DNP Alcatel OneTouch Watch assessment: No newbie’s luck right here
The Alcatel identify does not precisely conjure pictures of premium, trend-ahead units, however that hasn’t stopped the French/Chinese language firm from dreaming bug with its first smartwatch. So as to add steam to the OneTouch Watch hype practice, the corporate’s design brass went so far as telling our personal Richard Lai that the corporate’s gunning to be the Zara of the wearable world. Not a method guru? Primarily, Alcatel’s been making an attempt to prepare dinner up a style-ahead smartwatch and not using a price ticket that’ll make your pockets groan. At $one hundred fifty, I might argue the top end result fulfilled the latter half of that equation higher than the previous, however the greater query is whether or not Alcatel’s first try at a wearable is definitely value a rattling. Nicely, after having spent a full week with the OneTouch lashed to my wrist, I stay unconvinced.
- Works with iOS and Android
- Spectacular battery life
- USB charging port constructed into strap
- $one hundred fifty is not horrible for a smartwatch
- Wrist strap is hefty, uncomfortable
- Typically struggles to remain related
- May by no means get third-celebration apps
That is Alcatel’s first stab at making a smartwatch, and it is apparent they are not drawing from an enormous pool of expertise. Regardless of the objective of delivering a refined, engaging smartwatch with an inexpensive price ticket, the OneTouch Watch feels eagerly amateurish at greatest and simply poorly thought out at worst.
Thus far, round screens on smartwatches have been synonymous with premium high quality, however Alcatel’s wanting to show you do not have to shell out gobs of money for a wearable that appears like a standard watch. It isn’t onerous to see the place the corporate cribbed a number of design cues from, both. From the spherical physique hewn partially of chrome steel to the occlusion that partially obscures the underside of the 1.2-inch display to the only crown button lodged on the best edge, the OneTouch Watch seems greater than a bit like a wannabe Moto 360. The remainder of the particulars could not be any extra totally different – the OneTouch packs a STMicroelectronics STM429 chipset and a surprisingly small 210mAh battery to maintain issues thrumming easily. I can not actually fault Alcatel for these exterior similarities – the 360 is definitely one of the crucial engaging wearables on the market – however the design workforce dropped the ball on a couple of key particulars that stored the watch from feeling and looking as good because it might.
Take that chassis for example. I dig the principally metallic construct and that incontrovertible fact that’s water and mud-resistant as much as the IP67 commonplace, however the rear of the watch’s physique is made from chintzy, simply marred black plastic that additionally holds the guts fee monitor in place. Hardly a dealbreaker, positive, however it feels low cost and misplaced right here. It’s going to sound just a little persnickety, however the font Alcatel used to spotlight and 12 and 6 o’clock hours is actually bothersome too. I can not fairly place what typeface they used, however my intestine says one thing extremely generic like Arial Black. What actually will get me is that a barely crisper, classier face design (and even only a typeface change!) would’ve made the Watch look a lot extra refined – as an alternative, it looks like Alcatel simply phoned this half in.
What’s worse, the strap is fairly awful. My evaluation unit got here with a stiff, darkish grey resin band with pink trim (there’s additionally a extra fetching white mannequin up for pre-order), and hardly something about it will make you need to put on it for any critical period of time. The dense materials will make for some sweaty, uncomfortable wrists given sufficient time, and the locking clasp you will use to regulate the band’s match is each initially complicated and tough to open until you’ve got obtained sturdy nails. Factor is, the band additionally doubles because the OneTouch’s charging system so there is no solution to swap it for one thing a bit extra snug. Overlook snap-on plates or wi-fi charging docks – flipping up the top of that inflexible plastic strap reveals a full-measurement USB jack that’ll slip into the aspect of your laptop computer or wall charger like considered one of Nike’s previous Fuelbands. I have been itching to see this in a correct smartwatch, however the stiffness of the coated jack makes it actually exhausting to slide the rubber strap fastener over it. That would not be such an enormous deal if the charging finish of the wristband wasn’t so susceptible to popping unfastened when that fastener is not firmly holding it in place. Sigh: A terrific concept marred by lame execution. It isn’t all dangerous, although, I promise. The display, whereas comparatively low-res at 240×204, is shiny sufficient to face up to some harsh spring daylight. I might have beloved to see an ambient mode that kicked the display right into a low energy mode so I did not should paw at a button each time I questioned what time it was, however positive, Alcatel needed to battle to maintain prices down. In fact a light-weight sensor wasn’t going to make the reduce.Software program
Most of Alcatel’s oeuvre consists of Android smartphones, so it was a shock to listen to that the corporate did not throw Android Put on on its first smartwatch. As an alternative, it runs a homebrew OS that, whereas deliberately restricted in performance, nonetheless manages to play good with each iOS and Android units operating the simplistic OneTouch Transfer companion app. I spent my week with the OneTouch Watch (provide you with the catchier identify subsequent time, please Alcatel) paired alternately with an iPhone 6 and a Galaxy S6 Edge, and to its credit score, the watch carried out simply as properly on one because it did on the opposite. Granted, typically that meant the OneTouch was equally lame on each platforms, however hey – a minimum of it is being constant.
