Sunday, September 24, 2017

Verizon Wear24 Smartwatch: It Takes the Custom Out of Android


Android smartwatches are not nearly as popular as Google and Apple once hoped they would be. Both companies put forth major investments and effort into that category back in 2014 and 2015. But frankly, smartwatches are more of a “cool” accessory then they are a “must have necessity”.

So while many device manufacturers you’d expect a newer device to come have decided to concede to the lack of sales, Verizon has finally decided it’s time to give it a go. It came out of nowhere. There were no leaks, no rumors.  that could have helped us see this coming, and from Verizon nonetheless. 

I’m going to be a little untraditional, and I’m going to start with the bad. Because the bad, is bad. Bad enough that it is definitely a deal breaker.


I own a Moto 360 2nd generation Android wear 2.0 smartwatch (that’s a mouthful, i know) One of the most common features I use on my watch is to read and reply to text messages. And its because of the beauty of Android, I can use any text messaging app I want from the Google Play Store for text messaging and still accomplish this task. But you can’t do that with the Wear24.

You see, Verizon has their very own text messaging app. It’s pre-installed on every phone you buy from them. And it’s pre-installed on the Wear24 smartwatch. But the one major difference is that on the phone you can still choose a different text messaging app, and on the Wear24 smartwatch...well, you can’t.

So you see, unless you use the Verizon app, you won’t get to use their new Wear24 smartwatch at all for one of the biggest, most popular reasons why anyone would buy a smartwatch...text messaging. I just can’t get over that. 


Another mark in the not so good column goes to the watch band. While the main housing is available in 3 colors: stainless steel, black, and rose gold. The watch band is either blank or pink, AND, it’s not interchangeable. We’ll get to the reason why in just a minute. Most all other smartwatches allow you to intermingle the main housing with the watch band options, or even buy your own and pop it on there. 

Some have quick release pins for this purpose, and others have very hard to remove pins, both provide options. But the band on Verizon Wear24 smartwatch is a scenario where you're stuck with what you get. This is because the Wear24 has an LTE radio inside and the antennas are in the band itself. So you see, if you remove the band, you quite literally break the LTE functionality.

And what can  you do with the LTE functionality? How about make and receipt phone calls on speaker phone. Leave your phone behind and still get text messages. And Although it only has 4GB of memory which doesn’t leave much room for music to be stored locally, with the LTE built in, you can still listen to some tunes while on the go.

But LTE radios always wreak havoc on battery life. The Wear24 has a 450 mAh battery and it always died before i was ready to take it off to go to bed. So it always left me hanging the last few hours of the day.

The charging speed was neither fast nor slow. Of course, if was full in the morning if left to charge overnight. The charging dock wireless and very reminiscent of a Moto 360 dock. If you ask me, that's so much easier than magnetic charging pins that you’ll find on LG or Huawei smartwatches.

Overall, I just can’t get over the fact that Verizon is trying to force their text messaging app down a customer's throat. Android is meant to be open and custom, but with limitations such as this, and the fact that the battery leaves you wishing you could squeeze a few more hours out of it, i just cannot recommend the Wear24 smartwatch to any of my friends. There are better watches out there for the $350 price tag. No, those others won’t have an LTE radio, but the fun of talking on speaker phone through your watch just isn’t really worth putting up with this watch. 


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