Passport 1

Woman’s Perspective: Martian Watches – What a Smart Watch Should Be

March 2, 2014 - Written By Samantha P. Hawthorne

When most people think of a smart watch they think productivity. When I think of a smart watch I think relaxation. Before getting my hands on the Martian Watch Passport I was one of those people who ALWAYS had her phone out. I was in the habit of turning the screen on just so I could confirm that no calls, text messages or any other notifications were missed. Of course when in the company of more…sophisticated people, doing this might be thought of as rude. During those times I would just grin and bare it until I had a chance to slip away and check my social status.  Now that I have the Passport however, I do not feel a need to do that; I am confident that if someone wants to get a hold of me I will know without having to double-check my phone. In addition to being the perfect companion for my phone, it has relieved me of my incessant need to whip it out at any given moment – If only men everywhere owned this device….Not only does it relieve me of my anal obsession, it also fulfills my childhood desire to be a top secret spy.

Design

The creators of Martian Watches hit the nail on the head when they designed their Voice Command series of smart watches. The Passport, and other watches in the series are exactly what I envision when I think of the future of wearables – stylish, functional and unobtrusive. Rather than designing it with a huge face, useless apps and an unresponsive touch screen, the company designed it to resemble a classic timepiece with a modern spin.
Martian’s Voice Command series includes several style options to choose from: Passport, Victory and G2G watches. Depending on which watch you choose, Martian offers a selection of replaceable bands in different colors and materials. My review focuses on the white leather Passport. Its  genuine leather band and stainless steel casing give it a classy feel, making me feel like a million bucks when I wear it out. Although the frame is rather large, it still feels dainty on my wrist – a huge plus for women in search of a stylish smart watch. The crystal screen is made of anti-scratch glass and the clasp is made of stainless steel. It features an analog quartz watch face and a notification screen that is just big enough to deliver one-lined messages from your phone to your wrist.

Specs

  • Analog quartz watch with Japanese movement
  • Upper Command Button
  • Lower Select Button
  • Noise-Cancellation Microphone
  • Directional Personal Speaker
  • 96 x 16 pixel graphic OLED display
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 chip (classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth low energy)
  • RGB LED light
  • “Light Touch” Vibrating Motor
  • 3-Axis Accelerometer
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • Band: Genuine leather (white face watches) or sporty silicone (black face watch) with stainless steel clasp
  • Anti-scratch glass crystal
  • Micro USB port for recharging and firmware updates

Passport 2

Functionality

The scrolling notification display provides access to incoming text messages, caller ID, emails, social media, a world clock and the weather. Alerts are delivered via vibration and colored LED lights. Notifications are repeated by tapping on the screen. With an option to integrate Google Now commands, the Passport allows you to make calls, takes notes, set reminders and more. As a reporter who is often on the go, this feature has become quite useful. Rather than pull out my phone to set up a reminder or record a note, I just hold down the action button and command Google to do my bidding. Every voice command available through Google Now is available on the Passport. Depending on your phone, you can even post messages to social media accounts using voice commands.
With hands-free laws becoming more common around the world, the Passport’s “James Bond” feature is perfect for those on the go. Rather than carry an extra Bluetooth accessory, you can use your Passport in the same way you would a Bluetooth headset. Surprisingly, I have noticed the Passport’s noise-canceling microphone and directional speaker are far superior to my Nexus 4’s built in microphone and speaker, which I often use instead of a Bluetooth headset. Even without the watch right next to my face I can hear the person on the other end clearly, and visa-versa.
The watch also allows you to put a figurative leash on your phone by warning you anytime you travel too far away from it. If it still manages to get away from you, the handy “find phone” feature will help you locate it once more. This feature has come in handy for me several times. Likewise, you can use the Martian Watch Alerts app to find your watch if ever it goes missing.
The application allows you to choose what applications are allowed to send notifications to your watch, and gives you the option to have your messages dictated to you via text-to-speech. Text-to-Speech will also dictate when your phones battery is low, which would be a useful feature if it were not for the fact it notifies you every time a percentage drops. If enabled, gesture controls allow you to reject incoming calls with a flick of your wrist. A2DP can also be enabled to allow music and other sounds from your phone to stream through your watch. Of course this will increase the drain on your battery so use sparingly. The watch’s battery is also monitored with the app, giving you no reason to let it die when you are out and about. Settings can be controlled from either the app or directly from the watch.
For those of you who are selfie fanatics, the Passport’s remote shutter function will give you a more efficient way to snap solo pics. Simply set your phone up where you want it, position yourself in the frame, navigate to “camera mode” on your watch and click the action button. If you want to capture multiple shots you can continue to click away for two minutes until you are satisfied. Alternatively, you can set up a two-second time delay by holding down the action button until the timer starts, giving you wiggle room if needed.

Pricing

Smart watches in the Martian Watch Voice Command series are a little on the pricy side at $249-$299 but in my opinion, the price is well worth it. Passport, and Victory watches are all available for the higher price tag of $299, and the G2G watches are slightly lower at $249. Considering designer wristwatches often go for similar prices and do not include nearly as many features, I would say they are quite the bargain. If the price is still a little too rich for your blood, consider holding off for the Martian Notifier, which is expected to be available in Q2 2014 for $129.
Replacement bands are available for $20-$30 each. Silicone bands are available in a variety of colors and can be purchased for $20 each; replacement Victory bands are available in three colors and are $25 each; black and white leather bands and  stainless steel bands are $30 each.