Best Of CES 2018: Self-Charging Matrix PowerWatch X

The latest revision of the PowerWatch X makes a convincing argument for the future of wearables being charger-free.

This year's iteration of the Consumer Electronics Show saw the introduction of a wide variety of wearables designed by everyone from established tech giants and startups to fashion brands, making the competition for the most prominent such device demonstrated at the annual fair tougher than ever. One particular invention still managed to capture the attention of both reviewers and curious consumers who found themselves surveying the many halls of the Las Vegas, Nevada-based trade show, having been introduced by Matrix in the form of the final version of the PowerWatch X.

On the surface, the PowerWatch X appears to be a relatively straightforward smartwatch, offering functionalities like activity tracking and smartphone notifications in a simple, rugged form factor. Beneath its monochrome display is a lot more complex set of mechanisms that allow the wearable to run on one's body heat alone, being able to convert it to electrical energy for recharging its integrated battery. While the concept has been around for decades now, with even Matrix's own original invention being funded on Indiegogo in late 2016, the new revision of the PowerWatch X is significantly more versatile than the prototype that raised over $1.64 million through the crowdfunding platform.

The wearable showcased at CES 2018 can not only connect to your Android or iOS handset to share tracking data with it and relay its notifications but will also be able to let you know about the latter using a vibration motor, a module whose inclusion is unprecedented in the context of self-charging devices. Given how the PowerWatch X utilizes a relatively traditional thermocouple, its implementation of the technology that provides it with fitness tracking, Bluetooth, and vibration capabilities is a major step forward in this segment that nothing else in the industry is able to mimic. Perhaps more importantly, the device itself is extremely intuitive to use and just feels good, leaving an impression of a highly refined, consumer-ready product and not just a curious gimmick, thus definitely being worthy of the title of the best wearable of CES 2018.

The PowerWatch X obviously can't compete with contemporary Android Wear and Tizen OS-powered devices or other such wearables in terms of the scope of its functionalities, yet its commercial potential is still immense as it successfully manages to address one of the biggest gripes consumers have with this kind of gadgets by eliminating the need to ever worry about recharging it. Standalone Android-based apps and GPS are certainly great features to have but they won't do you much good if your connected watch is dead and is yet another thing that you need to recharge on a daily basis. As such, the PowerWatch X is as accessible as a wearable can be and coupled with its rugged design, it's convincingly advertised as the ultimate activity tracker, being a device meant to serve you instead of constantly requiring your attention just so that it counts your steps, burned calories, and unread messages. Matrix will start shipping the newly demonstrated revision of the self-charging smartwatch later this month and is still offering the gadget for pre-orders at $249.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]