When I tested the iconBIT Callisto 100, I was extremely skeptical about smartphone watches. Firstly, it is not very clear for what purpose they are needed, and secondly, it is difficult to imagine normal Android operation on such a small and low-power device. There were also doubts about their autonomy. Imagine my surprise when the device first grabbed me from the head, and then completely paralyzed the work of the entire office for two hours. The replacement watch-smartphone exceeded all expectations.
|IPS 1.54″ (240×240) multi-touch backlight
|Dual-core 1.2 GHz (low power consumption)
|Android 4.2 (Jelly Beans)
|4 GB, microSD support (up to 32 GB)
|GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA: 2100 MHz
|IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
|GPS, G-sensor, Bluetooth, electronic compass, speaker and microphone
|54 x 45 x 14 mm
|Li-Ion, 3.7 V, 600 mAh
At first glance, the device looks very simple: a black rubber strap, a fairly thick marsh-colored metal case, a pair of black buttons and a peephole camera on the right side.
But as soon as you activate the screen, the clock screensaver appears and the device is transformed. iconBIT Callisto 100 has eight screensaver options: 2 digital and 6 original, which look especially good.
On the left edge of the watch there is a metal cover-compartment for the SIM card and a microphone connector. At the base of the strap, on the side closest to the side, there is a speaker slot, just below there is a small thickening: the GPS antenna is hidden there, a little higher, still in the same strap, is a Wi-Fi antenna.
Due to the inclusion of bright elements on the case and thanks to the discreet design of the iconBIT Callisto 100, they look quite strict and from a distance they can generally be mistaken for an ordinary watch. In my opinion, this is a plus, since others will not perceive you ambiguously, ask unnecessary questions or cast sidelong glances.
Intellectually, the watch may seem heavy and uncomfortable. But this feeling disappears immediately as soon as you put the watch on your hand. A fairly soft and pleasant rubber strap with light loads allows you to comfortably fix the device on your hand. Even after wearing it all day, I didn’t experience any discomfort, even though my regular watch is much smaller and lighter.
The control buttons are quite large, they are easy to feel and are unlikely to be confused. They press with a noticeable stroke and response, there are practically no accidental presses. After several weeks of use, my only complaint is the lack of lid adjustment buttons. Although they were not needed very often, we wouldn’t mind.
Since the lens camera is located on the right side, the watch should only be worn on the left hand. Otherwise, you’ll be shooting for hours to get the shot. But even on your left hand, they bend your wrist strongly so that your hand does not get into the frame.
Gesture controls on the screen are surprisingly smooth, so the lack of hardware Menu and Back buttons isn’t a hindrance in any way.
Special mention for the charger. Unfortunately, you can only charge the watch by installing it in a special plastic key. There is no standard charging connector in the watch case, although there is enough space for it. This is not very convenient, because, firstly, it’s impossible, the keys get lost and need to be carried with you periodically, and secondly, the hardware buttons close during charging: look. case, it won’t work. It’s good that charging takes no more than an hour. In the latest firmware, the problem has been partially resolved – you can enable the option “do not turn on the screen while charging” in the display.
In addition, I note that since most of the time the device’s screen is turned off, to view the time you need to press the power button, therefore, compared to a regular clock, this process takes an extra couple of moments. The delay when turning on is completely insignificant and it is not annoying.
Preparing for work
Before you can begin to fully use iconBIT Callisto 100, you need to configure a number of operations. First, you need to insert the SIM card. To do this, you need to use a small screwdriver from the kit to unscrew the screw holding the slot cover, then insert the microSIM card there and screw the screw back.
Next, you can install a microSD memory card. The slot is located under the battery in the watch case. To get to it, you need to unscrew the 4 screws that hold the back cover of the device, remove it, take out the battery, insert a flash drive (a 64 GB card worked for me without any problems), and then put everything back together in the reverse order.
Once the physical operations are completed and the device is charged, you should go through the standard Android smartphone setup process. The first confusion arises when a tiny qwerty keyboard appears on the screen, with which you first need to enter your Wi-Fi password, and then your Google account information. I begin to collect other letters and numbers on the screen and am surprised to discover that the process is not at all hopeless. Yes, you have to accurately check every movement, but the touch screen is very sensitive and accurate, so although it is slow, the data is entered correctly. Of course, you cannot do without typos, but there are not as many of them as one might think. After completing the initial setup, a full-fledged Android smartphone appears in front of you with several tables, a curtain and other familiar elements – it’s very unusual to see all this on your wrist.
Our test sample ran Android 4.2.2. The interface, although familiar, is still slightly improved, and quite successfully. The first change is navigation. Swiping to the left from the right edge of the screen performs the “Back” action, swiping to the right from the left edge is responsible for calling up the menu.
