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i’m Watch smartwatch review

on January 11, 2013 1:00 pm

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The i’m Watch from Italian based i’m is not only a wrist watch that will display the time of day, it’s actually an Android smartwatch companion for your Bluetooth enabled iPhone or Android based smartphone. In addition to performing as a speakerphone, it can even run its own apps. Let’s give it a spin. Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size. imwatch-6

First of all, this watch is not dainty by any stretch of the imagination. It’s pretty large and chunky. As you can see it swallows my wrist. It was a little too bulky and uncomfortable to wear for me. imwatch-5

The i’m Watch is available in several versions. The one you see above is offered with a choice of 7 different colored bands. You can also buy the i’m Watch in Titanium and jeweled versions. The prices for the Titanium and Gold versions are insane though – they range from $1049 for Titanium up to a jaw dropping $19990 for the White Gold and Diamond version.

This watch reminds me of the previous version of the Apple iPod nano and one of the many watch bands that were created for it. Even the interface and icons look similar.

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The case of the i’m Watch is made of aluminum with a smooth brushed finish. On the left side you’ll find a standard headphone jack / charger port and a speaker. The watch comes with a special USB cable that has a 3.5mm jack on one end and a USB connector on the other. You use this cable to charge the watch and also transfer files with your computer. imwatch-4

On the right side is another speaker and the command button.

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Setting up the watch is pretty easy. You just have to pair it with your Bluetooth enabled smartphone and enable tethering. The watch doesn’t have WiFi, so without a smartphone to pair with it, you won’t be able to take advantage of any features. After you pair the watch with your phone, you have to register the watch online. The i’m Cloud site allows you to manage  and setup the core apps with access various accounts like your Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts. You can also link the watch with your google calendar.

The 1.54” 240×240 pixel color touch display is clear and bright. To wake it up you have to press the command button on the right side. Continuously pressing the button will take you back through the screens like a back button. When you get to the screen above on the left, you can then swipe the screen left or right with your finger to show the scrolling apps lists. The touch display is capacitive, so you’ll not be able to use it with gloves.

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The i’m Watch has 128mb of RAM and 4GB of flash. The operating system is a customized version of Android that includes a core set of apps: Appointments, Contacts, Calculator, Compass, Facebook, picture gallery, Twitter, email, MP3 player, Instagram, News, Stocks and Weather. You can also install additional apps from the i’m Market. Right now there are only 27 apps available. Most are free but some have a price.

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I was really excited to try this watch because I thought it would be great to be able to leave my phone in my bag or jacket pocket while I drive and be able to see text messages as they come in or even answer/make calls right from my wrist. Unfortunately the i’m Watch experience has not been as good as I hoped. The watch looks better than it performs.  Having the ability to see Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email on your wrist sounds great. But everything left me disappointed. Facebook and the news app just show headlines. You can’t tap a headline to see the full story or Facebook post, so what real good is that? Email will allow you to tap a subject line and read the full message,  but the screen is so tiny that it’s tough to read it in a 240×240 pixel window.

Then there’s the features I really cared about most: SMS and making/receiving calls…

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The SMS/text message feature just flat out doesn’t work. At all. Bummer… The speakerphone feature doesn’t work either. At least not enough to be useful. The watch will come on when a call comes in (image above on the right), but the audio is very choppy or just drops out completely to where you think the phone call was dropped. But if you look at your actual phone, you’ll see that you’re still connected. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to make or receive a call, it just doesn’t work.  And forget about trying to scroll through your address book to call someone. Again, the display is too small. What the i’m Watch really needs are voice commands…

I have to complain about one more thing and then I’ll be done… Battery life… The web site says that the watch uses “smart tethering” to save power and that you should be able to get up to 2 days of use per charge. I barely did anything with this watch and didn’t even get 12hrs…

I came into this review hoping that the i’m Watch smartwatch would be great, but am leaving disappointed. The problem is that this is actually an updated version of their original watch…

What do you guys think? Would you wear a smartwatch?

