Semi-Smart Watch Isn’t All That Bright

Just because you’re building a digital smartwatch doesn’t mean that you have do it all digitally. The folks behind the Cogito Classic watch [] have taken this strategy to heart, and come up with a minimalist design that is a hybrid of digital and analog solutions.

Like most traditional wrist watches, the face is dominated by analog hour and minute hands to tell the time. The device can also issue alerts when paired with an iOS or Android smartphone using a Bluetooth connection. The watch has four LCD icons that show up to indicate when you’ve received an email, text message, social message, or a “special” message. A low-resolution monochrome pixel display at the top of the watch face can show Caller ID information, time, date, and other data as needed.

The watch doesn’t have a microphone or speaker, so you’ll still need to grab your phone to answer a call. However, you can tap the watch to dismiss an incoming call if you want. You can also use the watch to control music playback from your phone, trigger your phone’s digital camera, and more.

Given its modest feature set, the watch requires far less power than some other watches. As a result, it runs for months without recharging, using just a pair of coin cell batteries. The design looks a lot more like a traditional watch instead of a high-tech hockey puck or futuristic bangle. It won a Golden A’ Design Award in the Jewelry, Eyewear and Watch Design Category in the 2013-2014 competition.

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We got to see the watch at CES 2015, and while the hybrid display is a clever solution, the execution leaves something to be desired. We felt that the LCD portion of the watch face was difficult to read, due to its low contrast. On the other hand, its simple design does provide some significant advantages over a standard watch, and with a list price of $180, it is priced far below many of the smarter watches on the market. (AP)