Last week, my colleague got a much closer look at the Huawei Watch. With its full metal jacket on, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigue by Huawei’s latest smartwatch
But, deep down, a voice in my head screams this - it’s still not the watch you’re looking for! And it’s hard to argue with that voice. Because in the end, smartwatches are still clunky little things that look like an eyesore on my wrist.
I’ve had my fair share of strapping these connected watches over the past two years. But none has managed to impressed me enough to keep it on, especially for formal occasions that require a sophisticated accessory to match my outfit.
In essence, smartwatches are faced with one problem - a design flaw. In a bid to turn it into more than a simple notifications machine, these wearables are packed to the brim with more features than a watch is accustomed to. Think along the lines of an overfed dog, lumbering along and unable to do its real job.
The result, is either a watch face that’s almost as larger or even larger than your wrist surface. Or a square, unflattering design that’s not as fanciful as a dress watch. Cut the fat, I say. Watches don’t need any bells and whistles that would otherwise ruin its appearance.
More importantly, it needs to tell the time without the constant worry of an empty battery. Oh, that’s right, a smartwatch can only go as far as perhaps seven days on a single charge. In the worst case scenario, you forgot to charge it the day before, strap it on, and by the time you realise it, you’re just wearing a piece of metal on your wrist.
Then, there's the fact that you don’t really want to be notified every time a WhatsApp message comes in. Sure, it’s nice to see who’s looking for you and you feel that nudge on the wrist, almost as if someone’s tugging for your attention. When this happens way too much, you’ll understand why we’ve left our wrist empty.
Smartwatch makers essentially have to understand the functions of a watch before anything. It needs to tell the time and look nice while doing so. That said, not all smartwatches are horrible to gaze at. Perhaps all it needs to do is take a page from watchmakers with decades of experience. Which, by the way, are looking to add a bit of smarts to its traditional analogue timepieces.
Seiko, for one, launched its solar-powered, GPS-enabled Seiko Astron a few months ago. Granted, it can’t give you turn-by-turn voice navigation, but the tiny addition of a GPS chip allowing the watch to automatically adjust to the time zone reduces the hassle of manually adjust time when you travel. And that solar cell. Such a simple solution to fuel a power-hungry GPS feature. Makes you wonder why this isn't implemented on smartwatches yet.
You don’t have to throw fancy features like making calls on a smartwatch to tell the time. It’s really the small steps that make a big difference. A watch, at the end of the day, is a piece that tells time. Any added smarts or improvements to be made should be focused on its horological roots.
So the question is - will smartwatch makers finally break the barrier and strap more of these connected timepieces onto wrists?
Time will tell. But for now, I’m sticking with my good old Nixon watch.