After my review of MetaWatch STRATA, I was given an opportunity to review another MetaWatch smart watch model, FRAME. FRAME - Black (MW3005) – MetaWatch
When it comes to smartwatches, this year brought us a lot of interesting models trying to get ahead of anticipated introduction from Apple, Samsung, and/or Google. A lot of the people jumped into the pool of choices fueled by Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, most of them with a common thread of promising hardware and future software support. Others were already established companies, such as Sony. The only companies which had something actually delivered resembling a smart watch were Sony SW, Italian I'm Watch, MetaWatch, and Pebble. There were others, but I don't count notification icons of Cookoo or a minimum one line display of Martian as something suiting true sw functionality. Everything I heard and read about I'm Watch points in a direction of a great looking hardware with a next to impossible software config to the point where the only choice is to go directly through their own website to setup anything on that watch. Sony took it into a different direction of cramping it with tons of apps and smart watch functionality where OLED screen is off most of the time to preserve battery. Not sure if SW2 will change much, but will see. I already reviewed MW STRATA in the first post of this thread, while Pebble doesn't need introduction. I believe that both MW and Pebble go the idea of smart watch right, and were able to deliver it, although Pebble delivery time took way too long and in my opinion going mainstream with Best Buy is not the best move since by the time they will ramp up their production - everybody else will be releasing 2nd gen smartwatches. So that leaves me only to talk about MetaWatch which I use every single day, and which became a very important part of my daily routine.
That daily routine goes through a lot of cycles. To preserve battery life, both the phone and the watch, I disconnect it in the evening/night when I'm at home. But from the minute I get into a car - its on all the way! My phone is my navigation since I rely on Google traffic. Any incoming call, text, email, or schedule notification is just a quick glance on the screen of the watch which has a perfect visibility even in direct sunlight. No need to squint my eyes to see what's in my phone's notification bar and who it is from. Once I get to work, it's no longer an issue of forgetting to take my phone out of the car mount since I get reminded through out-of-range alert. At work, I put my phone on mute and keep it out of sight on my desk under a pile of stuff. Nothing gets missed because I always get notifications on my watch. Works also great during meetings where I can discretely check any incoming notifications. No longer do I need to keep phone on vibrate while in the movie theater, or to keep my phone hidden out of sight, or to control my music on bluetooth speaker connected to my phone without having a need to walk up to my Note 2 or to the speaker, all that while sitting in the pool
The disadvantage of my smartwatch? Checking it at work especially when I'm talking to someone makes them think I'm looking at the watch to tell them to wrap up the conversation lol!! Happened to me a bunch of times already where I had to explain the meaning of my constant gaze at the watch. The other disadvantage? A reaction I get when people see my STRATA watch and make a wise crack about my 90's looking "calculator watch". True, STRATA is bulkier but it also a fantastic watch in the outdoor environment, pool environment, exercise environment, or anywhere else where you wish you would have a rugged waterproof case for your watch. But in more civilized every day environment it will raise eyebrows with comments about its size and retro looking appearance. The solution - FRAME version of MetaWatch smart watch.
The description of the FRAME on MW website states "A classic look gets contemporary functionality, further blurring the line between fashion accessory and technology". Everything I have described in my original review about STRATA is still valid about FRAME in terms of the display, controls/buttons, and all the inner guts. But to better describe FRAME, I would correct that statement with "cutting edge technology gets a contemporary look". I tried to capture differences between FRAME and STRATA in my pictures below since in this case pictures definitely worth a thousand words. FRAME is thinner and a lot more elegant. With a case made out of brushed stainless still, all 6 buttons out of the same material, and polished sides - it weights a little more then STRATA with 2.8 oz vs 2.1 oz. It features the same mineral hardened, scratch resistant glass with anti-glare coating, just like STRATA. And adds a genuine 22mm replaceable leather strap. The watch screams class and is very appropriate for an office or a formal environment
But make no mistake, this is still one tough built watch with 3 ATM rating and every other tech spec of STRATA. Also due to the watch been thinner and narrower, it comes with a different version of charge clip, although still the same overall design. It comes with a premium price, but in my opinion the extra is well worth it considering a step up in the design.
I can only speak about MetaWatch now because that's my current area of smartwatch expertise. Both STRATA and FRAME have exactly the same guts and functionality, the only difference is in the external design details and the price. If you decide to go with MetaWatch smart watches, hopefully my write up and all the pictures will help you decide which one will suite your needs better.
Here are the pictures.