My Smartwatch

The greatest part about the VRunow 1.54inch is also the worst part it is not just a wearable watch its a micro phone! I have been using it for about 2 weeks. I will attempt to break things down since a simple Pro/Con review wont actually do this equipment justice.

Out of the Box:
First, this watch thinks its a phone.... all the time. This is a really big deal since it can take a sim and a mem card, make calls on its own and basically function about 80% without a bluetooth link. I was excited when i realized this out of the box, it was only after a week that the reality of this setup finally sunk in. I dont want my watch to have its own phone number. Out of the box though the watch looks good enough. I liked the lines the textured rubber band and the front facing camera. The battery lasted 4 days before i had to charge it and that's Amazing!!!! I noticed that a lot of the app features didn't work, but I assumed this was due to the fact that I hadn't tethered the watch yet. The battery is exchangeable so if you really needed to you could throw and extra one in your pocket, because its about the size of a 'square quarter' and about 3 quarters thick.

The altimeter/pedometer did not function out of the box. I don't know if this is a defective unit but I haven't been able to log a single step since i purchased it. Which means that it didn't really take the place of a Fitbit device.

Sleep monitoring doesn't actually give you any metrics it just tells you if your sleep was good or ----- i don't know what it says for bad since there is no heart monitor and the accelerometer as noted above isn't functional. So i'm a GREAT sleeper. Even when I'm awake and working.

The software defined FM radio doesn't work because it is expecting you to plug in a pair of Earphones to serve as an antenna. There is no earphone jack.

The watch only has 20K (yes K) memory until you install a mem card. The mem card would be useful if you were going to take video or pics with your watch. I'm not so it seemed wasteful to install a card. This also means there was no local music playback.

About here I was inclined to remove about half a star, because its functionality was pretty miserable as a smart device.

Facebook, Twitter, and the Chrome apps do not work... see Tethered with bluetooth below. No bluetooth, no SIM at this point this was reasonable.

Also a really big thing to know is this unit is not waterproof. I found this out when i took it into the Shower accidentally. I assumed that because it had a sweat proof band that a light sprinkle wouldn't be a problem. That was bad. The back of the watch just snaps over the battery and sim holder there is no seal to speak of. The very tight seam around the face of the watch was sufficient to prevent most water getting in but the little bit of water running down my wrist eventually found its way into the case and started a non-fatal short. This is where i learned that the watch did in fact have a vibration motor, which previously had not gone off till that point. I hadn't really worried about the vibration feature cause the speakers volume rivaled my PC and dwarfed my phone... so as an alarm it was going to be more than sufficient. I was sad that i had gotten water into the device after only 5 days of use, so i pulled the cover off and threw it into a bag of clothes then hopped on an airplane for a business trip. After a 2 hour hop and getting settled into my hotel i pulled the remains of the watch reassembled everything and fired it up. It worked no problems. Kudos to the device engineers for making an exceptionally tough product.

Tethered with Bluetooth:
This was the biggest let down. Of my two weeks. After seeing how it operated on its own (no sim, no bluetooth) I knew that i had to pair it in order to give it a fair review. The pairing process was as good as any other bluetooth device. Not a problem. So now what can we do?


Facebook -No; Twitter -No; Chrome -No;

Just having bluetooth connected doesn't actually provide you with an internet connection, and this means that a lot of functionality to the watch is not turned on. Any other apps you might expect to work actually just tells you to install the BTNotification app. Which sounds like the bluetooth notification app. I was not ready to add software to my phone so that notifications would work. So another 3 or 4 days went by.

It lost a full star for this. This is when i started hitting the internet to find out if I was missing something. The BTNotification App (not its real name) is critical to this device gaining more functionality. At this point I want to point out that I am a software developer, and i was really upset by the way this device was leading me around. My user experience was bad, features didn't work, and apparently I had to give this watch a foothold on my phone in order to actually test its uses and workflows.

Tethered with Bluetooth and BT Notifications App
I recommend this video to help you get things set up:

There are about 6 different apps that allow you to setup the notification service. Its not the easiest set up, and since you have to have BT pairing then device-app pairing any connectivity problems and you will get frustrated. This is about a quarter star reduction here.

Once its together though there is this new and different 'notification' platform. And that is what we're talking about a new way to get notices. Your phone will send a system message to your watch that something has happened on your phone and that's about its usefulness. Its nice that you can turn off and on what gets sent. I left my messaging apps including RocketChat and Telegram turned on and started getting.... i'm going to call them 'pages' because it simply was a datetime stamp and which application on my phone had a pop-up. There is no interactivity with them, and that is kind of expected and also kind of a let-down. I can totally see the advantage of this in some ways, just knowing that I have a Telegram or Facebook message to check after i finish with my meeting is useful. Sort of. I already check my phone after meetings because i put it on silent as I go in to the meetings. Since the contents of the message are not displayed I don't know if there is an emergency or not. Its just more notifications. To your wrist. You can decline incoming phone calls from your writst, and that's okay.

The most useful this turned out to be was this situation: I walked away from my laptop, and phone which was charging. My headphones were in the laptop and my phone was muted. As I was on the other side of the room a RocketChat message came in. I wouldn't have known that while i was making a sandwich someone needed my attention, and probably would have gone about my business till i hit one of my routine checks, or till my team member flagged me again.

The second time this was useful was while i was gaming. I was able feel on my wrist an sms notification from my wife while i was "in game."

Final Thoughts
Because this is a very cheap device there isn't going to be a huge amount of added features in the future I can say that the device's usefulness has pretty much plateau'd. Since i can make software I can craft some custom notification apps for my phone that will then flag my wrist.... but I already have a phone buzzing in my pocket. This is a very very very narrow device and its practical uses are very limited. If you need another notification tray on your wrist than this is the way to go. If the fitness tracking features worked it would have eliminated another device and that probably would have been useful. Similarly the sleep tracking, but since there is no heart monitor it is an overall limited platform for health monitoring.