Qualcomm's venture into the smartwatch arena, dubbed the Toq, was unveiled a little over two months ago and is finally taking pre-orders to ship in 1-2 weeks. We have been watching with great anticipation for this, yet another, smartwatch - up to now, the only intriguing one is the Galaxy Gear. Yes, the Pebble has been around awhile, and Sony released their new Smart Watch (SW2), but only the Galaxy Gear has really made consumers stand up and take notice.
However, Qualcomm's Toq, appears to have stuck a real balance between simplicity, user experience, and power. We decided to list the top 5 reasons to buy a Toq smartwatch. With its proprietary operating system that works with Android devices and its Mirasol Display that is always on, yet its long battery life, and wireless charging, it appears to be an intriguing entry into the smartwatch category.
1. Mirasol Display
This type of display, used on Qualcomm's e-readers shown at the CES, does not actually transmit a colored display, but simply reflects the light and the display back at you...it actually is easier to see in the bright sunlight, due to the intense reflection. When inside, using ambient light, the display is actually harder to see. The great advantage to this type of display is that it uses very little battery power, extending its life for days in between charges. Always on, colored display, that uses very little battery - a perfect combination for a wearable device.
2. Battery Life
You have to love the battery life - one that can be measured in DAYS rather than simply HOURS. When you have a wearable device, such as a smartwatch or Google's Glass, you do not want to have to keep recharging the device, however, because the wearable devices are so small, so must be the battery. When you are wearing your smartwatch, the last thing you want to do is watch the minutes tick away and worry about your battery. Having 2-3 days of service between charges really makes a great difference.
3. Always On
You have to love anything that can be "on" all of the time - I hate to have to "wake-up" a device to see what is going on, especially a "watch." When you wear a regular watch, you want to roll your wrist over and look at the face to get the time, not push a button, not shake your wrist back and forth; you just want to LOOK at it and see the time or notifications...instant gratification, and the Toq provides this feature.
4. Wireless Charging
I am a sucker for wireless charging - I hate to plug my smartphone, tablet, or any device into a plug. You are forever reaching down to grab the wire (which inevitably falls to the ground) and then the microUSB plugs are not the easiest thing to plug into in the daylight without looking, let alone the dark...although the USB 3.0 plug on the Galaxy Note 3 does make it easier. Give me a tray or stand I can simply lay the device in and let it suck the life back into it, rather than sucking it out of me. Qualcomm, cleverly, used the same charging "pad" for the wireless headsets as well, making it very convenient for the user.
5 - Compatibility
For a product to be successful, you need it to be compatible with a great many devices - one of the Galaxy Gear's shortcomings - and Qualcomm's Toq will work with any Android phone running 4.0.3 or higher, and at last count, that is about 72-percent of all Android devices. The Toq is designed with tech conscious people in mind, and anybody that cares about high-tech will have an Android smartphone running over 4.0, so anybody that is interested in using their Toq with their device should be covered.
6- Bluetooth Stereo Headset
OK, I know I told you there would only be 5 reasons, but I had to throw in a sixth - I also love all things wireless (see reason 4) and the whole reason of a wearable device is portability, and what better way to be totally portable and not have to rely on pulling your smartphone out of your pocket, than with a Bluetooth headset! If you are jogging, riding a bike, or even hanging on for dear life standing in a crowded bus, what easier way to answer a call without a lot of hassle. Not only that, but they will charge wirelessly in the same cradle as the Toq - yes, an extra cost, but depending on your lifestyle, they could be well worth it.
Let us know in the comments or on Google+ what you think of the Qualcomm Toq - at $350 (although it does come with a wireless charger dock) it is priced $50 more than the Galaxy Gear, which was thought to be overpriced by many. Do you think you will try out a Toq, or are you still not quite ready for the smartwatch frenzy.