It was just a few days ago that Alcatel announced its own budget entry into the smartwatch game, looking to undercut several comptetitors, while being able to work on both Android and iOS. We were able to get some hands on time with it at CES.
Alcatel’s Watch (that’s not a typo, it’s just called the Watch) feels better built than you might expect from a $150 device. You’d be forgiven if you mistake it for a Moto360 at first glance; it’s a mostly circular display (it even has a similar cut out at the bottom, like the 360) rimmed with aluminum. Honestly, it looks better than most Android Wear watches.
That said, look closer and some budget aspects start to show. The screen is a super low resolution and only takes up a small portion of the watch’s face. The rest is rimmed with hour markings that dont do anything more than decorate the device.
You also won’t get any fancy leather straps, and they dont appear to be interchangeable (the representative on site wasn’t able to confirm).
That said, Alcatel is touting the fitness-tracking abilities of the Watch, which can measure your steps, sleep and heart rate (I couldn’t test these as the device was tied down). There are also a number of other apps on tow, such as a remote shutter, a weather app, music controls and more. And of course, you’ll get your notifications.
Navigating through the interface wasn’t exactly smooth – the frame rate was very low – but at least it was responsive to my touches. You can return to the homescreen or cycle through your apps by simply tapping on the bottom portion of the screen, which actually turned out to be a convenient way of navigating through the watch.
With the smartwatch future increasingly look like a continuation of the Apple vs. Google war, it’s good to see some manufacturers going cross-platform. The Watch won’t be the fanciest thing to show off to your friends, but it’s built well for its price. If it works well in the real word, Alcatel could create itself a nice little niche.