I recently had the opportunity to check out the Martian Victory Smartwatch. It’s been out for several months now, which allows plenty of time for bugs to be fixed so I thought this was a good time to take a look at it. Once I got it charged and updated, I swapped out my normal Pebble for the Martian. I wore it both on my days off and my days at work so I could see how useful it is in multiple atmospheres and here’s what I found:
It’s like wearing your Bluetooth earpiece on your wrist.
Surely it’s more than that? Unfortunately, it really isn’t. I really liked the watch and I really liked the functionality I could get to work on it, but at this point it is still so limited and glitchy that, try as I might, I had trouble finding a reason to spend that much money on it.
The big selling points of this smartwatch are the voice over functions, SMS notifications, leash, and its look. So let’s take a look at each of those features.
– The voice over function was excellent. I had far less trouble with the Martian’s voice over than I have with my simple Motorola Bluetooth earpiece. It ties into Siri and she actually seemed to understand me more clearly through the Martian than she does on simple speakerphone or my earpiece. I used it while driving and I was told that I sounded much clearer, so it wasn’t picking up a lot of additional background noise.
– SMS notifications were a bit different. When I went into the Martian settings on my phone, I could set a limit to the SMS notifications, but no more settings were available for that particular feature. I could add in notifications for Facebook, Twitter, Reminders, and Calendar if I wanted, as well as email notifications. I could set the configure sync, but it the lowest it would allow me to set was 3 minutes, so my alerts were not going to be instantaneous as with some. At first I thought this was fine until I was having conversations with people and getting buzzed for something said a while back. When it came to my actual SMS notifications, I never saw them on the LED display. IF I turned on the A2D2 setting, then I could hear the my text notification sound on the watch rather than my phone and I could have Siri read the message to me if I wanted. This notification also came through in real time rather than have the delay that I had with my other notifications. This was the best option I could find to get my text alerts via the Martian, which is not a good option if you are going to be out amongst people.
– The leash feature is something that more and more products are including as we begin to have more and more things tied to our smartphones. I think it’s a great feature to have because I’m a touch absent minded. The leash for the Martian was simple: If I walked out of Bluetooth range, I’d receive a buzz on my wrist. If it hadn’t reconnected within 5 minutes, then it would buzz again (just in case I’d gotten distracted and forgotten to go find my phone). I think it only happened to me a couple times, but the feature itself was unreliable because the connection was glitchy. I’d be going about my day and realize that I had been responding on my phone and hadn’t received a single buzz or sound from my watch. I’d go in and find it had lost its connection and had to reconnect it. Sometimes the only way to do this was to make my phone forget the device and then re-pair the two. Like I said, connection was glitchy.
– The look of the Martian is its best feature for some. Right now, companies are more focused on function than appearance, which leaves some of the smartwatches looking somewhat childish or overly mannish for women to be able to wear. The Martian was a little bulky on me, but it just gave me a little bit more of a punk vibe. For a man, it would look like a rather classy watch and could be worn with most anything from suits to t-shirts and jeans. On look alone, I would consider swapping it out with my Pebble for days that I needed a better overall look to my outfit, though I hope some manufacturers soon manage to find a look that is more acceptable for women seeking to keep their overall appearance professional.
In addition to this, one thing to always check on tech toys is the battery life. With moderate use, I got it to last for two full days. This included my limited notifications and about 3 voice calls on it. Hopefully this is something that can be improved in new models.
Updating the watch was a little more difficult than many other devices, which can manage to do their own updates over Wifi or even a cellular network. The Martian required you to go into the update setting on the watch and then plug it in to your computer to run a file that you had to download from their own website. Definitely not something you can take care of while you are out and about
Overall, do I like the Martian? Yes, I do. Would I pay approximately $300 for one? No. The price is simply too steep for the limited functionality. It’s essentially a glorified headset that happens to be worn on the wrist. However, while I wouldn’t purchase one myself at its current price, I would consider it if the price dropped considerably. I would just wear it based on what kind of day I’m going to have.