The Wrist.


Anakin: “You know the Dark Side?

Palpatine: “Anakin, if one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects, not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi. If you wish to become a complete and wise leader, you must embrace, a larger view of the Force.

I feel this quote from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith rings true to the smart wrists of our current time.
I’ve been curious about smart devices on the wrist since I first came across them a couple of years ago. I even wrote a short article on how watches and televisions weren’t the next big thing.

But I think they are now.

I’ve owned a Pebble Steel since December. I’ve tried out a Sony Smartband, and I’m testing out a Microsoft Band now for work purposes.

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I’m now selling the Pebble Steel, of which its auction on eBay ended on Sunday, while the Apple Watch is available from Friday.
The Steel was great for one thing which sets it apart from the others; the battery. It got to the point where I forgot when I last charged it, and it got to the point where the Steel forgot what time it was, and reset itself to January 1st when it had turned itself off during the night, on what have must have been day 8.

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Its own manager on iOS and Android worked well, where you could install apps and watch faces into what was called a ‘locker’. You could drag one on or off the watch, and still have it stored on the app manager.

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It handled notifications well, even for a Fort Knox system like iOS. If I got a WhatsApp or a Snapchat, it would tell me, and I could press one button to get rid of one, or hold down a press to be rid of all the notifications. I could answer a call, and it would show who would be calling me, and how long the call was going on for. Of course I couldn’t speak into the watch as there’s no microphone and speaker, but for a glancable watch, it did its job well.

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But I got bored. The e-ink screen impressed, but it’s response time in switching between different faces and menus is far too slow, and the black and whites would become inverted on certain faces.

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Overall, for a glancable watch, it does its job well, and it looks like a watch.
The Microsoft Band I’ve worn for about a week now, and for its function, it works well.

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It took some getting used to having the face on the bottom of my wrist, but it works better. If you rest your arm on a surface, you don’t notice it, but you do if the band was worn like a  watch, and this isn’t one.
It’s important to keep that in mind. This is a smart-sportband. I’m wearing this in a coffee shop as I write this, and it’s out of place. It’s nice to see it read my heart rate and steps so far, but if I was at the gym daily and running in the sunny weather, that’s when it’d be worn.

I did try sleeping with it on, but it was irritating.

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The strap is a nice touch, in that you can adjust it to how you want. It’s a slider, so it can fit a lot of wrists. It also comes in small and medium, so if you feel the medium model is too big, you can always go for the smaller option.

Of course, if it’s paired with its operating system of choice, you’re going to get more out of it, which is where Cortana comes in. you can speak into the band, and with a Windows Phone paired, it will recognise the command, and do the required action. this can be from composing a text, to ask about the weather.

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A friend has his own site (Link) where he’s documenting his running, and a Band would be perfect for him,and would even motivate him more to go the extra distance when training.

With the Apple Watch, it can fit to what I’m doing in the day, and I can see watch shops selling their own custom bands. They only need to nail down the strap mechanism, and the choice will be far beyond Apples own straps.

Even with watch shops, eventually there’ll be a time where they’ll be selling Apple Watch straps, and offering Apple-authorised maintenance on having them paired with their customers’  iPhones. Even with the Pebble Steel and the forthcoming Pebble Time Steel, it’s the next logical step to accommodate them going forward to sustain their customers, and attract new ones to those who haven’t set foot in a watch shop in years.

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In the end, the Star Wars quote relates to trying all of them, whether it’s just testing them all in a shop, or borrowing it from a friends for a few days. Eventually, you understand how the category justifies itself in different ways, and how it fits many different lifestyles to improve upon them.

Plus, they’re great ways to tell the time when needed.

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