- Sports, news, instant messages, and more--delivered wirelessly to your watch face
- One of the first devices to use MSN Direct, a wireless subscription service
- Automatically updates to the correct local time when you travel
- Customizable data channels and watch faces
- Syncs up with your Outlook calendar
It's a great idea, and, for the most part a great product: a watch that keeps time with atomic clock accuracy and displays useful, timely information. The Smart Watch gives you stock prices, news, and weather, and personal messages, all right on your watch face. You get all that stuff on your cell phone already, right? But the idea of the Smart Watch though is that it offers this information in glanceable form, and on a device that is always at hand. Simplicity and unobtrusiveness are key--you can rapidly navigate through all the different types of information quickly, and immediately read your text messages the moment they arrive with a discreet little beep.
MSN Direct is the subscription service that broadcasts data to the Smart Watch via an FM signal. The first thing you have to do when you get your watch is set up an account and customize your information channels. It's a fairly quick process, though you have to jump through a few Microsoft hoops (like getting a .NET Passport). Immediate gratification junkies should be warned, however, that you most likely won't start getting any data until about 12 or more hours after set up. Also, the channels are very much a work in progress--the news I was getting initially had a random quality to it, but more recently the watch's timeliness has compared favorably with CNN.com in breaking major stories.
The need to recharge frequently--a single charge will last two to seven days, depending on usage--has some users unhappy, but for me it is a non-issue. You charge the watch by simply placing it on its cradle, so if you set the cradle up wherever you stash the watch at night, the watch will always be charged.
There are a few real drawbacks, however, most prominent (literally) being the size of the watch, which is on the humongous side of fashionably chunky. Another downer is the strap which is hard to close and, since it contains the watch's antenna, tends to spring open. The most serious complaint however is that reception can be sporadic--there were entire days that I got no new data at all. When MSN Direct improves service--and it has shown signs of doing so since the watch launched--they will have a truly revolutionary product on their hands (and the nation's wrists). --David Stoesz
- Geek factor is through the roof
- Intuitive navigation
- Recharging is a snap
- It's HUGE
- Coverage can be sporadic
- Strap is unwieldy