To adjust the display, you need to hold down the power button and use the on-screen buttons in the menu that appears with the usual “Disable” and “Offline mode” options.
There is no menu of widgets and applications; all programs are located directly on the desktop. Icons can be combined into folders, but no more than three each. The desktops are scrolled in a circle, with 4 icons or folders placed on each table. You won’t be able to use widgets without a separate launcher.
The settings menu has been completely redesigned. The settings are combined into several simple and clear items, making it easy to navigate on a small screen. As a minus, you can add the deleted item “Accounts and synchronization” – only the item for adding a new account is left. You can change account settings or delete it only from the menu of the application that works with this account, for example, from Gmail.
To do this, you can change the font size in the system in the component – I immediately suggested a larger option, and it became much easier on the eyes.
To make calls perfect, a non-standard but very convenient “dialer” with an extended Smartdial is used. A big hello to all smartphone manufacturers, if this technology is missing or implemented in such a way that it is better not to use it, quickly finding a contact and calling him on Callisto 100 is really convenient.
But there is one unpleasant moment in the program for exchanging SMS. If you start a new conversation, a keyboard appears on the screen, completely covering the input field: you cannot see what you are typing. There is no problem if there is at least one message in the correspondence. It can still be solved using the side keyboard, but that’s a separate conversation.
In general, you can select text on a standard keyboard, but not a long one. The ideal scenario is to quickly answer something like “Yes/no,” “I’ll be there in 15 minutes,” or “I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back.” Such texts are created perfectly. In addition, those present will also take advantage of voice dialing. For faster messages, it is better to use another phone or just call – it’s faster.
In addition to the above-mentioned clock screensavers for locking the screen, several very nice desktop wallpapers have been added to the shell. One of these pictures resembles a familiar background with Apple laptops. It looks good on the watch.
A slight shock from using the device was the speed of the interface. I would never have thought that an Android watch could perform better than most smartphones and tablets on this platform. Everything just works.
Device in operation
A full-fledged smartphone in a watch is, of course, great. But can it be used as a regular phone and what other scenarios are there?
Let’s start with something simple, with calls. There are two options here: the first is you use the built-in speaker and microphone, the second is a Bluetooth headset. In the first case, no problems arise: you can hear perfectly, the interlocutor can also be heard loudly and clearly, although sometimes there is an echo, which occurs when the speaker volume is reduced. The downside of the second connection is that you need a wireless headset, preferably stereo. But with its help, you can also listen to music or watch videos on headphones (during the test, without any complaints about the working connection with the Sony SBH-50). There is no other way, since there is no audio jack on the device body. Without a headset, you will be walking around like a would-be spy who can hear everyone around you. With a headset there is no difference compared to a regular smartphone.
The situation with mail is very similar to the same with SMS: you can receive notifications, view letters, download attachments and even eat, but it’s better to wait for a short time. The difference from SMS is that, for example, in Gmail, when reading and scrolling through a letter, there is practically no space left on the computer screen; it is occupied by elements of the application interface.
The iconBIT Callisto 100 copes with music with a bang. I immediately installed my favorite PowerAmp player, which perfectly reproduced any formats, all interface elements fit on the screen. MX Player worked just as smoothly when watching videos (yes, you can watch a movie on the watch!). I had two movies on my memory card in files of 1.5 and 2 GB, both of them played and rewound without problems.
Typically, the clock can be installed and used in almost any application from Google Play, without requiring screen resolution. The main thing is that the interface fits. Facebook and Facebook messenger, Yandex maps and the players mentioned above worked fine for me. As a result, they are not as fast as on modern smartphones, but they work very quickly.
I also managed to play Fruit Ninja without any problems. The process is funny and awkward, but it’s good for experimentation. “Birds” did not start, but since playing on a clock is not very interesting or convenient, it’s not worth tuning in.
The watch also has a browser, and it works. Looking at full-length pages on a screen is a dubious pleasure, but you can quickly find the necessary information. The main thing is that the sheets are easy to load, scale and appear even on heavy sites. There are no problems with mobile versions themselves.
iconBIT Callisto 100 has an IPS multi-touch screen with a diagonal of 1.54 inches and a resolution of 240×240 pixels. Color reproduction is good, viewing angles are poor, even though the picture fades a little when tilted. Overall, it’s hard to find fault with this screen. Everything that can be seen at a resolution of 240×240 is visible and quite readable. I really liked the way the touch layer works. There is no automatic brightness control sensor, but its reserve is impressive. It is also expected that there will be no oleophobic coating, but since the screen is covered with scratch-resistant glass, fingerprints are easily wiped off using the “old-fashioned” method, i.e. sleeve.
