Feeds

Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Tick, tock, Tweet

Security for virtualized datacentres

Martian Watches Victory

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Want to know what the Victory is all about? Think Bluetooth headset on your wrist: this watch has its own microphone and a speaker, allowing you to tap into your phone’s own voice control system, and to make and take calls. It’s the only smartwatch reviewed here that does this.

It’s a risky approach. How well the voice control works depends on the handset, not the watch. But I suspect users will be more likely to blame the Victory when the process proves unsatisfactory. Apple’s Siri was spectacularly unable to call a number in my address book, but rather than insulting the Cupertino crew for this failing, I just felt silly talking to my wrist over and over again. And I wasn’t even doing in public.

Martian Watches Victory

Not that you have to use voice: the Victory’s mic is sufficiently sensitive to pick up what you say with the watch at waist level, but not any further away from your mouth. I’d recommend wearing it on the inside of your wrist, military fashion, as it’ll feel more Blake’s 7, less Dick Tracy.

If this voice business doesn’t appeal, the Victory is still useable as a remote notification system, with email, SMS messages, Twitter mentions, Facebook direct messages, to-do reminders and calendar appointments all causing the watch’s LED light to flash once and the details to appear on the Victory’s single-line OLED panel: the sender or caller followed by the Tweet, the subject line of the email, or the first 40 characters of a text message, say. And the voice control link allows you to respond without pulling out your phone.

Martian Watches Victory

Most of this functionality requires the use of Martian’s app, in either of its Android and iOS forms, though you can do some very basic set-up on the watch itself and the voice command system only needs the watch-to-phone Bluetooth pairing, which can use either regular Bluetooth or its low-power incarnation. Tap the watch’s status button and it will present a line of icons for battery and connection status - and also the current date, absent from the watch’s manually set analogue face. It’ll also show the local weather and the time in another location, if you set these up in the app.

The app taps into the phone OS’s account database or apps provided by individual services, though while the Android version will talk to Google’s Gmail app, its iOS equivalent won’t communicate with Mail. To pick up email notifications on an iPhone, you need to key your server details into the iOS app, and only IMAP servers at that. Alas, only a single email account is supported.

Martian Victory

The Android and iOS versions of the app are almost identical in functionality, differing only to meet the requirements and features of each mobile OS. The Android version, for instance, has an extra alert option: "Installed app notifications", which seemingly allows the Martian app to send over system notifications from any other app installed on the phone. That's the idea - I found it didn’t work when I asked for alerts from the Email app, for one.

Martian tells me it is putting together a developer forum and will launch later this year a software development kit (SDK) for Android and a limited one for the iPhone too.

The Martian app also allows you to set a do-not-disturb period - handy for bedtimes or theatre evenings - and to disable the out-of-range warning, which is discreet, in any case. You can increase the frequency at which the app polls for notifications and pings them over to the watch. The more often this occurs, the quicker the Victory’s battery will drain, of course.

Martian smartwatch

Martian claims the Victory will operate for seven days on a full charge, falling to two hours if you make extensive use of the voice facility. The analogue face is powered by the single on-board battery, but it’ll keep going for up to 30 days. Charging is easy: just plug in a micro USB cable. However, the USB and mic/speaker holes mean the Victory isn’t water resistant.

Personally, I’m not so keen on the Victory’s semi-circular analogue face. But it’s not an unattractive watch, with a certain retro charm. Its metal casing means it’s heavier than the Cookoo or the Casio, even though it’s actually smaller in size. I’d expect better build quality in a £200 watch - the mic grille was poorly set on my sample - but you’re paying for technology here, not watchmaker craft.

The Victory’s clear, easy-to-read OLED readout makes all the difference. It shows more characters and more types of information than the Casio scrolling display does, and certainly more than the Cookoo’s icons-only panel. A fresh firmware update, released as I was testing the watch, senses a tap on the glass and re-displays the most recent notification in response, though only within a minute of its receipt. Even without voice control, this is the most functional of the notification-centric smartwatches.

Price $299 (£193)
App platforms iOS, Android
Case Diameter: 41mm; thickness: 13.3mm; material: metal
Strap Length: 265mm; width: 21mm; material: plastic
More Info Martian Watches

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: Metawatch Frame

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.