Semi-Smart Watches
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  1. #1
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    Semi-Smart Watches

    Recently I've been curious about watches that have smartwatch-like functionality but only look like a normal watch. A screen is not necessary. I'm just looking for discreet notifications via vibration or other means.

    I found these Skagen that seem to be what I'm after, but I'm curious if other or better options exist:

    Hybrid Smartwatch - Jorn Black Leather | SKAGENģ | Free Shipping

    Sent from my LEX727 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Moderator German Watches Forum
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    In my opinion on the example you cite the notifications are too subtle.
    I would not be likely to notice them, especially in an environment where
    I could not hear the phone itself.

    In general just receiving an alert there is some activity on the phone
    would have limited utility for me. The phone already does that. In the
    Apple Watch forum I think there are more reports of users making
    use of more functionality. You might read some of those to see if they
    inspire you to look for more than notifications.

    Still, there are other watches that provide notifications and additional
    features. You might look at Casio.


    Thanks,
    rationaltime

  3. #3
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    Semi-Smart Watches

    I have the Fossil Q Crewmaster:


    I got it because I also got tired of not having real hands on my smart watches. When a notification comes in, the watch vibrates, and the hands point to a pre-determined hour to indicate the person, or the type of notification it is. It also has a step counter, a sleep tracker, a second time zone and alarms. The battery lasts six months.

    Itís a decent compromise. Personally, I think there should be a good future in hybrid watches. Having said that, this one doesnít get much wrist time with me, so Iím considering selling it.
    Last edited by 88Keys; September 29th, 2017 at 22:08.
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  5. #4
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    There's a few others, too. Citizen still has their Proximity series; I think Frederique Constant is doing one, too.

    What I don't like about the idea is that there's too little functionality to make it worthwhile. In the past two hours tonight, using my Apple Watch, I logged a workout, got updates from a college football game, and ran a timer to make sure I put the liquid softener in the laundry machine. A few months ago, I used it to remotely trigger my phone's camera shutter to get a long-exposure photo of the Falcon X launch from Wallops Island.

    Well, yeah, some of that is just fun n' games. But when I get notifications, not only am I aware that a text (or email or phone call) came in, but I can see who it's from, I can read what it says, and I can respond, too. I don't have to reach for my phone for every single message anymore. It adds convenience, and it loosens the leash that we've unwittingly tied to our phones.

    A hybrid smartwatch like that Skagen would still require me to reach for the phone to do anything. People say that a full-blown smartwatch is pointless because "it doesn't do anything my smartphone doesn't already do." But a middle ground like this? No, it doesn't do anything at all by itself. I don't see how it adds anything besides more insistent reminders to go grab your phone again.

  6. #5
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    What I don't like about the idea is that there's too little functionality to make it worthwhile.
    Yeah, I do get what you mean. It is definitely a compromise. If you are used to the full-on functionality of a smart watch, a hybrid like this can be a bit of a let down.

    A bit of an unsung hero, in my opinion, is the Martian watches. I have a Martian Notifier, which is actually surprisingly good.



    It has a very strong vibration, and the text is shown on a little scrolling screen.

    I also had the upgraded Martian mVoice model. This was even better, as you could use Siri or Google Now and even Alexa right on the watch.



    I ended up returning that one, as it didnít quite carry it off smoothly enough, but I thought the concept was great.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by 88Keys View Post
    Yeah, I do get what you mean. It is definitely a compromise. If you are used to the full-on functionality of a smart watch, a hybrid like this can be a bit of a let down.

    A bit of an unsung hero, in my opinion, is the Martian watches. I have a Martian Notifier, which is actually surprisingly good.

    It has a very strong vibration, and the text is shown on a little scrolling screen.

    I also had the upgraded Martian mVoice model. This was even better, as you could use Siri or Google Now and even Alexa right on the watch.

    I ended up returning that one, as it didnít quite carry it off smoothly enough, but I thought the concept was great.
    I looked them up and people generally seem happy with the Notifier and less so with the mVoice. How is your Bluetooth connection reliability and do you miss many notifications due to bugs or otherwise? Finally, are you on Android or iOS?

    Thanks!

  8. #7
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by xiton View Post
    I looked them up and people generally seem happy with the Notifier and less so with the mVoice. How is your Bluetooth connection reliability and do you miss many notifications due to bugs or otherwise? Finally, are you on Android or iOS?

    Thanks!
    The Notifier has been rock solid. Bluetooth connection seems to have been good. I havenít missed any notifications, and the vibration is really strong.

    Itís not a premium watch, but it serves its purpose well. I paid the grand sum of $29 for it.

    Funny enough itís one of the few watches Iíve had strangers notice and ask about. Of course the colour may have something to do with it.

  9. #8
    Member DecaturStaley's Avatar
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    I'm somewhat in the same boat. I have owned multiple smart watches and I have been progressively moving more towards "less smart". While all the extra functionality of high end smart watches are nice, they tend to be gimmicky and barely used by me.

    What I'm after is something that just reduces how often I need to reach for my phone to make sure I haven't missed an important call from my kids daycare/school or an important text.

    Seems like we may be heading in the same direction so I thought I would mention Kronaby. Seems perfect for what I need, just haven't come across much info on it to get the warm and fuzzy to actually pull the trigger.

    https://www.kronaby.com/en/shop/WatchesNord/A1000-0711

  10. #9
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    How long has this watch been around? Looks interesting, never heard of it

  11. #10
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    Re: Semi-Smart Watches

    I think the only way these hybrids will make sense is by making them with a small digital screen. I just can't see the usefulness of an analog hand or a vibration giving the indication of a notification, when there's no accompanying information as to who or what that notification pertains to.

    Even a small single or double line digital display embedded will give enough text information to let you know if it's something you can ignore or go to your phone further.

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