What is a watch-phone? Does it grow on trees? The watch-phone is a specimen unique to China. Basically, at some point – probably after they saw Sony's 2012 smart-watch - Chinese mobile manufacturers adopted the watch form-factor and made it theirs in surprising, clever, and often funny ways.
Unlike today's smart-watches, which are designed as servants to a smartphone, the Chinese watch-phone is a completely autonomous entity. It makes ample use of its assets – a built-in SIM card slot or two, a spec sheet of cheap internals, and a featurephone-like Java operating system to put the best and worst of pre-iPhone mobiles on your wrist. Concerns of usability, screen quality, battery life, or tasteful design don't matter much.
Thus, a new breed of mobile device was forged, that takes a certain type of humor to appreciate. Because, let's face it – getting one of these jewels for their ability to do calls and messages means signing up for weird stares and unreliable communication. With no further ado, here are ten watch-phones that will change your life.
10 quirky wearables to question your Android Wear purchase
10 quirky wearables to question your Android Wear purchase
1. H2 1.49-inch MTK6253 Watch
At this point, we're not exactly sure how much specs matter in wearables, but nevertheless - this triumph of watch design comes with a MTK6253 CPU, 512MB RAM, and a 1.49-inch TFT display with a 176x240 resolution. It also has a 1.3MP camera. Not too shabby, at least on paper.
We're not sure what OS it runs, but this is a watch you can actually make calls with! It has a SIM-card, and its other capabilities include support for calling await/forward, ring tones, music and video playing, messaging, alarms, and pretty much everything a phone can do.
Considering the $55 price tag, we'd be happy if the watch delivers even half of its advertised functionality.
2. G10 1.49-inch MTK6253 GPS Watch Phone
Woah, check out this bad boy! We must admit, the design here is nothing to frown at. While it's not especially elegant, it's certainly not any worse than the available Android Wear watches. This one too is powered by a MediaTek 6253 SoC with 512MB RAM, and it has a 1.49-inch TFT display with a 176x240 resolution, a 1.3MP camera, and a 580mAh battery.
Calling and messaging aside, the watch has a radio, calendar, alarm, path query, and so on. It costs $91. If you ever get one of these, hit us back to tell us if it's worth the price.
3. W950 Watch Mobile Phone
Circular? Waterproof? Smart? Metallic? Is this the Moto 360 killer from China? Well, not quite, but whoever made it pulled off quite the achievement with fitting an entire phone inside a regular-looking watch. This watch phone has a 1.3-inch OLED screen, a 2MP camera, a headphone jack (earbuds included), WAP and GPRS support, and video and audio recording. We're not sure it actually makes calls, but if it has a microphone and a SIM slot, this must be the case. This gem can be yours for $130.
4. TW810 Watches Style Cell Phone
What can we say... it's a phone! A watch phone! Or a phone... watch! Nevermind, this thing is worn on your wrist, makes calls, and shows the time. It has a 1.5-inch 240x240 TFT touch-screen with 260k colors, a single SIM slot, a 1.3MP camera, and it runs on a MediaTek chip. It has a Java-based operating system lifted straight from yesterday's feature phones, and it weights only 146 grams. This watch doesn't care that you have a smartphone, and it has no custom apps, but that's what $107 down can get you these days.
5. Q8 Watch Mobile Phone
What if BlackBerry had a smart-watch? The Q8 is striking in how it looks as if it was designed in Canada and assembled in China. Sadly, only the latter rings true. But beat us and steal our wallets if this thing doesn't look like a wrist-worn BlackBerry! It has a 1.33-inch TFT touch screen, polyphonic and mp3 ring-tones, two (yes, two!) SIM slots, a 0.3MP camera with audio and video recording, and P2PE point-to-point encryption, of course. We're only joking about the last bit.
The Q8 costs just $62. We're considering crowd-funding the cash and sending one to BlackBerry CEO John Chen to catch his reaction. Will you pledge?
6. A1 Smartwatch Smart Bluetooth Watch with Display Dial for Mobile Phone 2
Imagine the clam-shell phone of the distant past... resurrected on a watch! For better or worse, the hinge you're seeing is only a transparent cover for the tiny display and adjacent keypad borrowed from the Samsung E330 or whatever. Also, the A1 is a legitimate smart-watch in that it pairs with your smartphone over Bluetooth and notifies you of incoming calls. And the keypad is, you guessed it, for dialing numbers on your phone. The only scenario we can imagine this is useful is when the user's carrying a phone, a hands-free earphone, and this piece of tech jewelry to make calls without reaching for the handset.
The price, you asked? $60.
7. G13 Watch Phone
All we're going to say here is that this one was discounted to $30 from $80 for very obvious reasons.
8. AK11 Watch Phone
With its "weird Nokia" inspired design, the AK11 offers another proof that the Nokia we knew in the 00's was genius, and way misunderstood. This watch looks like a homage to the Nokia 7600, proudly carrying a legitimate keypad on its display's sides. Other than that and its old-school operating system, the AK11 is familiar stuff - it has a sole SIM slot, MediaTek CPU, 1.2-inch TFT touch-screen, a 0.3MP camera, and all the functionality you'd find in a 2005 phone. But now, it's conveniently placed on your wrist. The price is $50.
9. An1 Smart Watch Phone 2.0
Android Wear? That's kiddie stuff! Here comes the An1 with a real-deal Android 4.1 Jelly Bean installation! Slap it on your wrist and you have an actual smartphone. To ensure an authentic entry-level Android device experience, the watch is fitted with a 2-inch TFT display with a 320x240 resolution, a 3.2MP camera, and it runs on a 1GHz MediaTek CPU paired with 512MB RAM. It has a single SIM card slot for calls, an SD card slot for memory expansion, WAP/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/USB connectivity, and built-in GPS. It also scores a whopping 5488 points in AnTuTu! What else do you want from a $123 watch?
10. W838 Watch Phone
The W838 shows that the Chinese can be no less competent in smart-watch design than their Korean colleges. Although it runs a simple Java operating system, the watch looks really nice in that familiar geeky way. It's made of metal, and it has a sturdy-looking arm band. Feature-wise, the watch offers a 1.4-inch 320x240 display with 260k colors, and it's powered by a MTK6225 CPU. It also has a 0.3MP camera, and there's a single SIM slot for calls, but no Wi-Fi. Priced at $100, all we can say is that the more metal smart-watches we have for that kind of money, the better!