AirOn Element - watchphone in a steel case
Probably, the AirOn brand is still not very familiar. In a nutshell, there is the Ukrainian company AirOn, which produces electronic books under the AirBook brand and AirOn watchphones. If readers are on sale today even a dime a dozen, then watchphones still remain exotic gadgets. And there are no competitors to AirOn watch phones that could be bought in Ukraine so far. That's why they attracted my attention and aroused the desire to share their impressions of a personal acquaintance with one of the family of watch phones - Element. The gadget combines the capabilities of a watch and a phone. Therefore, if available, you do not need to wear a watch on your hand and you can not take a phone with you at all. You can use the watchphone as a second device for a pair with a smartphone. Then its modest functionality will not be a hindrance. Well and in the end
Options and accessories
Let's start with a description of the packaging of the gadget and its configuration. The gadget is packaged in a black cardboard box, which, in turn, is packaged in a white cardboard cover. In addition to the branding, there are a number of labels on the packaging: Made by AirOn, UA UCRF, IMEI, GSM 850/900/1800/1900. Without opening the box, we learned that the gadget was made by AirOn, prepared for import into Ukraine and operates in four GSM bands that are used by domestic mobile operators. The production date is also indicated (mine on 06/28/2012).
The box contains in addition to the watch phone, which is fixed on the cushion, a USB cable, an adapter from USB to a power plug, headphones, a back cover, it is also a battery, and an instruction manual, it is also a warranty card. Headphones are connected to the microUSB connector, which is very pleased. Indeed, previous models only had their own “proprietary” connector. Therefore, you can not use the usual "ears" with the clock. The cover is original - the battery is fixed directly on it.
User manual in Russian. It is written briefly and clearly. True, part of the information is of dubious usefulness - in particular, the section "Troubleshooting". For example, if “The photo is too dark”, then in the comments the following “External lighting is too dark”. Not otherwise Cap himself helped prepare the instructions
Despite the fashion for accessories, except for the little things that were included in the kit, the manufacturer still offers nothing more. The same situation is with the first models of watch phones - there are no accessories and there are none for them (for example, protective films). In the event of the loss of complete headphones, you will most likely have to look for a replacement from the manufacturer itself. Since the watch phone does not follow the fashion for smartphones, then the lack of additional accessories should not be written to it in the "cons".
The first thing that impresses, after the original form factor of the gadget, is the case. It is made of steel. This is written on the back cover, although this is already obvious. The quality of the case does not cause the slightest doubt - it gives the impression of reliable and durable. You can even say that the case looks (and feels) as monolithic. None of the phones that I saw can compare in strength with AirOn Element. Well, you need to feel it yourself - in words it is difficult to convey. And what can we say about expensive smartphones made of plastic ...
The only removable part is the cover. Under it are hidden slots for microSD cards and SIM cards. The battery is mounted in it. Another thing is interesting. Under the lid, as on the box, there is a UA UCRF label. This label does not guarantee that the phone is in the white list of Ukrchastotnadzor. A check on the organization’s website showed that the IMEI of the watchphone is included in the database, which means that there will be no problems with disconnection and it is an official, not a “gray” product. However, it would be strange if the situation were different - because we are dealing with a product of a Ukrainian company.
The strap made of rubberized plastic also deserves praise. The material is less pleasant to the touch than genuine leather. A leather strap is equipped with another company watch phone - Nox. The main thing is that the strap looks solid and reliably fixes the watchphone on the hand. And thanks to the flexible mount design - both on a large and fragile arm. Reliable fastening will not allow the lock on the strap to be unfastened even with sudden movements of the hand.
The watchphone is noticeably larger than a regular watch. Both the case itself and the strap. The main thing is that wearing a watchphone is not strained. Weight of 110 grams is almost not felt on the hand. Although, at first, it is somehow unusual if a person does not constantly wear a watch. Speaking of watches. The screen of the watchphone is not large in comparison with smartphones, but it is comparable to a regular watch. Therefore, using them as a watch is quite convenient. Unless you need to remove the gadget from sleep by pressing a button, but since you do not look at the clock often, it does not bother.
Recently, smartphone manufacturers are increasingly focusing on the technical superiority of their devices over previous models and competitors. The processor in this model is twice as powerful as in the previous one, etc., etc. AirOn goes the other way and does not attract buyers with impressive performance characteristics. So the watch phone does not have a 4-core processor, a graphics accelerator and an integrated nuclear reactor. Support for 3G and the fresh (third) version of Bluetooth is striking. Well, the current version of Bluetooth guarantees the connection of any modern headset. And support for the A2DP profile will allow you to listen to music in the appropriate wireless headphones.
A watch phone cannot be compared with modern smartphones by such criteria as a display. Against the background of 4 and 5 inch "shovels", the watchphone seems to be Gulliver in the country of giants. However, the small display is its “plus”, and not “minus”. After all, the gadget turned out compact and light. And not all phones can boast of this. With a diagonal of 1.5 inches, the display has a resolution of 240 by 240 pixels. The touch screen is resistive and serves as a key control element.
