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Wear Weekly: Weareal Brings Animated Charm to Your Wrist

January 29, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

There are oodles and oodles of watch faces available for Android Wear these days, and more of them just keep on coming to Play Store every day. However, not all of them are the same, and there’s a wide variety of different faces covering all sorts of different looks and feels. They all have one thing in common however; they’re all flat in their appearance. There are many watch faces out there that might feature 3D animations or mechanics more commonly found inside of a Swiss timepiece, but they don’t feel 3D, and they often deliver a flat-looking appearance on a smartwatch’s display. Weareal wants to do something about that.

A relatively new app to hit the Play Store, Weareal is a group of different watch face “models” that use the gyroscope inside of Android Wear watches to simulate light reflecting off of your watch face, and therefore giving it a more natural and realistic appeal. Right now, there are only a few of these models available in the app, and while the first one is free, the rest of them need to be unlocked via a single in-app purchase (whether this will include future watch faces is unclear). Some of them are of the simple dial and clock approach with little else beside the animated reflections, but there is one option that features simulated movements “inside” the watch face.

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I have to say that I’m not normally a fan of these faux-Swiss watch faces, but Weareal is a little different. Not only do they offer up a little more realism, but they don’t feature too much branding on the dial designs and they’re practical as well as they are good-looking. Each of them feature the ability to display your step count, battery life or (for some reason) the watch’s temperature. They all look pretty nice I’d say, but there’s certainly room for improvement with the app overall.

For instance, choosing a different model needs to be done by changing the watch face entirely, and the app allows you to add or remove these models from your watch. There’s no WatchMaker solution here, where one watch face can be one thousand different designs at the change of a setting. There might be a reason for this, and while I’m a big fan of WatchMaker, choosing these designs is a little easier and more familiar, at least on the watch.

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The animations here are more subtle than I thought they would be, and the watch faces are a nice mix as well, I’m partial to the Gold Airpower model, but I’m not sure how well I can pull off such bling day-to-day. Never mind my style shortcomings, Weareal is a nice mix that has a handful of decent watch faces on offer, and it’s certainly made me think of my Android Wear watch less of a wrist-mounted computer and more of a watch again.

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