Epic’s new products reject the trend of smartwatches acting as an extension of your smartphone, instead providing fully-functional cellphone replacements on your wrist or around your neck. The Epic Signature Edition and Epic Mini are currently seeking funding through Indiegogo.
Epic has approached the smartwatch a little differently to most recent releases in the category. Its devices are designed to directly replace your smartphone, with the ability to make calls, receive text messages, take photos, run apps and even browse the web.
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Not having to tether a smartwatch to another device is certainly not unheard of, Samsung’s new Gear S watch offers that functionality. But it goes against the current crop of Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch, all of which act as an extension of your smartphone rather than a replacement for it.
There are two variants of the Epic product available, with one taking the form of a watch and the other designed to be worn as a necklace. The watch, known as the Epic Signature Edition, is designed to mimic a traditional time piece, much in the same way as the circular-faced Moto 360 and LG G Watch R place a stronger emphasis on fashion than their square-faced competitors.
One potential problem with Epic’s effort is its attempt to fit a square display inside a circular bezel. The body of the wearable may look more traditionally watch-like, but we can't help but think the square display looks misplaced and is visibly jarring.
The necklace version of the product, known as the Epic Mini, fares a little better. You can change the wearable’s chain or lanyard to suit your personal taste, while the product itself looks like something Sony might have produced five years ago.
Epic’s wearables feature a 1.3 MP camera and support microSD cards up to 32 GB. They run on Java OS (which the company believes treads the line between functionality and compatibility with streamlined hardware), feature built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and can reportedly run for 72 hours on a single charge. There’s a 1.74-inch 320 x 220 LCD display on the Mini and a 2-inch 320 x 240 panel on the Signature.
The Epic Signature Edition and Epic Mini are currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, which aims to raise US$50,000. You can pledge for the smartwatch for $249 and the smart necklace for $220. If everything goes to plan, they’ll start shipping in February 2015.
Have a look at the Epic pitch video below.