Verizon's surprisingly compelling Wear24 smartwatch will launch May 11

In February, Verizon unveiled an exclusive smartwatch called the Wear24. Built by Taiwanese firm QDM Quanta, which has produced devices on contract for HP, Dell, and Lenovo, the Wear24 was slated for release in March. But that day never came and consequently, the watch slipped out of the public eye — until now. Verizon will launch the Wear24 on May 11, the company announced.

Now, while it is easy to write off most carrier-branded products, the Wear24 surprisingly has quite a bit going for it. For starters, it’s launching with Android Wear 2.0 in tow — which many smartwatches from better-known tech companies are still waiting to receive. With Wear 2.0 comes the arrival of Google Assistant, as well as a variety of new complications, which place information like fitness goal tracking, stock prices, or calendar appointments right on the watch face for immediate viewing.

Further, the update adds a variety of ways to respond to messages from your favorite chat apps, from dictation to handwriting to selecting an emoji that describes your feelings. Google Fit also figures prominently into the new version of Android Wear, with support for pace, distance, heart rate, and rep tracking.

But what makes the Wear24 even more exciting is on-board Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity. With it, the device can make and receive calls and texts, browse and download apps, and access the internet without the need of a paired phone. The watch features a 450mAh battery — large for a smartwatch — to help keep that radio from quickly running the juice dry. NFC means you can use it for payments, too.

Finally, the Wear24 is IP67 rated, allowing it to withstand being submerged under 3.3 feet of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. The combination of all these features creates what is — on paper at least — a very versatile and complete smartwatch, with fitness-minded features that could make it a compelling alternative LG’s Watch Sport.

The Wear24 comes in three colors: gunmetal black, stainless steel, and rose gold. It will be available for either $350 outright, or $300 with an agreement to a two-year contract with Verizon. The carrier notes that subscribers will be able to add the device to their existing plan for an extra $5 per month.