There are ample of smartwatches out there. There’s of course Apple Watch Series 2 (on which we wrote a detailed piece just yesterday), there are a couple of ones from Samsung, Asus, Motorola and then the rest. However, you’ve got to meet ‘Blink’, a smartwatch built out of a single block of stainless steel, powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, runs on 1 GB RAM with upto 2 days of battery life — all at just $195, coming out of India.
In my small interaction with the smartwatch (a video review is coming up later), I could easily give out a verdict — this is a watch which could give some serious competition to all the big boys out there. Blink has top of the line specs, state-of-the-art hardware, a modern, crafted-in-steel design and huge performance advantages.
However, it isn’t just hardware which makes this Indian product exemplary, it is this unique software — christened Marvin OS and developed by Blink’s team itself, which is damn simple to use, hyper interactive in nature and a breeze to use. We’ll get onto that in more detail, lets first start with the hardware.
Blink comes with full circular 1.39 inches dial, a 16.5 Million colour OLED screen, both topped up a slightly curved, Gorilla Glass 3. Witworks’ (the company behind this product) CEO Somnath tells me, that it took their team close to 4 months to bring about that curvilinear precision to the watch’s top surface.
Under the hood, Blink packs in a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor — the company hasn’t revealed the make, a 1 gigs of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. Powered by a 300 man battery, the watch can run upto 2 days without you required to go to a charging point. The battery life of course depend on the usage.
What’s interesting however, is how tis small team has been able to pack in a powerful speaker on top of the watch, which gives out an impeccable music experience, pretty much comparable to the audio quality of a medium-range smartphone. This is a feature, seriously lacking in a lot of bigger competitors, and could give some serious edge to Blink.
Powering the watch, is Marvin OS
The software part, as the team itself accepts, is what stands out the most in Blink. Its a highly sophisticated UI design, oozing simplicity and easily making it one of the best UI designs I have ever reviewed.
Essentially, Marvin OS is built over Android. However, apart from the kernel, they’ve stripped down this Google OS and coded their own, Blink watch specific features. However, since it is powered by Android, it gives Marvin the ability to integrate various native and 3rd party apps. This allows the Blink watch to run several stand alone functions ranging from playing music, tracking fitness regime and user authentication — all without dependency on your smartphone.
The OS currently comes in with a series of native apps and a few third-party apps. The team however does plan to release its own SDKs for developers to build their apps.
The watch currently comes equipped with 5 native applications (with plans to expand this suite of apps) that the team has designed, keeping in mind the need first access to critical information on-the-go. These apps are Music, timeline (which syncs your calendars, to-dos, reminders et al), Fitness (from your workouts and tracking calorie burns), contextual notifications and an OTP-based device authentication.
The watch has been crafted using a single block of 316L, top of the line stainless steel, making it a massively competitive product even when compared with the likes of Samsung’s Gear series and Moto’s multiple generation watches.
The team actually partnered with and consulted India’s biggest watch manufacturers (HMT, Titan etc.) to integrate their knowledge in design with the Witworks’ team’s modern design principles.
Interestingly again, the watch does not use screen based interaction and instead has opted for a unique, bezel touch interface. What that simply means, is that you do not have to swipe the watch screen every now and then, a simple touch across bezel would do. While this sound innovative and will keep the watch clean, I still have to test this to the utmost potential to give out verdict.
The watch retails at a ground-breaking, $195 with a promotional offer giving you further 10% discount. The company is in talks with Amazon for pre-bookings. The device is available in two colours — stainless steel black and stainless steel silver, each of which are further available in three variants — sport, classic and simply steel.
The watch starts shipping mid-November. You can go and order it right away.