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Apr 16, 2014







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Eine kleine wrist music
Strap on that MP3 player and rock

By John Andrews jandrews@hippopress.com



You’ve seen the new iPod nano by now, right? Little square bugger, touchscreen, clips to your clothes. It didn’t take long for enterprising accessory makers to realize you could just as easily clip it to a wristband and create what might be the world’s most entertaining watch.
Or is it?

This latest iPod does music, photos and FM radio. Like the previous nano model, it also features a pedometer and compatibility with Nike+ products for fitness freaks. There’s no camera or video support — which is probably just as well on the 240 x 240 pixel screen, but what if you want that, huh? You’ll have to look elsewhere.

Fortunately there is no shortage of media players in the wristwatch form factor. While none can claim the Apple cachet (or even the 16GB capacity of the $179 iPod nano), they do offer a different set of features and styling that might be more to your liking.

A quick look at some favorite China-direct consumer electronics sites like ChinaVasion.com and UXCell.com turns up more than a dozen different styles of media player watches. One claims to be “The Original MP4 Player Watch as featured on tech news all over the internet.” While that may or may not be true, it does offer 8GB of storage for a little over $50, a third the price of Apple’s $149 8GB nano. The screen is the same 1.5” diagonally, but only a quarter the resolution at 128 x 128 pixels, so your album art won’t look as sharp; video, while supported, will probably not give you any kind of cinema thrill. The screen has no touch capability, so all control is accomplished through four teeny-tiny buttons on the sides.

In the $70 range you have the Ultimate Style and High Fashion watches, with metal bands rather than rubber. The latter is explicitly a men’s model, but ChinaVasion shows it on a female model anyway, because, I don’t know, those Chinese girls just love having their pictures taken with technology products? Ultimate Style has a built-in speaker and both bump the screen resolution slightly to 160 x 128 pixels.

If you really want to dork out, you have to upgrade to the watches that also function as cell phones. Obviously you’ll want to pair them with a Bluetooth headset, and probably stereo Bluetooth headphones for the best music performance. Most have microSD slots rather than built-in storage, but do come with awesome names like Gauntlet, Galactus, Penthouse and Assassin for maximum airport security hassles.

The Galactus, for example, features not only audio and video playing features, but also a video/still camera and a touchscreen. Of course, you’re expected to use a wee stylus rather than your grubby fingers, but as the product description says, it is “Great as a spy watch!”

At $128.15 plus shipping, perhaps Galactus is out of your reach. Why not step down to the Thrifty Watch Phone for only $73.12 (that’s the white one; the black one is 15 cents more)? You get most of the features of Galactus in a cheaper, uglier package!

Yeah, that’s why I don’t write their ad copy.






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