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Product Information

Price:$389.00 - $19990 depending on style
Manufacturer:i'm
Requirements:
  • Bluetooth enabled smartphone: Android 4.0 and higher, iOS 4 and higher
Pros:
  • Can install apps that show data
Cons:
  • Speakerphone feature doesn't work, choppy audio
  • SMS app doesn't work
  • Short battery life
  • Too expensive for what it can do

Comments

  1. 1
    Yaniv C says:

    Im holding out for better.
    Firstly it looks ghastly. Its a fargin steampunk clock shrunken down to fit your wist.
    Secondly, its running Android. Now… don’t get me wrong. I love Android. I’ve had almost every phone T-Mobile has ever carried (I still take my G1 out of the drawer once in a while to make me smile) along with some on other networks. However, only recently has Android been able to run smoothly. Android is still a very clunky operating system that sits ON TOP of another operating system (its virtual). The only reason newer phones are finally getting to a point where they are not totally laggy is because they’re running dual and quad core CPU’s with 1-2 GB of ram (THAT’S A COMPUTER!). I don’t think this watch runs hardware that strong. What you will probably urn into after installing a bunch of apps is a screen that responds when it feels like it and an owner that is constantly late for meetings :)
    I was hoping to get a better look at the Pebble watch but… it looks more promising… but unfortunately it also looks even uglier lol.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    @Yaniv C I’m also looking forward to hearing about the Pebble. Bill Kuch will be getting his sometime soon.

  3. 3
    Larry Geisz says:

    I don’t know about this one, it seems a little big for my wrist. I guess it is a good start for that fabled Dick Tracy watch but I will wait… But it looks good on you honest ;) .

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    @Larry I couldn’t wear it longer than an hour or so. It hurt my wrist.

  5. 5
    Dmitriy says:

    Russia is waiting for Pebble =)

  6. 6
    Yaniv C says:

    @Julie, me too…. I just hope they come out with some better looking bezels/cases.
    I do love the fact that it uses E-Ink which is so much nicer for outdoor visibility and battery life.

  7. 7
    anson says:

    i kickstarted the pebble as well… hopefully it will begin shipping Jan 23 as promised at CES :)

  8. 8
    Ronald says:

    Too big for me too.
    Waiting to see a pebble live, that could be my next watch.
    :-)

  9. 9
    nicky says:

    then they’ll be half that big, then maybe ;)

  10. 10
    Mark says:

    The Pebble still looks to be the winner in the 2012 Smartwatch category. Once Pebble sets the bar, it will be interesting to see how quickly the market changes. At $150, the Pebble is pretty hard to beat. Look for a double-wide version of Pebble for those who want the “Quarterback’s playbook” style of fashion. I do wonder if LVHM jumps into the market and buys Pebble as a way to start the market for intelligent fashion watches.

  11. 11
    Ian says:

    I have been using a metawatch strata for three weeks and really like where it is headed. Pebble kick starter here too.

    Would love to try an I’m Watch but not paying that much to test it.

  12. 12
    scott says:

    Did you wait with me in that crazy line/mob to get one of these last week too? good concept, poor execution.

    Forgot to mention as well that you have to have Personal Hotpot/Mobile Tethering plan set up in order to turn on Bluetooth tethering, and without it, facebook, twitter, and anything else related to a web service becomes useless!

  13. 13
    Julie says:

    @scott I wasn’t in Vegas (CES) last week. They just sent me a watch to review. I did mention that you have to have tethering turned on. I don’t have a special tethering plan though, just the regular data plan on Verizon for my Samsung Galaxy S3.

  14. 14
    heatwave16 says:

    I liked the look and the described functions of the watch. I’m definitely disappointed that it didn’t live up to the hype. It would be great to not have to dig for my phone when checking out e-mail or a text. I guess I’ll just keep looking.

  15. 15
    andix says:

    Julie,
    the internet is full of disappointment about the I’m Watch. I skipped a beat here for a second seeing the review on TG, thinking maybe something changed. Ugh, no…
    I’ve got myself the Casio GB-6900AA Bluetooth. I could review it for you if you want – it doesn’t do much other than notify of calls (no CID on iPhone), e-mails and phone out of range. It fits the bill for me though, as I tend to ignore my phone on low volume in the pocket or on my belt. But I can bang the living daylights out of it (it’s a G-shock!) and it was only $160 on boxing day. Plus, it’s a Casio. :)

  16. 16
    Rob O. says:

    I’ve gotta say, I’m still incredibly disappointed that Apple screwed with the Nano’s form factor. There was a feverish grassroots community all about using that device as a wristwatch – and that niche was gaining momentum thanks to a number of cool new watchband designs coming from Kickstarter, Etsy, and even mainstream vendors.

