In my email last week I saw a Groupon offer for the Mota G2 smartwatch (sold out now) reduced to $49.99 for the original or $59.99 for the newer model. Of course, I liked the snazzy silver/red version which only comes in the newer model. I read the reviews for it on Amazon and it sounded like it would be fun to try out.
Shipping was fast – even though the tracking said estimated receive date was a week after when I actually received it. The box itself has been shipped in a lightly padded envelope and had got slightly damaged – just cosmetic, but still. The watch came almost fully charged which was a pleasant surprise – I don’t like to have to wait to play. Pairing the watch to my iPhone 5S was easy and after I read the manual I did set the correct time.
I will pause at this point to say I think this watch is more of a dumb smartwatch than a smart smartwatch! Really, I am waiting very impatiently for the long rumored Apple iWatch and this experience just reinforced my feeling that Apple is more likely to make something ‘smart’. For instance, why couldn’t the G2 get the time from the phone???
If you go to the Mota website and read about the features of the G2 it seems to do everything you would want in a low entry point device:
- It has Bluetooth connectivity to both Android and Apple;
- Vibrates with caller ID so you can decide to accept or ignore call;
- Can be used as hands free speakerphone with built in speakers and microphone;
- Can stream your music through the built in speakers;
- Alerts when you go more than 10ft away from your phone;
- Can be used to connect to Siri or Google Now for voice commands;
- Looks stylish in a Star Trek communicator way.
This all sounds great – I was excited to get this device. The big thing for me was to get one button access to Siri without having to dig my phone out of my pocket or purse. I am still waiting to get this – no combination of button pushes could get this to work – unless I activated it from the phone first which defeats the purpose completely! The manual says to press button B which will change the display to speak and press button A to confirm. Nope, couldn’t get this to work and spent half the time turning the watch off by accident pressing button B for various lengths of time.
The watch did actually not look too bad on my wrist and the fit was comfortable – not too loose and not too tight. The display was clear enough, but a bit boring and small – no color. It was annoying to have to turn the screen on to display the time – some sort of motion sense or something should kick that off. It is a lot wider than my Jawbone Up band and I don’t think I would wear this out if I was dressed up.
I will say the streaming music and speakerphone for phone calls did work very well. Again, not sure how much I would really want to speak to my wrist and have everyone hear the caller. It was a novelty feature – I did want to access Siri this way and add calendar events quickly.
As for notifications, they only work for phone calls – I wanted to at least be able to see if there were any texts or messages I was missing. This is why I say the phone was more dumb than smart – there is no logic in this, it is purely a Bluetooth repeater. I don’t want to have to turn my phone to silent before a meeting and then turn it back off when I come out of it. I watch my smart watch to figure out when I am in a meeting and silence my phone and vibrate notifications to me. At least vibrate to remind me I left the phone in silent mode!
Finally, the proximity alert for when you are more than 10ft from the phone seemed like a nice idea – except I now realize I purposely leave my phone quite often and I don’t need an alert about it. I do not take my phone the the bathroom, nor do I take it with me to pick up lunch at the cafe downstairs and I definitely don’t have it with me at all times in the house. If I am expecting a call I might have it with me more often, but this alarm thing was just too annoying. Then when you come back in range of the Bluetooth it beeps quite loudly. How about understanding my routine and only alerting me when I leave the phone outside of my normal locations?
I guess this foray into smart/dumb watches has more clearly defined in my head what I am really looking for in a smartwatch – hopefully the iWatch meets these desires:
- Smart silences phone and vibrate watch when in meetings;
- Smartly figure out if I am forgetting my phone or purposely leaving it;
- One button access to Siri and display the results on the screen as well as talk them;
- Access to phone contacts to initiate text message or voice call easily;
- Have Bluetooth priority options – in the car always connect to the car first, etc
- Always display the time or at least make it display when movement is detected;
- Remind me of events/meetings or appointments I have coming up;
- Importantly: look cool and stylish on either male or female wrists!
The Mota G2 has been repackaged and the return label printed off to send it back to its masters. Santa is however ready to order an iWatch so roll on Sept 9th Apple event – I am waiting!!!