The Martian Envoy: A Smartwatch for People Who Hate Smartwatches

The Martian Envoy: A Smartwatch for People Who Hate Smartwatches

The Martian Envoy isn't like other smartwatches. At first glance, you wouldn't even be able to tell it's a smartwatch. Rather than being fitted with an AMOLED or LCD screen, the face is just analog like any regular watch. It has an hour, minute and second hand that can be adjusted by twisting the chrome crown on the watch's side. The watch's 1.65-inch circular face isn't digital, but rather is a dial with a jet-black carbon fiber pattern bordered by tick marks. Its bezel features numbers that increase in increments of 10, which surround the watch's scratch-resistant mineral glass.

So what makes the Envoy a smartwatch? At the bottom of the watch face, you will find a 0.7-inch OLED readout, similar to a scrolling LED ticker you may find on Times Square or on the stock trading floor, just much smaller. Here is where you can read notifications, messages or screen incoming calls. The watch is also equipped with other tech like a microphone, speaker and an accelerometer.

This smartwatch's 0.6-inch thick case is made of a strong plastic, but it doesn't feel heavy. It's large and masculine-looking though and would look strange on a petite wrist. Martian offers other smaller-sized watches catered toward women. We wish that the Envoy included a leather band rather than a silicone one, especially since it is in the same price range as other top smartwatches that have nicer leather straps. The included watchband gets dirty easily and looks a little cheap.

You pair the watch wirelessly via Bluetooth to your smartphone. It'll work with both iPhone and Android devices, but we tested it with an iPhone 5S. Since the watch face isn't a touchscreen, you operate it by using the two buttons on the watch's right side. The top button is used to enable Siri or Google Now for voice search and commands. The watch has a built-in microphone so you don't even have to speak into your phone. You can make and receive phone calls with the built-in speaker without pulling your phone out of your pocket, but the call quality isn't superb.

The watch's bottom button is used to scroll through menus; you can turn on Do-Not-Disturb mode or camera mode, which lets you use the side button to snap a photo from your iPhone's camera. The watch also has a find-my-phone feature that triggers an alert to your smartphone. You can press the button to display the time and date. This comes in handy at night, especially since the watch's hands don't glow in the dark.

Martian's line of smartwatches do not have as many apps as the Apple Watch or ones that run Android Wear. It's a bare-bones smartwatch that primarily is used to monitor notifications as they come in: whether it be an incoming or missed call, voicemail, calendar alert, email, or text message. Martian incorporated some cool features like giving you the ability to pick and choose the intensity of vibrations depending on the type of notification comes in. This means a text message can potentially feel different than a reminder for an appointment. You can also turn on a setting called Gesture Control that lets you decline an incoming call by lifting your arm and flicking your wrist back and forth.

The best part about this smartwatch though is its battery life. It actually has two batteries: One powers the smart functions of the watch, and you can get 3.5 days of use when the watch is paired to your phone. The other is a button cell battery that'll last you two years, so if you forget to charge your smartwatch you can still check the time. Other smartwatches are rendered useless when the battery dies, but not this one.

All in all, if you want a stylish-looking smartwatch that will almost surely fool everyone into thinking it's a regular watch, the Martian Envoy is the best smartwatch for you. It has fantastic battery life and is one of the few smartwatches with a built-in speaker. It's lack of a touchscreen is appealing, it's easy to use and it works well at keeping your notifications in check.

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