When you hearth up the look ahead to the primary time and blaze by means of the lifeless-easy setup course of, you are left taking a look at, properly, the time. Urgent and holding the watchface brings up a variety display that provides you three complete decisions: a digital readout, a minimalist analog show and a barely extra ornate analog look with on-display hour indicators that attain out to the touch those painted immediately on the face. You would be proper to assume that is not very thrilling, however digging into the companion app allows you to swap background colours and pictures for a bit additional character. The colourful grid of app icons you will swipe by means of after tapping on the show is nearly harking back to Home windows eight’s Begin display, however solely about half of them truly rely as apps – the remaining are system settings like display brightness and airplane mode that did not get lumped collectively right into a separate menu. And the remaining? The climate app provides you present circumstances plus excessive and low temperatures for the subsequent 5 days, whereas an included exercise tracker screens your every day step counts and energy burned. You’ll be able to measure your coronary heart price, use the watch as a compass or stopwatch, find your telephone and even management music enjoying in your telephone. All fairly de rigueur for a smartwatch today. In the meantime, swiping up from the underside of the display opens a notification shade and, tapping on the 6 brings you again to the place you simply have been.
And, properly, that is all of the factor does. At time of writing, there isn’t a extensibility, no additional apps you’ll be able to set up, nothing to assist the Watch weasel its method into your peculiar life. Alcatel spokespeople stated again at CES that they have been seeding units to builders in an effort to jumpstart improvement of recent new apps, however we’ll have to attend and see how that shakes out over time. I can not take heed to that stuff with out my skeptic hat on, although – if I have been a developer and wanted to dedicate my time and power to creating a killer app for a wearable platform, you’d higher consider it would be one individuals have already embraced. The entire platform agnosticism factor is nice in that it probably doubles Alcatel’s marketplace for the Watch, however I’m wondering what number of app makers will truthfully hassle giving this factor a shot.In-use
I understand I have been harsh on this factor thus far, however know this: Questionable design apart, the OneTouch Watch does most of what it got down to do with out an excessive amount of fuss. Utilizing a doodad in your wrist to rely steps might be tough, however watching the counter tick upward in time with my steps down Broadway was reassuring… even when the counts assorted by a number of hundred steps in comparison with the Withings Activité. That is no nice sin although – there’s simply as a lot motivational worth in a ‘broad strokes’ take a look at your motion as there’s in an extremely, granularly correct one. Talking of tough, coronary heart fee screens are all the time at the least a bit of iffy if you cram them into smartwatches and the OneTouch is not any exception. I might be sitting lifeless nonetheless and respiration usually, however my readings would leap from sixty two beats per minute to one hundred forty five inside the span of a minute or two. Cheapo sensor, or coronary heart assault ready to occur? My cash’s on the previous.
To my utter shock, utilizing the Watch as a distant shutter button or my telephone’s digital camera was the simplest, seamless trick Alcatel delivered to the desk. The interface consists of a single button to snap a photograph – overlook about altering focus out of your wrist – and it simply labored each time. Brava. Too dangerous the constructed-in music management app does not fare almost as nicely. Biking via tracks with a fast left or proper swipe is straightforward sufficient, ready for the quantity degree to catch as much as the place my finger was took ages. After I whereas I found out I might change quantity quicker by furiously rubbing my finger on the display as an alternative of dragging the slider round it. Notifications roll in with
When every thing’s synced up the best way it is purported to be, the expertise may be virtually peachy. Problem is, the watch is fairly awful at connecting to your telephone once more for those who spend too lengthy out of vary. Truly, you do not even must be all that distant – I’ve seen the watch fumble the connection whereas sitting proper subsequent to my iPhone on a sofa. Both means, you in all probability will not discover the issue till a blue bubble pops up on the show asking you launch the OneTouch companion app once more to re-forge the the bond between units. Oh, what’s that? You have been anticipating an essential message? Hope you were not counting in your wrist to buzz then. Sometimes, fetching an up to date climate forecast will take so lengthy you will marvel why you did not dig your telephone out of your pocket to start out with.
My beef extends nicely past simply connectivity points, by the best way. The constructed-in accelerometer often does a effective job of lighting up the display whenever you convey your wrist as much as your face, besides when it simply does not. It often types itself out after a short while, however *as I write this sentence* it has been over an hour because the movement-delicate show function stopped working and I’ve no earthly concept why. I additionally spent one notably lazy Sunday on an eleven mile traipse round city and racked up one thing like 23,000 steps. My telephone died halfway by means of the day and I assumed nothing of it till I lastly obtained the factor to a charger after midnight, when not one of the motion knowledge from the previous 24 hours ever synced. Since there is no option to view info older than a day on the Watch itself, all the ego-swelling statistics from that day appear to have disappeared perpetually. It is these little technological lapses in judgment that flip an in any other case serviceable smartwatch into one thing to be coddled and cared for, and that is only a bummer.
If the OneTouch Watch has a single saving grace, it is the 210mAh battery tucked away in there. Alcatel claims the typical consumer can squeeze between two and 5 days out of the watch earlier than it must cost once more, and – fortunately – that is roughly what I’ve seen over the previous week. Even with brightness cranked all the best way up and notifications pouring in like a tidal wave, I could not get the OneTouch to die earlier than a full forty eight hours had handed. Three to 3 and half days was the typical period of time it took to completely kill this factor, and with a bit forethought (and a number of Airplane Mode), the OneTouch might simply hit 4 of 5 days earlier than formally giving up the ghost.The competitors Wrap-up
- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/alcatel-onetouch/watch/” title=”Alcatel OneTouch Watch critiques” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations • zero </a>
- Type issue Different
- Display measurement 1.22 inches
- Weight 2.12 oz
- Introduced 2015-01-05