Cookoo Watch Review

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Sure, you’ve got an ultra-expensive watch, but is it smart enough that it could alert you when you have an incoming call? Yes, you have a smart watch, but can it last more than a month before you recharge it? So, your phone is connected to your watch and you can read everything on it; but aren’t you going to get your phone anyway rather than reading it on your teeny-weeny watch screen?

You will probably agree with me that these somewhat perplexing issues of smartwatches are grim and disappointing. As a matter of fact, although we find the Sony SmartWatch ingenious and nerdy, reading a content on your phone is still the preferred action when getting a notification rather than doing so on your watch. Simply put: a quick glance is enough; and this is what the Cookoo Watch offers.

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It was January 26 when we featured the Cookoo Connected Watch on the Big Time Show. I personally thought that it’s one of the best review products I’ve received, so Raf (one of my BTS co-hosts) and I took the initiative to talk about it on the show.

Check out the episode below.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPV3hnIq73s[/youtube]

Cookoo positioned this gadget as a connected device rather than a smartwatch. Successfully funded as a Kickstarter product in July 7, 2012, the Cookoo Watch is marketed as the ” first REAL watch that connects with your smartphone, keeps you alerted, and unlike other smart watches, DOES NOT NEED TO BE RECHARGED!”. Beat that, Sony SmartWatch. It is a connected device rather than a smartwatch because it only displays notification icons – rather than displaying the whole content – on its E-ink display through Bluetooth 4.0 Low-energy connection.

Key Features of the Cookoo Connected Watch:

• Display Type : Analog for the clock. Digital for Connected Display.
• Watch Movement : Japanese analog movement
• Watch Material : Plastic casing, aluminium bezel, anti-scratch mineral glass with soft silicon band
• Case Diameter : 44mm
• Case Thickness : 16.3mm
• Bluetooth : Bluetooth® 4.0, Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth Low Energy
• Water Resistant : 5 ATM (Water tested to 50 meters. Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water)
• Warranty : 1 year
• Color : Blue, Pink, Silver, Black and White

I just can’t contain my excitement how cool this device this. I’m almost spoiling my review with so much positivity. Here’s a rundown of our experience with the Cookoo Watch.

Unboxing Experience:

The unboxing experience was unique; the retail packaging they used was purposely created as a bird house or feeder. I didn’t actually know this until I read it on their Kickstarter page. It thought that it was very clever, creative and nature-friendly. I simply snapped the sticker that binds the inner and outer plastic casing, pushed the inner casing out and removed the watch with white watchband from its stall.

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User Experience:

The watch is quite heavy. I did not get the chance to measure its weight, but it is not heavier than the Sony Xperia E Dual (116 grams). It’s neither like you won’t be able to lift your arms, nor lose your fashion sense when you’re wearing it. It’s heavy, but not “uncomfortably” heavy. Since it houses 2 batteries and other essential mechanisms that make this watch run, it’s heftiness is forgivable.

Watchband Line drawing

The basic retail package does not come with additional watchbands, but Cookoo Philippines is selling a Watchband Multipack (contains 4 colors + an installation tool) for only PhP2,200. The material they used on the watchband is a soft silicon band, similar to Sony Smartwatch’s strap. Putting it on my wrist and adjusting it to my desired tightness were very easy.

Measuring 1.73 inches (round face diameter), the Cookoo Watch’s clockface looks very elegant. The white markings that denotes hour on the watch face are evenly distributed. In my opinion, Cookoo limited the markings to ‘hours’ to preserve its elegance and professional design. You will not miss the crown (that small metal knob used to adjust the hands of the watch) because it’s big and “chromy”. The switches (light and connect on the left, command and mode on the right), which match the watch’s based color, are neatly placed on the four corners of the round face. Undoubtedly, the Cookoo Watch have the standard features of an analog watch.

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Here comes the best part: as a Connected Device, the Cookoo Watch can easily be paired to iPhone, iPod Touch or the iPad. Cookoo promised me that the connectivity application for Android will become available in March. With the COOKOO App, you can receive notifications for the following:

  • Incoming calls
  • Missed calls
  • Facebook messages and posts
  • Calendar reminders
  • Your device is out of range
  • Low battery on iPhone or iPad
  • Alarm and Timer alert
  • Taking photos (by using the watch as remote trigger)

According to Cookoo Philippines, notifications for SMS and Mail will come on the next application update in the last week of February or 1st half of March 2013. I neither have the iPhone nor the iPod Touch so I connected the watch to my iPad. Connecting is straightforward; it only took me 5 actions to pair the 2 devices:

  1. I downloaded the app, Cookoo Time to Connect, on the AppStore.
  2. Switched on my iPad’s Bluetooth.
  3. Opened the Cookoo app.
  4. Pressed and held the lower left switch of the Cookoo Watch until I heard a ‘beep’.
  5. Tapped the Connect button on the iPad until I heard another ‘beep’ on the device.

The COOKOO’s COMMAND button can be customized to do the things you want to do…

  • Check in: be the first to check in on Facebook
  • Tag a location: tag your current location on the COOKOO App’s map—later you can add notes, pictures, and even share your map with others.
  • Take a picture: use the command button as a remote for your phone’s camera—perfect for taking group shots!
  • Music remote control (Play, Pause, Skip)

During my test, whenever I got notifications on my iPad, the watch simply sounded off (a pleasant beep) and vibrated. If you’re a fan of customizing stuff, don’t expect that you can “mod” or customize its sound and vibration intensity. There is nothing you can do on that aspect.

There is no need to recharge this watch as this uses CR2032 battery for its analog clock, and SR626SW for the connected display. This feature saved me a lot of time and money as I didn’t have to charge this every two days. Take that, SmartWatch. When you get this device, it can keep on beeping and vibrating for every notification you receive for 9 – 12 months. CR2032 batteries are easy to find, but you may have to do some extra effort in finding SR626SW batteries.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Just a tip!”]Button cell batteries like the SR626SW can be found on Sulit.com.ph. For instance, Seiko has that kind of  battery model with a battery code number 377.[/stextbox]

Verdict

I must admit that I loved the Sony SmartWatch but I grew tired of charging it every one or two days. Reading and watching something on my watch felt nerdy on the SmartWatch, but it did not give me the satisfaction I wanted. As a matter of fact, it even came to the point that I found my watch too cumbersome. I realized that I never actually needed a nerdy watch. The Cookoo watch triggered such realization, and for the first time in my life, I finally got what I really wanted: analog and digital at the same time; elegant yet style-compatible; connected but not complicated.

The Cookoo Watch, although filled with praiseworthy features, also have some drawbacks:

  • The icons displayed are not too visible on direct sunlight
  • Incompatibility with Android devices (until March 2013)
  • The built-in light isn’t too bright.

On the scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being the highest – I’m giving this watch a score of 8.

Pricing and Availability

The Cookoo Connected Watch is available at Cookoo Philippines’ Facebook Page for only PhP5,500 during its promo period (1st 50 orders). It will revert to its SRP of PhP6,500 after the promo period.

Widget City is also selling this watch for PhP6,500.

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