Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Product review: iLepo Andriod Smart Watch Phone

My husband was an early adopter of smart watches, he got a Pebble smart watch when it first came out. Unlike Pebble watch which needs a phone to communicate with the world iLepo watch is a self-contained Android device and does not need to be paired with a phone to work.

It comes with a reasonable set of applications designed to look good on its small screen. I also downloaded a few of my favorite apps using Google Play. The apps responded quickly and the touch screen is very responsive. However, the keyboard is tiny and even though it is possible to type on it, it is fairly easy to make mistakes. The watch can be paired with various bluetooth devices using a built-in app called "wireless input devices". I was able to a pair a bluetooth keyboard and headphones without any problems. I include a short clip of pairing and using a bluetooth keyboard in my video.

The performance of various apps on the watch are good. I was able to browse, use Google maps, take photo and video, read mail, look at my calendar, set alarm, record sound, and yes, it also tells time. The quality of the sound is very good, the microphone is excellent. In my video you can hear a short segment of music recorded with the watch. It sounds great!

The screen resolution is excellent and it easy to see. By comparison with Pebble which uses e-Ink the screen contrast of this watch is much better and of course it has color where as Pebble is black and white.

The watch comes with 2 gig micro SD card already installed. It can be replaced with a larger card if needed. It also uses micro SIM cards. Both cards reside in a small compartment closed with tiny screws. The package includes a tiny screw driver needed to open the compartment that holds the battery and the micro cards.

Peeble can run 4 days on one charge because it uses eInk display which is very efficient. This watch needs to be charged daily. I timed the battery use in this watch:
Start ........... full
24 hours later....55%
48 hours later....empty

The battery app shows battery usage as follows:
wifi used 30%
cell phone 30%
display 30%
media 5%

The set up is pretty intuitive. The first thing I did is turn on WI FI. This is a two step process, first you need to turn it on, then click on WI FI again and then it will show you the available networks and allow you to log in.

The screen is touch sensitive so one would navigate the options just like the would on the phone. The botton button on the watch allows you to go back.

To charge the phone one needs to use a special charging station which has contact that line up with the contacts on the back of the phone. The charging station is charged by a micro USB cable. I would have preferred that the phone was either Qi enabled or charged directly with a micro USB cable. If the charging station is lost or gets broken the watch cannot be charged. If the watch had a standard charging cable would have made it easy to charge on the fly or in the car without worrying about losing the charging cradle.

This watch exceed my expectations based on the experience with Pebble. For a balanced review I also want to summarize the things that I found awkward

(1) As I mentioned earlier typing on a small keyboard without typos is difficult. Stylus helps. A bluetooth keyboard helps, but not always possible to use.
(2) Taking photos and video with the watch on my wrist is difficult (the hand gets in the way). I take the watch off if I need to take a photo. I think of it more like always having a camera to record an accident or capture some information, so taking the watch off when I need to take a photo seems like a reasonable compromise.
(3) The size of the watch on a woman's hand looks, well, large. Its face is 1.75" x 1.5", the band is 1" wide, and it weighs 3.15 oz. It does not feel uncomfortable, but it is bigger than a typical watch. I included an image of it on my wrist in the video for size reference.
(4) Tiny screws and tiny screwdriver are a bit hard to work with. The package includes a few spare screws (thank you!) as they are easy to lose.
(5) Having a separate charging station is a negative. One more thing to lose or leave behind. I would have preferred a direct Qi charging or micro USB port.

Overall, the watch works well and I like it more than Pebble.
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

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