Standalone Burg smartwatch lets you call and text from your wrist

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The Burg lets users place calls, send messages and more, right from their wrist

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The Burg 12 smartwatch from lifestyle designer Hermen van den Burg allows users to make phone calls, send messages and more, without the need to connect the device to a smartphone.

With wearable technology gaining some momentum in 2014, we’ve seen a wide range of smartwatches. While devices like the Asus ZenWatch have square displays, others, most notably the Moto 360, opted for a circular display instead. The Burg 12 attempts to combine the two concepts, putting a square display inside a circular dial. While the resulting aesthetic isn’t quite as disagreeable as the Epic wearable that we saw back in September, it’s far from our favourite smartwatch design.

Looks aside, the display here clocks in at 1.5-inches with a 240 x 240 resolution, giving it 226 pixels per inch. There’s 4 GB storage on board alongside a microSD reader, letting users expand storage up to 16 GB.

The watch runs its own proprietary software (usually not an encouraging sign), and gives the user access to call and text functionality without the need to pair it with a smartphone. The standalone abilities extend to calendar, calculator, MP3/MP4 player and radio functionality, and there’s even a camera on board (with an undisclosed resolution), allowing users to take, view and send snaps from their wrists.

The device ships with a US$25 prepaid SIM card. Interestingly, the standalone Burg 12 can also connect to any iPhone or Android smartphone, though it isn’t clear what added benefit this brings.

Standalone functionality isn’t a brand new concept for smartwatches – Samsung’s Gear S allows the user to place calls, send messages and even browse the web while a paired Galaxy phone sits at home.

The Burg 12 doesn’t appear to be nearly as refined a product as Samsung’s device, but it does have one thing going for it: price. The smartwatch is available now from Walmart, shipping for US$199 (just remember that you'll need to pay for its own line after that prepaid SIM bottoms out). It’s available in black and purple, and comes with black and purple straps, with additional interchangeable straps and bezels available.

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