An In-Depth Look at the xWatch Smartwatch
Once upon a time, watches were one of the most basic and universal of accessories. Our great-grandfathers had pocket watches, our grandfathers had analog watches, and our fathers were lucky enough to experience the rise of digital watches (or, if you’re Douglas Adams, mock them). In an era where everyone has a phone and every phone tells the time, it is somewhat amazing that watches continue to survive and thrive.
Of course, the watches which are most popular today aren’t your father’s watches.
Smartwatches are a perfect example of how technology, fashion, and trendiness can combine to take something old and make it new again. These watches look similar to digital watches, but have all manner of bells, whistles, and Bluetooth connectivity and apps which align them far more with the smartphones which once threatened to eliminate watchers from the market.
Enter the xWatch. Along with the iPhone and other smartwatches, the xWatch is the end result of the long evolution from analog pocket watches to the app-laden high-tech options we enjoy today. That said, we’ve come a long way since the debut of the Apple Watch. The technology has improved, as has the choice and competition in the marketplace, including underdog options like the xWatch.
With so many options on the market, how does the xWatch smartwatch measure up?
Let’s take a look.
1. The Layout of the Watch Face
First and foremost, any watch needs to be evaluated on the basis of the watch face itself.
When analog watches ruled the day, the way in which the numerals, hands of the watch, and other aspects were laid out on the watch was a huge determining factor in how easy it was to read as well as its overall fashionableness. With digital watches, watch faces became flatter and more streamlined, and with smartwatches such as the xWatch, that design is retained.
Still, there is a lot of variation in terms of how smartwatches display the time and, perhaps even more importantly, the layout of apps. In the past, cramped watch faces could make it hard to tell the time. Now, not only can cramped smartwatch layouts make them difficult to read, but bunching apps together can make it hard to access the right one when pressing your finger to the watch face.
The watch face is small enough to be compact but big enough to be able to display the time in big, bright digits and display apps just far enough apart as to make them accessible.
What’s more, the xWatch doesn’t just show the time in digits; it can also display a digital approximation of a traditional watch face, so if you prefer having hands on your watch and the time-keeping lines along its circular edge, you’re in luck.
2. The Design of the Watch
In addition to the layout of the watch face display, you’ll want to pay attention to its overall design. Once again, the xWatch smartwatch comes up big in this respect.
For one thing, the watch face itself is made from gleaming double-sided tempered glass. The choice of glass here for a Retina HD touchscreen is essential. Plastic and similar replacements look cheap and simply don’t have the shine or stylishness of genuine glass. The glass used for the xWatch’s watch face is sleek, durable, and a good example of what a watch face is supposed to look like.
That glass watch face is encased in sturdy aluminum housing. The casing is just thick enough to provide good protection without coming across as big and bulky. The edges are rounded, another subtle style point, and one that keeps the unit from becoming too pointy, a design which could potentially lead to accidents. There is a small cylindrical dial-like button attached to the aluminum casing, accessible yet unobtrusive, and it doesn’t stick out so much as to risk it catching on something or breaking off.
Then there are the bands themselves. This is where all too many otherwise-good watches go awry. On the one hand, it is vital for a watch band to be durable – you don’t want it wearing out or snapping. On the other hand, a lack of flexibility or breathability can lead to watch bands becoming a pinching, sweat-inducing pain.
Thankfully, the xWatch skirts both of these problems by making use of an ergonomic, flexible yet sturdy watch band. This band fits naturally with the watch face from an aesthetic perspective as well, giving the whole thing a streamlined appearance.
3. Personalizing the Watch
The impulse towards personalization is one of the driving forces behind corporate and consumer behavior today. Where product personalization was once a perk, and an oft-expensive one at that, today it is an expected feature of most digital products. In an age where our influence and individuality are becoming an ever-bigger part of our lives, it is more important than ever for devices like smartwatches to allow customers to personalize their options to their heart’s content.
The xWatch picks right up on that trend.
A lot of smartwatches offer the chance to swap out bands. While there isn’t currently a dedicated line of xWatch-specific alternate watch bands from which to choose, in theory there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do this yourself. The xWatch, as we’ll see, is compatible with many Apple Watch-related products, so if there’s an Apple Watch band you particularly like and you want to pair it with your xWatch, you may be able to pull it off, albeit in a crafty and unofficial way.
In addition, you can choose from among different custom watch faces to suit your mood.
4. Getting Alerts and Notifications
This is where the xWatch really shines.
