Menu selections are made by pushing the play button, an action that calls up a list of the contents of the appropriate media folder. Select the Music icon, for example, and you're presented with a file listing - use the track-skip buttons to find the one you want and press play a second time. Now, with the playback interface showing, pressing and holding the menu key calls up a contextual menu that provides access to the EQ setting, the SRS sound-boosting feature and other settings.
Incidentally, pressing and holding the menu key when the file list is showing will force the F029 to ask you if you want to delete the highlighted track, video or picture - press play to confirm, or press the menu key again to cancel.
The e-book reader presents a simple text readout, six lines at a time, each group of six being considered a page. Using the contextual menu, you can skip to the start or the end, record a bookmark, or set the automatic page-turn timer. Incidentally, the only time you don't get a contextual menu is in the Video section.
It all works rather well. The sound quality is entirely acceptable, particularly with the SRS engaged, and the sample .AVI MPEG 4 videos included on the watch looked fine for all their compact size. There's some colour banding in images that contain more than the 26,000 shades the screen can show at any one time, but it's no worse than countless mobile phones in this regard. Some of the photos pre-loaded on the watch were poor, but that's just a matter of scaling them correctly in the first place - Photoshop is better at scaling large pics down to the F029's 160 x 128 screen size than the watch itself is.
For video scaling, Aigo bundles a simple transcoding app that will take .WMV and other video formats and translate them into 56Kbps, 160 x 128 .AVI files. The app's Windows only. Incidentally, the F029 mounts as a USB Mass Storage device, so it's easy to copy videos, photos, songs and texts across to the device. It was in Windows XP, at least - the watch wouldn't mount on a MacBook Pro.
And in case you were wondering, the F029 does operate as a watch. The display is simple but effective: a digital time and date readout with the seconds counted by drawing dots in a large circle around the digits. It changes colour when the seconds count starts again. It's rather cute.
The time is actually the device's screensaver so you'll need to enable it since it's not on by default so far as I could see. You'll need to turn off the auto power-off facility, which is activated by default, and rather defeats the value of the device as a timekeeper.
Aigo quotes 2.5 hours as F029's video playback duration, or 4.5 hours when you're only listening to music. That's in line with my experience, though when the player finally ran out of juice the battery indicator claimed it was at least half full.
Let's be honest, no one's going to buy the F029 as their primary media player. The screen's too small for watching movies for extensive periods of time, and the watch's storage capacity may not run to longer movies, either. But it's a fun way to watch music videos, and it's a decent music player into the bargain.
The F029 is a gimmick, pure and simple, but it's priced to make a perfect, fun Christmas prezzie for the youngster in your life. After a techie stocking-filler? Look no further. ®
Aigo F029 digital video wristwatch
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...