The first smartwatch from MetaWatch keeps you connected to your smartphone’s basic functions.
MetaWatch is a small company working out of Texas and Finland whose sole purpose is to reinvent the watch to be a stylish technical accessory. The Strata from MetaWatch was their first try, and for a starter product it hit the mark.
Introduced in 2013, the Strata smartwatch complemented the features of the wearer’s smartphone, while still being a fully functional watch. You get a lot of information with just a quick glance of your wrist, including notifications from your mobile phone. The face is customisable, using a variety of widgets and apps that can give you calendar functions and weather updates, but if you overload the device it becomes more difficult to use.
What does the MetaWatch Strata look like?
The Strata uses a sturdy watch design with a square face and rubber band. At 0.75 inches thick it’s fatter than other smartwatches but not too heavy when worn. The screen of the Strata is 96 x 96 pixels and uses a unique polymer network LCD. This gives the pixels the appearance of having mirrors behind them and turns the text black. The edges are easily defined with good contrast when viewed head-on, but can get fuzzy when viewed at an angle.
The battery life of the MetaWatch Strata is expected to last six days on average, and comes with a convenient clamp charger with a USB cable. It also has a 5 ATM waterproof rating, making it safe to wear in the shower or even swimming in up to 50m of water.
Features of the MetaWatch Strata
MetaWatch claimed that their smartwatch was compatible with both iOS and Android devices, but the Android support never really made it to fruition. Using Bluetooth 4.0 it does connect nicely to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You can set it up by downloading the free app from the Apple store, connecting the devices and enabling notifications.
From there it’s up to you how you wish to customise the smartwatch and its face using some pre-loaded widgets. These include weather, stocks, calendar and battery status. You decide which mobile alerts are sent to the watch, whether it connects automatically and how the date and time appear on the face. The face is modular, so you can set it up to show one widget, two on half screens, or four different ones at the same time.
You are sent a small vibration when a new notification appears, which may take a few seconds to be able to view. The watch gives you ample time to read texts and emails and will hold the last notification if you wish to read it again.
How easy is the MetaWatch Strata to use?
Honestly, it could take some time to get used to operating this smartwatch. With so many optional features, you will spend a good time scrolling through different screens to get to what you need. This is not much different to how you have to operate your smartphone, except on a significantly smaller screen. You can eliminate this problem by not activating widgets that aren’t essential to your day-to-day activities.
As a first attempt at a smartwatch, MetaWatch has the right idea. More recent versions show us that this was just the beginning for the company in designing wearable tech gear that looks great and has multiple functions.
The Strata is available for sale through the MetaWatch website and comes in black, blue, green, orange or blue with a camo styled band. These retail for USD$129. A bit larger are the Frame editions which come in either black or white and retail for USD$229. Although larger, these look more like a watch and less like tech gear.
The Strata is a functional smartwatch if you’re after one that gives you basic notifications but not much else. There have been others released since which are better equipped - but expect to pay for their high-tech features.
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