The Alcatel OneTouch Watch smart watch was presented in January of this year at CES 2015, where it became the object of close attention. Firstly, because, having rich functionality, it belongs to the budget segment. Secondly, they can work not only with Android smartphones, but also with devices running iOS. Manufacturers of wearable devices often ignore Apple products. But watches from Alcatel based on their own OS may well become a budget alternative to the Apple Watch.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch specifications
- Screen: IPS, 1.22″ (3.1 cm), 240x204, capacitive
- Compatibility: Android version 4.3 and above / iOS 7, iPhone 4S and above
- Protection from water and dust: IP67 standard.
- Processor: STM429, 180 MHz
- RAM: 256 KB
- Wireless interfaces: Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC.
- Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, altimeter, heart rate sensor.
- Battery: 210 mAh, non-removable
- Dimensions: case thickness — 10.5 mm, dial diameter — 41.8 mm, strap thickness — 3.5 mm, strap width — 20 mm.
- Strap length: S – 109.2×41.8×66.74 mm, L – 119.2×41.8×75.74 mm.
- Weight: 55 grams
The watch folds into a compact red box. It features a white version of the watch on one side and a black version on the other. The watch itself is immersed in thick foam rubber, occupying two-thirds of the box.
The remaining third is occupied by a small red box with documentation and a USB cable. The cable is similar to OTG, that is, it has different male and female USB connectors. It allows you to charge the watch from the mains using an adapter from any local device. This is much more convenient than charging them, for example, from a laptop.
Visually, the case can be divided into two parts: the round frame and strap mount are made of stainless steel, the bottom cover is made of plastic. The bottom is painted black and has a matte finish. The strap is made of thermoplastic polyurethane. The round dial is covered with protective Gorilla Glass.
The watch is available in two-tone versions — white and black. The editors included both, but for the test, for purely subjective reasons, the black one was chosen. Why? Well, the black version looks better, the strap doesn’t get dirty as quickly, and the display seems larger.
Despite the round dial, the surface of the working surface is not round — in any case, it has a cut that serves as one of the controls — the “Back” button. The black version has a black border around the display, the white model has a white one. The border has ten strokes and two numbers: 6 and 12.
There is a metal power/lock button on the right side surface. From the bottom and top, metal fasteners for the strap protrude from the flat round surface.
There are four screws along the corner of the rear panel that hold the case together. In the center of the bottom there is a transparent plastic insert, under which there is a heartbeat sensor.
You can also find four more screws (two on each side) securing the case to the strap. The strap is not removable and cannot be replaced. A metal clip clasp is used to secure the strap to the wrist. It connects both parts of the strap together.
To expose the USB plug, determining the charging time, you need to slightly break the “tail” of the strap. While wearing the watch, the plug is “immersed” in the groove at the end of the strap and is not noticeable.
The absence of easily removable elements turned the watch into an almost monolithic lamp, which does not care about dust or moisture. OneTouch Watch is protected from environmental influences according to the IP67 standard: you can safely wash your hands, take a shower, walk in the rain, swim and even dive, even if not deeper than a couple of meters.
The clasp securely fixes the bracelet on the hand, however, there are a number of complaints about it. Firstly, the optimal size strap can be installed only by removing the watch from your hands. Precisely adjusting the bracelet turned out to be a rather tedious process — I had to take the watch off and put it back on ten times. Although it only took five minutes, the classic hole strap fits within seconds. The second complaint is that the clasp, before adjustment, constantly “bites” and painfully pulls the hair on the wrist. There are no such problems with a classic strap. The choice of a clip clasp is justified by the fact that the watch should fit very tightly to the hand for more accurate operation of the heartbeat sensor. A metal clip clasp allows you to set the required size with a distance of up to a millimeter, while a strap with holes does not provide such freedom. However, after a while the unpleasant sensations from the strap settings go away, and you simply stop noticing the watch on your hand.
OneTouch Watch is equipped with a color 1.22-inch IPS display with a resolution of 240x204 pixels. The density is 258 pixels per inch, the capacitive sensor reads no more than one touch. Fortunately, the interface here is very simple, and multi-touch is not needed. The sensor is responsive and reliable. As for the “Back” touch button under the display edge, you don’t need to look for it in the black field of the edge itself. Feel free to press the number “six” on the dial — the sensor is located right there.
The screen is memorable; you don’t have to look at the sun, looking carefully to see the time. The image is rich and contrasty, closer to warm tones than to cold ones. Of course, when you replace the watch face with a corresponding image from the smartphone’s gallery, it turns out grainy, but in the watch interface itself and in standard themes everything looks organic, and pixelation is invisible.
Difficulty level three — high, medium, recommended. The corresponding icon in the menu is responsible for the adjustment; each procedure on it changes the intensity level by one point.