We all get a lot of texts and notifications from different apps during the day. Given the immediacy allowed for by the enhanced means of communication offered today, people hate being left waiting. There is a reason we have adopted “being left unread” as a stand-in for being impatient at being made to wait for a reply. People can often see when you’ve read their messages, and once they know you’ve seen them, the longer you wait to reply, the more impatient they’ll become.
But what if you never see them at all? While phones typically do a good job of alerting their users to incoming messages, this is an area where smartwatches have continued to lag behind.
Thankfully, the xWatch picks up that slack, doing a great job of notifying wearers of any and all messages and texts they may have received. A quick, short buzz can alert you to a new message without the watch dinging or making noise. This allows wearers to be notified of a new message in a discreet fashion, allowing you to wear your watch to school or in boardroom meetings without having to worry about disrupting the proceedings.
Just as important as the notifications themselves are the apps that are supported by the notification system. The xWatch offers a good range of support for messaging apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, Wechat, Twitter, Skype, and QQ. That last one is especially notable given what a prominent messaging system QQ is in China. It isn’t supported by many smartwatches in America, so if you live in the US but want to be alerted to messages from friends or colleagues in China, or you live in China and want a watch that allows for easy QQ access, the xWatch is the smartwatch for you.
5. GPS, Heart Rate Monitors, and Watch Fitness Trackers
One of the big innovations of smartwatches of late has been the way that they have been able to capitalize on the latest fitness trends and brand themselves as being exercise-savvy. Since the rise of the Fitbit, we have been counting steps and heartbeats like never before. Fitbits are able to calculate things like steps taken via a GPS system. Most phones and smartwatches already have that.
What sets smartwatches apart in this respect is the way their watch faces have come to be outfitted in recent years with special sensors which are capable of sensing your pulse. These are similar to the straps and clips at a doctor’s office or hospital which attach around your wrist or your finger and detect your pulse and vital signs.
Combining this portable heart rate monitor with a GPS system allows these watches to become miniature fitness trackers, allowing you to see how far you’ve walked and how your workout is affecting your heart rate.
The xWatch does an excellent job of capitalizing on this trend by providing all of this information and more with its pedometer feature. Not only will you be able to view your heart rate while exercising, but you can also view it at rest as well, allowing you to make valuable comparisons between the two figures so as to get a more accurate idea of your overall fitness level. It can also display live ECG data, which isn’t something you’ll find in every smartwatch and can allow you to gain even further insight into your fitness and wellbeing.
If you feel any discomfort, a smartwatch such as the xWatch provides you with easily accessible readouts which you can show to your doctor.
Finally, there is support for a wide variety of different health and fitness apps, so if this is a major selling point for you, the xWatch can be upgraded and customized to provide you with the best and most up-to-date exercise and wellbeing info.
6. Durable, High-Quality Material
Of course, none of that will matter very much if the watch itself shatters upon impact or breaks the first time you wear it.
Durability is and always has been one of the trickiest tightropes for watches to walk. On the one hand, quality watches cost money. They are a long-term investment, and not one you want to go to waste due to damage or outright destruction. On the other hand, however, durability often means increasing the thickness of the casing, and you don’t want the watch to become too bulky, either.
That’s why we are happy to note as part of our xWatch review the watch’s overall sleek yet sturdy design. The aforementioned aluminum casing does a great job of protecting the inner workings of the watch from damage. It is inevitable that you will eventually bump and bang your watch into things. The xWatch is constructed in such a way as to render moot any worries about the unit denting or ceasing to function as a result of regular wear and tear.
The bands which the watch employs are sturdy as well. As stated, it is vital that bands walk a fine line between being comfortable and ergonomic while still being sturdy enough to prevent snapping. The durable plastic used in the xWatch’s bands fits this description perfectly.
Finally, the materials used in the xWatch’s construction feel sturdy and of high quality. Too often, makers of analog, digital, and smartwatches, in an effort to slim the watches down and make them appear sleeker, opt to use cheap materials. With the xWatch, however, you get a sleek watch design without sacrificing anything in terms of the quality of the materials used.
7. A Wide Array of Apps
It’s an app world, and we’re all just living in it. For any digital device to succeed, it needs to have the ability to download and provide good access to and support for a wide number of apps. This is especially true with smartphones being natural competitors of smartwatches. You can check the time on either, so if your phone offers a lot of apps and your watch does not, guess which one you’re more likely to cut out of your daily routine.
