that they forgot to pay attention to the quality behind the hardware. If they ever get the watch working, the app alone is seamless, user friendly, and engaging.