Aigo F029 digital video wristwatch
The world's first wearable PMP?
First Review How small can personal media players go? Right down to the size of a wristwatch if you believe Chinese manufacturer Aigo, which this month launched a PMP that matches its large-screen siblings on features yet is designed to be worn on your wrist. Heck, it'll even tell you the time. A case of miniaturisation gone mad? Maybe not...
The F029 measures 3.9 x 3.8 x 1.3cm and is held in place with a large, translucent plastic strap that wouldn't look out of place on a Swatch. The 1.3in, 160 x 128, 26,000-colour OLED screen is surrounded by a brightly coloured removable bezel which, with the strap, gives the gadget a real kid-friendly feel.
On the left side of the watch there are a pair of volume controls, a menu buttons and a 2.5mm earphone socket - so don't expect to be able to use a different pair in place of the set that Aigo bundles, which are almost identical to Apple's icon iPod set, right down to shape, size, colour and construction.
It feels slightly odd having your earphone cable running from your wrist, but you can always wear it tucked up your sleeve and out at the neck, I suppose. The F029 is crying out for Bluetooth stereo support, even more than regular MP3 players do.
The right side of the watch is home to the track skip and play/pause buttons. The top and bottom of the watch both have tiny holes that could be placed over microphones - the F029 certainly has a voice recording facility, but since it's unclear how it's activated, I couldn't be sure which hole was the mic. The watch's manual has yet to be translated from Chinese - another penalty imposed on early adopters. The top side of the watch also as a modified mini-USB port, though it'll take any mini-USB cable.
Pressing and holding the play button turns the F029 on, presenting its main menu: a ring of icons that are cycled round by pushing the track-skip keys. In addition to the self-explanatory music, video and photo icons, there's one for e-books - text files, basically - the aforementioned voice recording function - the icon's a rubber duck, for some reason - and a sixth marked System, which calls up a hierarchical file menu.
Why is this watch cost nearly 3 times as much in the UK compared to the US?
geeks.com are currently doing this watch at $54.99 (with free US shipping - rather high $20 international shipping with a further risk of import duty/VAT/handling charges) during Thanksgiving weekend - see:
Now for that 512MB model, we see the UK price at 79 pounds, which is $152.59. So I make it that the UK price is 2.77 times the price of the US one! Anyone care to explain why this watch is so ridiculously expensive in the UK?
As for the watch itself, there's a black bezel version which looks a bit better than the garish blue/white bezel version shown here (though geeks.com confusingly shows the blue/white version in 2 photos and the black one in a 3rd photo!).
This watch would be a fun, novelty purchase at 30 quid or so, which apparently Americans are allowed to purchase at. 80-100 quid though? Forget it!
I saw this on The Gadget Show a few weeks ago and think its great. I love the design and I'm 40, married with no kids 8-) Now that its available in the UK I'll be getting one.
Technology good, Design bad
You can't deny that value for money wise the F029 is well placed.
But crikey what an ugly beast she is!
Why spend so much time cramming the technology and features into the device and then just whack a rubber casing on it?
It looks cheap and nasty IMHO.
If it were in a nice stainless steel housing with a standard clasp strap the F029 would appeal to the adult market.
Sure there are adults out there that buy swatch watches, but would you trust one on your computer?
The fact that it comes in the rubber housing suggests its of a splash proof, dare I even say water proof design.
Pity the father who sees his daughter testing this in her jelly and ice cream this christams.
This watch is a bit of fun for sure, but if they can get the phone functionality in it, there'd be geeks everywhere handing over cash.
Lets just hope they actually start aiming these devices at adults. Both in looks and function.
My 2 cents...