In addition, the composition can change the color scheme. The changes, however, are not very serious — the white color in the icons changes to black, which turns out to be a kind of negative. The settings also allow you to change the watch face and wallpaper. There are three dials to choose from: classic, minimalist (direction only) and digital. Standard images (24 of them), single-color wallpapers (16 colors to choose from) and any picture from your smartphone’s gallery, be it a photograph or an uploaded image, can be used as a background.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch runs its own control system. Its interface is extremely simple and clear. It translates into a horizontal menu of 10 icons, the function of which has an obvious, understandable function without connecting. The first icon can be called “Weather”: the watch, using the smartphone’s Internet connection, will find out the weather forecast for five days and show it to the user. The next icon is “Fitness”. Information about your daily activity is collected here: the number of steps taken and calories burned, mileage and descent time, information about sleep phases. This information is completely duplicated in the company application. “Heart rate monitor” (everything is simple here) and “Running in a circle” received a separate icon, where time, speed, distance and number of steps are calculated separately for each circle. Next come “Stopwatch” and “Remote player control” (turn on, switch tracks, adjust sound), “Compass”, “Switch control” (on the watch you can remotely turn on the camera and press the shutter button), “Select a watch face”, “Search for a smartphone ” (if necessary, the smartphone starts to emit a loud beep), “Turn vibration on/off”, “Airplane mode”, “Brightness adjustment” and “Change color in menu design”.
All interface control comes down to a couple of gestures. Unlocking the screen occurs using a button or a simple gesture where you raise your hand to see what time it is. Enter the operation menu in the center of the screen. Navigation through the menu occurs by swiping right and left; scrolling of icons is not cyclical. Received notifications can be viewed by doing this gradually up the desktop. You can go back one level in the menu by pressing under the edge of the display. That’s the whole interface. On the one hand, this is a strong interaction with the watch, but on the other hand, if the watch does not understand you when you tell it “OK, Google…”, it is also not so “smart”.
The OneTouch Move companion application does not have any additional settings in its arsenal. All you can do in the app that you can’t do on your watch is set an alarm, change the watch face wallpaper, select the interface language, set a time to turn off the screen, turn off notifications about incoming calls and the “lost” warning. In the latter case, the watch will begin to vibrate as it moves away from the base device.
The application interface consists of five tabs (steps, calories, path, time, sleep), in each of which the user can view detailed information about daily physical activity. The same as in a watch, only in more detail.
The device in operation
The STM429 microcontroller based on a 32-bit ARM Cortex M4 core operating at a voltage of 180 MHz is responsible for the computing processes. The amount of RAM is 256 KB. The available computing power is quite sufficient for fast and smooth operation of the simple Alcatel OneTouch Watch interface. Weak hardware certainly limits the performance of the watch, but significantly reduces the battery life.
To connect your watch with a smartphone, you need to download the OneTouch Move application, register and create an account in the application. The first connection occurs using Bluetooth or NFC, and automatically when the watch is in open Bluetooth connection mode. To “untie” the watch from the device, you need to use the corresponding option in the settings menu of the companion application.
The design of the watch does not require an external speaker or microphone. Of the signal stimuli, only vibration is present. It’s quite strong, but not annoying. Its drive does not allow you to adjust the operating time of the interface, nor the companion application, vibration can only be turned off.
The watch displays notifications for email messages, various instant messengers and social networks. The maximum message length is 10 lines. Then there is an ellipsis, meaning that you will have to finish reading this long longread on your smartphone. The watch also warns about incoming calls, which you can either reject or remotely switch your smartphone to silent mode.
The gadget has a 210 mAh battery. Considering the undemanding nature of the processor and screen, this volume is enough for two and a half days of work. Moreover, we worked for so many hours under high load. This means that they were always connected to the smartphone and applied many different methods to it throughout the entire time of use. Notifications were only turned off at night, but instead there is a sleep tracker that is manually activated on the watch. If you turn off notifications and vibration, the Alcatel Watch can last three and a half, or even four days. It takes about 40–45 minutes to fully charge the device from a laptop.
The Alcatel OneTouch Watch will definitely find its buyer, as this device has serious potential to combat the rising costs of competitors like the Apple Watch. For reasonable money, you use a “smart” watch that can last two to three days without recharging as a companion for a smartphone (which in itself is already a good result), a fitness tracker and a heart rate monitor. The metal body is not afraid of dust and water. They offer a wide range of functionality (less than Android Wear, of course, but quite decent), and are compatible with most Android and iOS devices. Good value for money makes the Alcatel OneTouch Watch an excellent choice for those who want to get acquainted with such smartwatches. And, most importantly, do not be disappointed in this acquaintance.
- strong metal case;
- dust and moisture protection according to IP67 standard;
- long battery life;
- built-in heart rate sensor;
- simple interface of Alcatel’s proprietary OS.
- Otsu connection of applications for OS from Alcatel;
- lack of replaceable straps;
- small selection of watch faces.