Hands-On: Kempler & Strauss W Phonewatch

hands on kempler strauss w phonewatch

It won’t surf the web, it won’t run apps, and it won’t videoconference, but it will fit on your wrist. Kempler & Strauss’ W Phonewatch delivers on the age-old promise of wearable communications with a slender, lightweight design that fills in where your Casio calculator watch left off in 1985. Which is to say, radiating nerdiness from your wrist like a beacon of shame.

hands on kempler strauss w phonewatchFor a phone, the W sets new standards for tiny. For a watch, it sets new standards for ugly. Unlike the metal-rimmed watch phone LG proudly showed off at CES 2009, the W comes dressed totally in rubbery plastic, like a cross between a Happy Meal toy and a free-with-contract flip phone from 2003.

Have you ever been to a LAN Party? Have you ever worn a shirt with references to open-source software on it? Did it have stains on it? Unless you can answer yes to all of the above, you may want to think twice about your ability to stroll through public places with the W strapped proudly to your wrist. It’s about as unobtrusive as a house arrest ankle monitor.

The 1.5-inch color LCD screen uses the same style of graphics you’re used to from the aforementioned 2003 flip phone, but scaled down to a touch screen you’ll learn to gingerly prod with your fingertip and hope against all odds you hit the right part. If you really get in a jam, the tip of the included Communicator Bluetooth earpiece can be used as a sort of impomptu stylus. While navigating the menus gets easier, dialling numbers can test your patience, and sending a text message is more like an exercise in outright masochism – even with the stylus.

hands on kempler strauss w phonewatchAs for chatting into a watch, it actually works fine in a quiet room, but volume maxes out at a barely audible level of seven, and voice quality on the other end will sound like you’re on speakerphone. K&S does provide a Bluetooth earpiece to link it with, but it’s one of the most unnecessarily complicated and dorky looking ones in recent memory. Spring for a Jawbone.

Rather surprisingly, the W Phonewatch does actually shoot still photos and video, but both make Dateline undercover footage look like footage from a Hollywood studio. Even from five feet away, you can barely identify the face of the person you’re talking to on video.

Between the stares it will draw, painfully tiny interface and near necessity for always wearing a headset, the W Phonewatch leaves practicality at the door – but if you’ve always dreamed of technology you can wear and never want to leave your phone at home again, it does what it advertises for $200.

Product Review

North’s Focals aim to keep you ‘heads-up’ with smartglasses

North, formerly known as Thalmic Labs, has unveiled a new product alongside the brand-name change. Focals is a pair of smartglasses, like Google Glass, that attempts to help keep you heads-up.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for October 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Photography

8 weird, useful camera accessories for your iPhone or Android

With the rise of smartphone cameras comes an explosion of accessories aimed at enhancing your photography skills. Here, we take a look at a few, from add-on grips to entire camera units designed specifically to work with iOS devices.
Deals

Protect yourself from germs with a discounted GermGuardian air purifier

Cold and flu season has arrived, and with it, all those nasty germs. If you're looking to protect yourself from airborne illnesses, this deeply discounted air purifier can help reduce germs, mold spores, and viruses lurking in the air.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

The best treadmills of 2018

The exercise of running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track.
Smart Home

If you're not sipping beer while a robot mows your lawn, you're doing it wrong

Imagine watching your lawn being mowed by a robot while you sit on the porch drinking a beer. That’s life with Husqvarna’s line of electric Automowers, which takes the gas and the manpower out of one dreaded aspect of yard work.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Product Review

We never wanted a smart doorbell, until we met Nest Hello

You can answer your door while sitting on the couch with the Nest Hello smart doorbell, which brings vision, intelligence and convenience to your doorstep.
Emerging Tech

Flying food: Uber has set a target date to use drones for meal delivery

Uber is better known for transporting people around town, but it also has a growing meal-delivery business called UberEats. It currently uses drivers and cyclists to deliver the food, but also has plans to use drones.
Product Review

Simple and small, the Google Home Hub is your low-key smart screen

What’s small, simple, cute, and lacks a camera? The Google Home Hub is the latest smart display to hit the market. Powered by Google Assistant, there’s a lot to like about this device.
Smart Home

Reduce your risk of fire by cleaning your dryer vent. Here's how

Failure to clean the dryer vent is the leading cause of dryer fires. Using an inexpensive duct cleaning brush, you can clean your own dryer vent without hiring a professional. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to clean a dryer vent.