The Omate Truesmart looked to buck the trend of wearable devices that relied solely on tethering to a smartphone in order to operate. Truesmart stood alone, quite literally, in the market as the first smartwatch that could house a micro SIM card and work as a fully operational Android device with phone capability. Does it succeed where others look destined to follow? These are my first impressions of the Omate Truesmart smartwatch.
It was easy to dismiss the device as another in a long line of pretenders to the throne, and truth be told I did likewise when I first saw this on Kickstarter. Something drew me in however. The design, for me, wasn’t bad, it had a camera built-in discreetly, and most important of all it was sporting a slightly modified version of Android 4.2 and was capable of operating as a standalone device.
I’d heard enough. I backed its campaign, as did over 4,000 others, and finally, after much delay, received my device a few weeks ago. If I could allow myself to bias my forthcoming review of the Truesmart with the trials and tribulations surrounding the delivery process of this device, I would. Sadly, that wouldn’t quite be fair. Therefore, suffice to say I’m not alone in waiting a good 6 months longer for my device to be delivered than was promised after the project was backed. Not cool Omate!
On to the device itself. The specifications for a 2013 wearable device speak for themselves. They are quite impressive. From its Sapphire Glass covered 1.54″ TFT screen, to it’s 600 mAh battery, 5MP camera capable of 720p recording, and its Dual Core Cortex A7 processor, the Truesmart has a lot going for it. When you overlay a mature 4.2.2 Android deployment on top of that hardware, you get quite a pleasant experience in daily use. whilst the specifications aren’t anything to shout home about it in the smartphone world, smartwatches operate in very different territories.
So how does this all work as a package. To be honest, it’s a mixed bag in these early exchanges. The device itself feels nicely finished. It’s curves and metallic base feel good on the wrist and the device provides a heft that ensures you feel as though you have a substantial piece of kit in tow. That’s both a pro and a con. The weight isn’t unbearable, but it can prompt for the need to tighten the included rubberised watch band slightly tighter than is sometimes comfortable in order to keep the device from moving around on the wrist.
Another high point for this device is using it in a standalone situation. Whether you’re connected to a 3G network via it’s SIM card slot, or connecting to a nearby Wireless network, there is something special about using an Android device, on your wrist, but utilising all the similar functions (Social media, media consumption, messaging, phone calls, etc) you’d access from your smartphone. The nerd in you will geek out when you first send a Tweet from this device with the built-in Fleksy keyboard, which is surprisingly forgiving.
Moving on, the screen gives a relatively accurate representation of colours and reacts well to YouTube and media consumption given the paltry the 240 x 240 221ppi TFT LG display. It really isn’t a shocking experiencing watching a video on this device, and let’s face it, makes you look like Inspector Gadget in public! This can only be good!
In all seriousness however, there are some fatal flaws with this device that have been noted even in my short time with the device. The severe lack of any robust Bluetooth stack (it has one; the key word is robust) in this device makes pairing to a smartphone, and receiving its push notifications almost impossible. There are some developed 3rd party applications to help attempt to bridge this gap, but the Omate Master and Companion applications are less than worthless. This is something of a SEVERE oversight that can not be forgiven. Whilst the USP of this device it’s ability to function as a standalone platform, few who purchase this, will attempt to solely use the device as their daily drive. Instead, I’d expect many, as I expected, would want to use the device’s paired and standalone functionality in tandem. Sadly this is difficult to say the least.
The battery life is also taking a huge hit. Omate state that their batter can deliver up to 100 hours of standby time. I’ve failed to hit that mark with my device requiring a charge each day, and even midway through the day with 3G and heavy use.
So, whilst I remain to be convinced by this product as yet, I certainly can’t deny that the idea is a good one, albeit the execution could have been better to this point. However as I type this, I’ve already found another couple of areas for the PRO column, so it could still win me around. The full Omate Truesmart review is forthcoming, so keep it locked on MobileTechTalk for that, and more reviews of mobile technology.
First Impression Tagline: “A truly smart watch, lacking in common sense’
Links: Omate Truesmart