Yes, I would really like the screen size and resolution to be larger – but in terms of the dimensions and weight of the device, as well as during battery life, this is clearly not in the direction of deviation.
Basically, this design should only be used by people who are bad at promoting themselves, as they will not be able to use the phone without glasses.
There was also room in the smartphone watch for a 3 megapixel camera. She can take photos and record video, but most likely only in emergencies. The fact is that while the watch is on the wrist, to take a picture you have to bend your hand downwards, without covering the lens. After this, you need to cut all the light onto the object you are shooting, and only then take the shot. If you take the watch off your hands, turning the viewfinder 90 degrees relative to the lens will be inconvenient – it will be difficult to compose the shot.
During the day you can get good pictures, but in poor lighting conditions the pictures are not very good. Also, you should not shoot objects close up: the frames will come out out of focus.
On the first day, I took off the watch and recharged it at exactly 14:00 and tried to use it the way I usually use a smartphone: synchronization of two accounts via 3G (about 3 hours, including an hour in the subway) and Wi-Fi (about 8 hours) is always on. 20 minutes of calls, 10 SMS, 3 hours of listening to music via Bluetooth, plus about 30 minutes exploring the interface and installing the program. All this time I received various notifications, which I viewed through some checks. 11 hours after turning off the power, the watch had 27% charge left. Synchronization and all communications were turned off overnight, except for communication with the network – during this time the Callisto 100 was discharged by another 3%. After that, I turned on all wireless interfaces and synchronization again, and listened to music for another 30 minutes. The remaining 24% flew away in just under 2 hours. In total, we got 20 hours of work, 13 of them in relatively active mode.
Then the idea was born that a 2G connection is enough to receive the password, which can save battery. The watch was removed from charging at 12 noon and worked without problems until the night of the second day. Synchronization was enabled all the time and connected via mobile Internet or Wi-Fi. I also listened to music for about three hours. This time there were no calls, but all Mail and messenger notifications were actively viewed, and the “Airplane” mode was switched at night.
Also, iconBIT Callisto 100 can be used simply as a watch, without a SIM card, to receive and receive notifications when receiving Wi-Fi (in my case, at home and in the office). In such scenarios, the device is discharged by only 15-20% per day.
To summarize, we can say that the main charge hog is the cellular communication module. It significantly drains the battery both in 2G and 3G modes, and if data is being transferred at the same time, the percentages can disappear before our eyes. No other tasks, not even the screen, require this amount of energy. If you use the watch as your main phone, count on one day of daylight. If you only need access to the network occasionally, then the watch can be charged once every 3-5 days, depending on the frequency of use.
The main thing to say in this section is that the watch works great with the network. Reception is reliable, just like with regular smartphones. Wi-Fi keeps the signal level stable and does not fall off, the same can be said about the operation of the Bluetooth module. GPS also works flawlessly. So, if we compare iconBIT Callisto 100 with conventional smartphones, then in terms of wireless communications, complete parity is achieved.
The clock rings quite loudly, but most of the time I tested it in silent mode. It’s hard not to feel the vibration, but it’s unobtrusive and doesn’t strain at all when messages pour in one after another.
Instead of results
The iconBIT Callisto 100 smartphone watch is implemented at its best in almost all protocol uses, proving that it can compete with regular smartphones that we carry in our pockets and bags. The only question is: can they be a full-fledged replacement for the usual smartphone?
iconBIT Callisto 100 allows you to put your hands down and not waste time trying to get your mobile device out of your pocket or bag. This watch-smartphone is well suited if you usually only use your smartphone to make calls and support notifications, and if your large device with a display is a tablet or laptop.
There is a possibility that the gadget will appeal to those who play sports, but want to be in touch all the time. In combination with a headset, you get a portable phone, player and tracker in one bottle, plus no wires, light weight and no need to store it in your smartphone pocket. Children, especially boys, will definitely like this watch. You can play and tinker with them endlessly. iconBIT Callisto 100 can also be a universal lifesaver for students, allowing them to quickly find something on the Internet or view prepared cheat sheets in advance. This number is unlikely to work in technical universities, but it can be very useful for humanists.
And one more thing: dear ladies, pay attention to this device when looking at a gift for your beloved man in February. If you give him iconBIT Callisto 100, then your “baby” is guaranteed to be as happy as a “masik”!
Answering the question whether such a device can completely replace a smartphone, I will say that probably not. As the main mobile device, the iconBIT Callisto 100 is most likely suitable for desperate gadget lovers, rather than ordinary users. But as a second device, a watch-smartphone may appeal to many (most of the time I used it that way).
- full-fledged smartphone;
- thoughtful shell;
- stable work;
- strict and universal design;
- low price.
- non-standard charging connector;
- the screen is small;
- weak camera.