Tested: The Martian Notifier Smart Watch

Meet the stylish smart watch that hides its smarts.

The bulk of the smart watches out there are handcuffed to Google’s Android operating system since Google is pushing hard to pioneer the technology. But what if you have a non-Android phone and don’t feel like making the switch from your iPhone just to make a smart watch go? Enter the Martian Notifier, a bluetooth watch that doesn’t just look like something you’ll actually want to wear, it’ll also play nice with almost any phone on the market.

The Martian Notifier is a normal watch in most senses. It has an analog face, a very traditional rubber-strapped form, and keeps damn good time. It also happens to take all the notifications from your phone and deliver them to your wrist with relative discreetness, thanks to a small LED light (that you can turn off) and a vibrating alert function. When an alert arrives, whether it be a text message, an email, a Facebook notification, a calendar appointment, or any number of notifications you might get on your phone, the Martian’s watch face will scroll the sender and a clip of the message right to your wrist. It’s a capability that seems extraneous on first glance, but becomes preferable to constantly looking in your pocket just to see you’re getting some more spam in your inbox.

Most impressive about the Martian Notifier isn’t its good looks or its convenience, but its battery life. Charging off of an extra-long micro-USB cord, the battery has gone strong throughout a week of heavy use, and we credit the Martian’s smart strategy of letting your phone do the heavy lifting, thanks to a tethered, free app that sends info to the watch. The app not only lets you choose which services on your phone will actually create a notification, but also pick the watch’s independent options, like built-in alarms and toggling the leash functionality (where the watch will tell you when you’re out of range of your phone). Streamlined, intelligent design choices go a long way in making the Martian Notifier a worthwhile contender in a very tight race to make wearable technology something you’d actually wear.

If you’re into the idea of your watch and your phone playing nice together, but aren’t ready to take the full plunge of dropping a couple hundred bucks or looking like you’ve just travelled back from the near-future, the Martian Notifier is worth a closer look, especially at $129.

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