Read our full Neptune Pine review.
Smartwatches, as we know them today, are sold as companion devices for our big-screen smartphones, so we don’t have to keep digging them out just to see a new notification. However, there was a time when the smartwatch was a replacement for our phones, and devices such as LG’s LG920 had the same functionality. The Neptune Pine is a smartwatch which could bring those days back, as it’s an actual smartphone you wear on your wrist.
The Neptune Pine is the work of Simon Tian and Aaron Wilkins, who launched the project on Kickstarter this week, where it has already smashed its $100,000 goal, and at the time of writing, is up to $240,000 still with 29 days to run. So what has got everyone so excited? The Neptune Pine outsmarts the Galaxy Gear with its feature list, and completely blurs the line between smart watch and smart phone.
It has a big 2.4-inch TFT display with a resolution of 320 x 240, and is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor with 512MB of RAM. That’s the equivalent spec of some low-end Android phones, except this is all wrapped up in a device you wear on your wrist. What’s more, it really is a phone, as you can slip in a SIM card and make calls, send SMS messages and browse the Internet at 3G HSPA+ speeds.
All your phone’s features
The OS is like your phone too, as the full version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is installed, so it runs all the usual apps and provides an identical user experience – just on a much smaller screen. Interestingly, the main section of the Neptune Pine can be removed from the strap, so typing on the QWERTY keyboard is not only easier, but also stops you looking quite so silly too.
Its seemingly endless feature list continues with fitness tracking capabilities, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a pair of cameras – a 5-megapixel and a VGA cam – both with LED flash, voice recognition, a headphone socket, and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. Despite all this, the battery should last for five days on standby. Oh, and of course, it’ll connect to your Android or iOS phone to display notifications.
The earlybird specials offering the Neptune Pine at $200 have all sold out, but it can still be purchased for $230 or $250 for the black or white 16GB model, along with the option of adding in various accessories.
A Gartner research report published earlier this week said smartwatches had failed to capture the public’s imagination, primarily due to limited functionality for the price. There’s no limited functionality here, and the Neptune Pine costs less than the Galaxy Gear in this Kickstarter campaign. The question is, do you want to wear such a monstrous device on your wrist?