    I’m stunned and disheartened that Apple turned its back on such a creative, enthusiastic segment of users – and for no apparent valid reason. It would’ve cost them nothing to simply, well… do nothing, stepping aside to let that community thrive.

    I’ve heard some people suggest that Apple nixed the 6th gen Nano because they have a smartwatch in the works but I don’t buy it.

  17. 17
    Lyanjye says:

    People “””STAY AWAY””” FROM THIS PRODUCT!!! I purchased one and it is a piece of crap!!! It “””DOES NOT””” do what is advertise!!! It is a piece of “””SH*T”””!!! Damn what they say and anyone who has purchased one. It will give you the blues and a headache!!! Poor, poor customer service!!! Poor, poor tech support!!! They don’t even exist. They take your money and run!!! all that glitter isn’t gold!!! It’s a piece of crap!!! so, if you want to send them $400 plus dollars go right ahead. You “””WILL NOT””” get your money if things go wrong. And they will go wrong!!!

  18. 18
    Here says:

    It’s Italian, what did you expect? ;)

  19. 19
    Brian Youwakim says:

    This company is a bunch of crooks they stiffed me for 800.00$ that’s the price I paid for the Im watch which I ordered in February 2011, and so far I did not receive anything, even after many e-mails and calls.

  20. 20
    Jon Mentor says:

    Rob O. is right. The only reason that I can think of that Apple would do that is if they are getting ready to jump into the smartwatch market themselves and wanted to clear the path.

  21. 21
    Paul Atkinson says:

    Your review is spot on. Now to be fair I reward innovation and go for it mentality. And I’m has done that. However, it does have a ways to go to truly be viable. I too mainly wanted the SMS feature. Thought it would be great to be able to glance at incoming text messages. It does not work with iPhone 5. They say it is an Apple issue. However, the slick marketing on their website “implies” it will work as the phone pictured with the SMS notifications details is an iPhone. Another area you aren’t mentioning is customer service. It is as spotty as the watch. I had to threaten them to go on every website known to man get them to ship my watch after I paid. It was over 30 days. If you visit their Facebook page you’ll see it is loaded with people complaining of the same thing.

    Lastly, since your review they have had a firmware update helping in some areas like Bluetooth connections and a few other minor tweaks. Each update seems to help but probably by the time they get it together, Apple will be blowing their doors off with a version of their own.

  22. 22
    Julie says:

    @Paul I received the email about the firmware update and just haven’t had the motivation to dig the watch out of my junk drawer, charge it up and apply it. Maybe I’ll get to that this weekend and do a short update to the review.

  23. 23
    Paul Atkinson says:

    Julie, another update has come out. It resolved the issue with my iPhone and SMS text messages which it now displays. It is may favorite feature. The voice calling still is not usable but seems to be getting better each upgrade. In all fairness, overall, I’m pretty satisfied now as it appears to be working within 85% of my expectations.

  24. 24
    Julie says:

    @Paul thanks for the update. I still haven’t installed the first update. It’s on my list of things to do ;)

  25. 25
    John Sciacca says:

    Julie, you were *far* kinder in your review than I was. But, I think my review is funnier… As told via the former Iraqi Information Minister…
    http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/show/25108597-i-m-watch-review-i-m-sad-i-m-angry-i-m-confused-i-m-fail
    Best,
    John

  26. 26
    Knraju says:

    Don’t buy.it is no good.not working.

  27. 27
    Lorez says:

    Hi is here anyone who knows how to delete the messages on the i’m watch ? I have an iphone 5 thnx

  28. 28
    Jon Mentor says:

    They really need to update the software on this smartwatch. Is the company still operating?

  29. 29
    Micheal says:

    I was about to order but after reading these reviews from people, i changed my plan

  30. 30
    Thomas Koch says:

    how do you get the weather to configure??? this thing is so frustrating. everything is on and tethered-configured my city and state, press done, it saying its successful, but watch still shows vegas, milan, ect

  31. 31
    F Esposito says:

    got my first watch from SHOP.CA.

  32. 32
    F Esposito says:

    Sorry to continue… it would not charge and had to send back to Italy. The sent me back another watch that worked, now I suffer from all of the same issues above…

  33. 33
    Michal says:

    It’s depend. Design is important in smartwatches. Stronger battery will by good step.

    ✭✭✭✭✩

  34. 34
    Harry says:

    Good Stuff… O_O

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