The xWatch offers a wealth of different apps, including the following:
- A phonebook, call log, and the ability to place Bluetooth calls
- A pedometer, heart rate trackers and readouts, and an ECG
- An app which tracks how long you are sedentary
- A calorie counter and blood pressure tester for further fitness-related information
- A calendar, calculator, alarm, and other features which are by now standard on most watches
- A Bluetooth camera
- A stopwatch
- An app for accessing your favorite music via Bluetooth
The watch is also compatible with and can be set to display data in several languages.
In addition to these basics, you can download a wide range of other apps. As alluded to above, you can download social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and QQ to use on the go. While you’ll have to download apps besides the barebones basics listed above, this can be easily done, and the watch has space for a huge number of apps.
8. Call and Text Ability
Wrist communicators have long been a staple of science fiction. Well, that fiction has now become a reality – as has the all too real and frustrating phenomenon of not being able to get a good signal. It’s hard not to feel foolish shouting “What?” into your wrist, especially on the street with everyone watching. You want a smartwatch which can operate smoothly and offer good call and text performance.
The xWatch offers just that. It offers good reception and allows users to place calls and text with ease.
9. Watch-to-Phone Compatibility
Even more importantly, the xWatch offers great watch-to-phone compatibility, being compatible with most iOS and Android devices. It is hard to overstate how huge that is. If you own an iPhone, chances are you know how hard it can be to find third-party devices which are compatible and haven’t been blocked by Apple. The same holds true for Android.
The fact that this watch can be used to connect to your iOS and Android devices removes a huge smartwatch headache, and is a definite high point of our xWatch review.
10. Battery Life
When you are on the go, there is nothing worse than realizing that your phone or watch is running dangerously low on power. Your choices in such a situation are to stop somewhere and charge it – which can be difficult if you don’t have a portable charger on you – or power through without using your device too much and hope it doesn’t die on you. The latter can be especially difficult if you are using that aforementioned GPS system to navigate away from your home.
That’s why battery life is a huge point of evaluation for digital devices, and smartwatches are no different. Without a long-lasting battery, even the nicest smartwatch is liable to become the world’s most overpriced glass, aluminum, and plastic wristband.
Thankfully, this is another area where the xWatch really shines. It has great battery life, providing you with somewhere between 3 to 5 days’ worth of battery life depending on your degree of usage. What’s more, the unit is easily charged via USB. Still better, the charging process only takes about an hour to complete, which is faster than most smartphones on the market.
11. Delivery, Support, and Customer Service
By now, you’ve seen what the xWatch has to offer, and have probably begun to make up your mind about whether or not it’s right for you. If so, you’ll want to set about ordering one. That said, anyone who has ever ordered anything online knows that this can all too often be a hassle. Even the best products can be hampered by costly shipping or lengthy shipping times.
Thankfully, this is not a problem with the xWatch. While they are only available online, they are able to be shipped around the world quickly and without hassle. Just a few clicks and your order is placed and ready to ship – it’s as simple as that. What’s more, shipping is free on all orders worldwide.
Just as important as the shipping is the customer service team. Even the best-made digital devices can be prone to problems or glitches – just ask Apple and Android. When those problems strike, you are going to want to get them fixed, and fast. That means being able to contact a customer service team.
The company behind the xWatch offers great customer service. You can call or contact them 24/7 and expect prompt assistance with any queries you may have regarding your watch or any outstanding orders. They pride themselves on offering quality customer service, and in a market all too often marked by customer service apathy, their prompt responses are a breath of fresh air.
12. Overall Value
Let’s be real – top-tier watches have never been cheap. Going all the way back to pocketwatches, the best watches on the market have often been marked by both luxurious features and designs as well as exorbitant prices. Take a look at the prices for the Apple Watch or Samsung’s competitors and you’ll see what we mean.
The xWatch has been able to establish itself as one of the best bargain smartwatches on the market, offering many bells and whistles while still offering a far lower price point than Apple, Samsung, or other players in the smartwatch game. What’s more, they offer a simplified, streamlined design which makes them easy to use for those new to the world of smartwatches. If this is you, or you are looking to buy a solid smartwatch for a fraction of the extortionate bounty demanded for an Apple Watch, the xWatch can be a great alternative.
Watches have been with us for centuries, and with the advent of the smartwatch, it looks like they will be sticking with us in this new iteration for some time. While none of us knows where the watch or tech industries are headed, we know that options like the xWatch do a great job of making these high-tech options available to a broader public. Its lower price point, sturdy build, streamlined design, long battery life, and a wealth of apps and options make it one of the best value smartwatches on the market. Whatever the future holds for the smartwatch, if you are looking for a high-quality, highly affordable watch in the here and now, it’s hard to do better than the xWatch smartwatch.