The analog clock on the screen is clearly visible, largely due to the contrasting design theme. The menu is visible normally, although small elements, for example, a virtual keyboard, when typing SMS can be read with difficulty. And to make them out, you have to bring the gadget closer to your eyes. If we talk about behavior in the sun, then there are no problems. Everything is seen. In the dark - even more so. Viewing angles are not satisfactory. Well, the color saturation of the display, although not the same as that of smartphones with super AMOLED displays, is quite sufficient.
In addition to the screen, two buttons are used on the side panel. They play the role of the “Receive” or OK and “Reset” buttons. In addition, they play a special role inaccessible to the touch screen. The buttons turn on / off the gadget and put it out of standby mode. In addition, there is a USB connector for connecting to a computer to upload music there or in the opposite direction to copy the pictures taken.
Previously, the camera on AirOn watchphones was located on the side of the “watch”, which made it possible to shoot unnoticed by others. Now the camera is located above the display, like a laptop webcam, with a resolution of 1.3 megapixels. She has good shooting opportunities at her own values: the choice of image resolution, white balance (6 presets), exposure adjustment, etc.
The gadget’s internal memory is quite a bit - about 1 MB. Therefore, if you want to listen to music or shoot something on the camera, you need to use a microSD card. Its volume can reach 32 GB. The instructions indicate that music and videos should be uploaded to special folders. The main thing is that when filling the card to the brim, the phone does not start to slow down, as it happened with old phones. Hot swapping is not provided because the slot is covered by a battery.
The main difference between this watchphone and the first models of the Ukrainian company is the software shell. It seems that it was completely redesigned, because it is significantly different from what the first models had. The menu began to look more simple and attractive. Menu items with understanding of the case are divided into categories. Therefore, almost from the first minutes of acquaintance with a watch phone, you understand how to use key functions. Although some minor things are lost in the menu, and finding them right away may not work. Icons and captions for them look nice, but not so with the latest versions of leading mobile operating systems. Some events are accompanied by funny, a bit old-fashioned animation, such as the arrival of new messages. Everything, in general, is normal, but there are several problems. First of all, these are the difficulties that accompany text input. The characters are very small and typing SMSs is not convenient, you need to resort to using a telescopic stylus, which is stored on the strap of the same watch phone. Signatures in Russian are not always placed in the space allotted to them and there are abbreviations such as "Multim_", "Earpiece_", etc. Such flaws in the menu are not encouraging.
The software capabilities of the Element watch phone are almost the same as the usual standard mobile phone - it has all the basic features. Dialing with a numeric keypad. There are speed dial features. They also did not save on operating modes. There are 6 of them, including Headphones and Bluetooth, and each one can be configured in great detail. For example, choose different melodies for the alarm clock and for the call. As befits a phone, AirOn Element has a contact book. The manufacturer’s website says that there are "1000 cells for recording contacts." The manual states that there are 200 contacts you can store on the SIM card and 500 in the gadget's memory. Where the exact figure I did not check. But even 500 cells will be enough for almost everyone. Each contact can only be assigned a name and phone number. There is also a calculator, calendar, notes, world clock, etc.
I will cite the multimedia capabilities of the watchphone from the manufacturer's website AirOn:
Audio support - MP3, WAV, AWB
Video support - 3GP, MP4
Photo support - JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG
You can watch the shot or video. Again, the concept of the watchphone does not provide for its active use as a multimedia gadget. In this, he can not compete with conventional smartphones. However, he is not called to compete with them.
Weak autonomy is probably the main minus of good smarts. Moreover, with an increase in the power of the iron filling and the size of the displays, it began to manifest itself more clearly. The owners of such gadgets who use Androids will agree with this). Producers openly do not recognize the problem .... but the battery capacity is increased.
Regarding the Element watch phone, the manufacturer claims that the talk time is 3 hours and the standby time is up to 250 hours. That is, theoretically, for 2-3 days the battery charge should be enough. So far I haven’t had time to check, I just “disperse” the battery. I also note that since the watch phone is in front of my eyes in the afternoon, it is almost impossible to miss the battery discharge. After all, the gadget will signal in advance about the need for recharging. Conveniently, it can be charged not only from the network, but also from the USB-connector.
The unusual form factor of this device may surprise more than the beautiful numbers in the specifications. One way or another, one must understand its purpose before buying ... or not buying. For example, a watch phone can become an additional phone to a smartphone in cases where it is inconvenient to use a regular smartphone (while jogging, fishing, driving, hiking, etc.) or to service a second phone number when you don’t want to carry around second handset. In addition, due to its uniqueness, AirOn will appeal to people who are interested in original things. What you can’t refuse to the watch phone is its originality.