September 20, 2020 1:35:32 pm
Android smartwatches have not really had a good time over the years. While Google has a good software offering with Wear OS, the recent launches have all been unremarkable, to say the least. Also, Samsung, the one company that could have made an impact in this space, chose to move to its own Tizen OS for smartwatches. Now, Indian startup WatchOut Wearables is trying to make a mark in the space with a smartwatch that offers at least a couple of features which differentiates it from the other Wear OS devices.
WatchOut Wearables Madgaze smartwatch
Madgaze is the fourth device from the Mumbai-based startup. The watch is fully assembled in India and looks like most of the other Android smartwatches I have tried over the years. However, the hard to ignore part is the size of the watch, especially being an Apple Watch user. Let me put it this way: people will know you have invested in a smartwatch.
However, at 73 gram, the Madgaze is not a heavy watch and I loved the silicone strap which is good to wear for long hours. There are two buttons on the right side for home and return. The watch uses a proprietary charger and there is a different cable for data transfer. Under the watch is a heart rate sensor and a small flap behind which this data cable can be attached. This is also where the nano-SIM is slotted. The watch has been made to be dust and splash resistant.
The 1.39 inch is sharp and bright. This means it works really well even under the unnecessarily bright Indian sun. The watch face is not all screen, though. There is a bezel with branding as well as a chrome ring around it. This makes the screen a bit larger than necessary in my books.
The OS is Android 7.1 but there are added apps and features. The UI is what you would expect on other Wear OS devices, but for me the prominent buttons where a bit of a distraction and instead of using the screen I kept pressing them without having the desired impact. But navigation is best done on the screen — with swipes to left for app menu and swipe down for setting and regular features like music and weather.
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Since the smartwatch has a SIM inside, you can make and receive calls directly on the watch. On the phone app, you can dial numbers or just tap a contact or redial a number from the recent calls list. It is all very convenient. Also, the speakers on the watch are good enough for you to make the calls without a Bluetooth earphone.
The really interesting feature, however, is the gesture controls. These are accessed on the Mad Gaze controller app which needs to be switched on to start. Once this has been set up, you can customise the watch to recognise taps on different parts of the hand, and some gestures like snapping the finger to trigger other actions like playing music. While this is innovative, for me it took a lot of thinking, and planning, to use this option. But it will be of value when you are able to use this to power other things, like changing slides during a presentation.
I also loved the Zello app that lets you communicate with other contacts who have the same app on other Android devices. The only issue is that when the app is active, you hear the voice from the other side even if you are not on the app screen and that can startle you a bit at times.
With full use, the battery on the watch lasted me exactly a full working day, which is good given the features in the watch. It helps that the watch has a very good always-on display that helps save a lot of battery life.
Overall, the WatchOut Wearables Madgaze is a good smartwatch with enough additional features and a look that will make you stand out in a crowd. Despite the innovative features, which felt a bit geeky, there are enough practical aspects to make the Madgaze a decent smartwatch. The watch is priced at Rs 28,999, but those preordering on Fueladream.com can get this for between Rs 15,999 and Rs 17,999. Come on, it’s time to back some Indian enterprise.
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