I check Kickstarter from time to time to see if there is anything interesting in the technology and watch world that will lead to innovation. I never backed a project before until I landed on the ZeTime smartwatch project. I was intrigued by the idea of placing the hands of a traditional watch on top of a smart screen. I received the watch after multiple delays and was able to test it in different scenarios. The watch was tested while running, swimming, biking and in a typical office setting. This article is primarily focused on my experiences with the watch.
The watch is made of superb material at its price range with beautiful finish including a sapphire crystal. The watch is water resistant up 5 ATM (~50 Meters), I took it swimming many times and had no issues with leaks. I did run into issues where the sensitivity of the screen was triggered by the constant slamming against the water. I was quite taken aback by this issue as it made the stopwatch unusable for my swimming workouts, more to come on this under software. I’ve used the watch in the sauna and steam room as well and so far, no issues but best to avoid those areas with the watch. The heart rate sensor accuracy is very questionable at best but was not tested enough by Mykronoz. I highly recommend keeping the bracelet very tight against the wrist for improved accuracy of the heart rate readings.
The design was the main selling point for all those that backed the watch on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The idea of using physical hands with a smartwatch brought the classic watch lovers to the smartwatch world. When the screen is off, it resembles a Movado without the crystal at 12 O’Clock. The crown is used to scroll through the menu and to calibrate the hands. Pressing down on the crown illuminates the watch for night mode time. The top button unlocks the watch and brings you back to the home screen. The bottom button is for the calendar view or to go back when scrolling through the menu. The user interface design of the watch was not bad but lacked intuitive placements of the menu items. It takes me 3 steps to finally get to the stopwatch mode and the start/stop/reset buttons are all on the screen and not physical buttons. The screen will dim to save power and it takes a physical button press and 3 more menu scrolls again to get back to the stopwatch mode. If there is one department that excels at MyKronoz over the others, it’s easily seen on the end product.
I use the watch with the iOS app on my iPhone 6 to manage the watch options, there is an Android version of the App as well. The Software is where the watch takes an extreme nose dive in its usefulness, frankly, I’m having problems finding a positive note. The iOS app is very basic on its design and freezes quite freakingly when syncing updates to the watch. The activity and sleep tracking graphs are not intuitive or flexible in data timeline view. The watch software randomly restarts or loses calibration for the physical hands every so often. The icons are clear to see while scrolling through the menu options. While swimming, the watch touch interface will trigger from the continuous impact with the water surface which made the use of the stopwatch impossible. The touch interface sensitivity is validated in a combined effort between hardware and software groups but seems to not have been tested for water sports. The notifications show up on ⅓ of the screen which requires another press to read the message instead of a quick glance. The calendar view is not easily legible to track events. There are a lot more to cover on the software but from an end user perspective those are sufficient as to not make this article any longer.
The Smartwatch race will be decided by software as the competitive advantage. The options of great hardware and beautiful designs are plentiful, but at the end if the users are not continuously engaging with the gadget, it will quickly be forgotten.
MyKronoz ZeTime Smartwatch ? Lunar Watch Club