Apple’s hoopla release of the Apple Watch and Google’s continued push of Android Wear is currently taking up the majority of the headlines and press. While the offerings from both companies are good and they do what they do well, not everyone is ready for a touch screen interface on their wrists. A smartwatch doesn’t have to exhibit the same characteristics of the Apple Watch or Moto 360 to be a smartwatch. Currently a smartwatch should just have to deliver notifications and events to your wrist for easy consumption. With the release of LG Urbane Watch 2 we may be heading to a new generation of smartwatches that will end up circumventing the phone all together. For now there is a different kind of smartwatch, a smartwatch that sets itself apart from Apple and Android, this is the Martian Envoy G10 review.
- Analog quartz watch with Japanese movement
- Upper Command Button
- Lower Select Button
- 96 x 16 pixel graphic OLED display
- Bluetooth® 4.0 chip (classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth low energy)
- RGB LED light
- Vibrating Motor
- 3-Axis Accelerometer
- Silicone band with stainless steel clasp
- Anti-scratch mineral glass
- Micro USB port for recharging and firmware updates
- Measurements: W:42mm H:15mm L:265mm
- 5 days of use time (separate analog watch battery will run for up to 2 years)
- Built-in lithium polymer rechargeable battery
- Up to 2 hours charging time
- Charging via USB to computer or power adapter
At first glance you’ll notice the Envoy G10 doesn’t look like a smartwatch, at least not the ones you see on TV – and that’s exactly how Martian wants it. The watch is beautifully designed with all the looks of a well made mid-priced wrist watch. With all the attention the other watches are getting, you’re likely going to fly under the radar with this design. The Envoy G10 is made up of steel and high end plastics and is lighter than it looks. The crown, side buttons and inlays in the face are a brilliant chrome and the body of the watch has some thickness to it.
The watch strap is made of a soft rubber which does very well against sweat and water, and is very easily cleaned. I would have liked to have seen a leather strap as default but this rubber strap is still high quality and honestly passes very nicely as leather. The strap is replaceable and the pins are fairly easy to get to, though it would have been nice if the strap did have quick release pins built in. Overall the design is sleek and stylish something Martian wants for their users. The idea being that the watch blends into the user’s surroundings, it adapts to the user rather than the user having to adapt to the watch.
The display is a 96 x 16 pixel graphic OLED display covered by anti-scratch mineral glass that is designed to protect your Envoy display. The inlays are made of a chrome material and the watch hands look to be made of steel. The OLED display under the main watch display is where you see all your notifications and it’s plenty bright and readable even in direct sunlight. The notifications scroll along like a ticker and you can set the speed in the Martian app along with many other features. The one thing I wish the Envoy had was glowing hands for nighttime at a glance time checks. Sure it’s easy enough to push the button and grab the time from the OLED display in the dark but having the hands light up in the dark would have been convenient.
- App Notifications: Get push notifications from hundreds of your favorite social, news, fitness, sports and other apps.
- Customizable Vibrations: Screen the alerts you want and assign a custom vibration pattern to make each one unique, for awareness without even looking.
- Voice Commands: Use “read message”, “send message”, “make a note” and many of other voice commands. Uniquely get voice responses.
- Speaker Phone: Place or accept a call from your wrist. Great for any time when it’s inconvenient or not safe to pull out your phone.
- Camera Remote Trigger: Jump into the scene and snap photos of the group using a button on your watch as the shutter control.
- Music Control: See the artist name and what’s playing, and play, pause or jump to the next song while on the move (iOS only).
- Leash & Find Phone: Get alerted when you’ve left your phone behind. Or find your phone when it’s close by but hidden, even when in silent mode.
- Digital World Clock: Press one button to access the accurate digital time for any location you set around the globe.
The Martian Companion app is what you’ll use to manage notifications and alerts to your Envoy, and it works with both iOS and Android. There are a variety of things you can do with the app from setting the apps you want to be notified by to setting the vibration pattern for each notification. The vibration pattern customization is extremely helpful so you know what notification is coming in letting you choose when you want to actually look at the watch. For example, I have text messages sent to three vibrations and email set to two, I don’t always want to look at email but I do text messages. With the vibration pattern set I’ll know that text messages are coming and I need to quick look at the message.[clickToTweet tweet=”.@MartianWatches, Smartwatches without the battery drain, simple notifications is all you need.” quote=”@MartianWatches, Smartwatches without the battery drain, simple notifications is all you need.”]
Leash and find phone is a handy feature if you accidentally lose your phone, you can send an alert to the phone and then you’re able to locate it by sound. You can also use the watch as a remote camera trigger allowing you to take that family photo without needing a 3rd pair of hands. The software also works with Siri and Google Now allowing you to use voice commands for both assistants. You can also easily control your music with the software which makes it really convenient when driving. Overall the software is solid, the user interface of the app could probably use some aesthetic work but the app works perfectly.
The Envoy performed very well and did exactly what it was supposed to do in terms of a notification center. There was almost zero delay between the iPhone buzzing and the watch buzzing. At first you would think such a small display would be a pain to read notifications but it’s really not bad at all because it only takes the first sentence or two to get the gist of the notification. That’s exactly what the Envoy is for, it’s not for grabbing the entirety of notifications but it’s for grabbing the first bits that matter for you to make a choice on whether to act on it or not.
Battery life is something that does exceedingly well and better than Apple or Android. Because the screen is so small and is just text my Envoy lasted for about six days, which is amazing. The nice thing is the analog part of the watch runs on a regular watch battery which can last up to two years. So overall, the Envoy battery life is something to consider given that most other smartwatches are barely eking out a day. Big props for battery life.
So this is where you have to decide what’s most important to you. The Envoy G10 clocks in at $249 which is not cheap but not expensive. The G10 doesn’t have a full color touch display but what you are getting is a time-piece that will last much longer than the full screen counterparts. Sometimes design and classic feel trump the newer need for touch screens and immersive content. Rocking the Envoy at a party is probably going to get you noticed quicker than wearing the Apple Watch. The Envoy is a fashion statement and depending on your taste, it could be a better fashion statement than an Android or Apple watch. For what the Envoy G10 is made of and for it’s combined functionality, it’s well worth the $249 price tag.
So should you buy this watch? If you’re not the type that needs or wants a touchscreen full immersive smartwatch on your wrist but you do want notifications then this watch is something to put at the top of the list.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Envoy G10 for the purposes of this review.