Posted by Donny Torrefranca
The technology world is on the verge of bestowing upon us the next big innovation since the introduction of the smartphone, specifically the iPhone. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, then you probably are aware that many of the top tech companies out there are preparing to take a piece of the “Smart watch” pie.
Yes, Smart Watches are upon us and it is the next logical device to keep us “connected”. It is more compact that any smartphone, and it is readily available without digging into our pockets. From Samsung to Apple, even Google is hinting at the idea of their own Smart Watch. Of course there are already a few that already exists out there, so before we jump too far ahead of the future and discuss what is still ‘vaporware’ for now, lets take the time to discuss what’s here right NOW.
When Cookoo contacted me about the review unit, I’ve been looking forward to finally reviewing, what to me is, a valid smart watch. Cookoo, started out as a kickstarter project which has now gone to full production. It is available to be ordered online as well as store fronts such as AT&T stores across the United States. What strikes me about this watch is the design of the watch. When worn, the device could easily pass off as a regular analog watch. With the unique design combining the analog and digital display, it provides the user with the best of both worlds depending on what the situation calls for. Without being too ‘geeky’ while wearing a smart watch on a regular basis, the analog-look does a very good job at hiding the features the watch actually provides. But when synchronized to your smartphone, it adds capabilities any analog-watch user would envy.
Using the digital display within the watch face, the user will receive notifications for incoming\missed calls, sms and Facebook messages, emails, alarm\calendar notifications, and it even warns you if the smart phone or tablet it is linked to is too far from the watch. This is useful for those of us who are forgetful, never misplace or leave behind your device phone or tablet again. Also I should mention is it also notifies you when you have low battery on your smartphone. However, since the watch uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology it is pretty energy efficient so you smartphone battery wont get drained “as fast”. Put it this way, when you have a constant bluetooth connection, you cannot expect your smartphone to last the day. So from my test, it did take enough hit on my battery, Bluetooth 4.0 or not. These notifications are also configurable from within the app that can be downloaded to your device, best of all, the app is free. The watch is very dependent of the app in order to transmit these notifications. At the time of writing this review, the Cookoo app is only available on Apple’s App Store. This means the watch only works with iOS devices such as iPhone 4S, 5, iPad 3rd and 4th gen, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5th generation. Android users need not to worry, as with the latest Google I/O, it was announced that Bluetooth Native support is on its way, and Cookoo acknowledges it by posting it on their Facebook page.
From my experience the application still needs a bit of ironing out to make it as useful as it can be. During my tests, I was only able to receive notifications for incoming and missed calls, Facebook messages, emails, calendar\alarm notifications, and of course, low-battery notification. Even with the app being lacklustre compared to what is advertised, I still found the watch very useful. How many times have you missed a call while your phone was in you pocket or your bag? I’ve had my phone set to ring and vibrate and I still missed calls while its in my pant pocket. With this watch, I did not miss one phone call. Some other features I was able to take advantage was the ability to remotely take photos\videos from my iPhone. Group photos can now accurately include the whole group using the rear camera. The use of the camera has to be from within the application however, but it still takes the same quality shots. Tagging locations was also as easy as clicking on the command button on the watch. The command button can be configured to tag a location, find your phone by having it play an audible tone, and of course, Facebook Checkin. All of these can be configured depending on how long the button is pressed, one setting for 1 second, one setting for 2-4 seconds, and one setting for 4-6 seconds. You can also have this instantly disabled in order to have the command button become your music control. Click the command to play or pause the music and hold to skip to the next song.
In conclusion, there’s a lot to like about the Cookoo connected watch. If you’re in the market for a new watch, why not make it a connected watch? I certainly enjoy using this watch because it does not need any charging on a nightly basis. It uses batteries just like any other watch only it uses 2, one for the analog dials and another for the digital display. It is also water proof at 5 ATM, good for shallow water swimming, around the kitchen sink. Lets hope there wont ever be a time when we need to stay connected to our smartphones while deep sea diving. If the app becomes available on the Android ecosystem, this watch will be used by me, more often than not.
Cookoo… where’s my Android App?