We've already gone hands (wrists?) on with the Pebble Steel and Neptune Pine smartwatches this week at CES 2014, but earlier this week we caught up with Martian, makers of an incognito smartwatch that lets you use Siri and Google Now on your wrist. With its latest version, the company has added custom vibrations for notifications, ditched the voice control, and dropped the price. Read on, as Gizmag checks out the new Martian Notifier.
Like the voice control Martian Watch, the Martian Notifier doesn't advertise to the world that it's a tech gadget. On the contrary, it looks almost completely like a regular watch, save for a small horizontal screen on its face. That's where you see those notifications, which have replaced voice control as the newer model's bread and butter.
What's that you say? Every damn smartwatch under the sun already does notifications? Well, we won't argue with that, but the Martian Notifier does add a new twist. It lets you customize your own vibration patterns for each different type of notification.
So if you have your arms full of groceries, the pattern of vibrations you feel will let you know right away what kind of notification just came in. Long-short-long? Just an email, no rush. Short-pause-short? That's a text, might be the one you're waiting for. You customize the patterns for each type of alert and instantly know what type of notification is coming in without looking at the watch.
Smartwatches in general keep you from having to look at your phone so often – but the Martian takes that a step further and keeps you from even having to look at your watch so often.
Like several other smartwatches, the Notifier also lets you choose which apps to receive notifications from. Get swamped with emails and prefer to only get alerted to, say, texts and calls? No problem. Another nice perk is that you can also now scan your history of notifications. So if you're in the middle of a conversation and miss an alert, you can check back a few minutes later to see what it was.
The new model continues Martian's trend of eye-catching designs. The band is made of plastic, and will be available in several different colors (including blue, red, orange, black, and white). A classic analog ticker dominates the watch's face, making its smarts known only to those who look very closely. Those beans are spilled by the 96 x 16 pixel OLED display that sits at the bottom of the face, with a classic winder and two buttons living on the sides.
Though the lack of voice control takes away what I considered to be the standard Martian watch's killer feature, the Notifier takes something else away that you'll probably find more appealing: it's going to ring up for just US$129. That's a full $170 less than the voice-control version, but it's also the cheapest of all the major smartwatches we've handled. If you're looking for a budget notification-focused watch, it's going to be worth looking at next to the $150 standard Pebble.
You can't buy the new model just yet, but Martian says the Notifier will ship sometime in Q2 2014.
Product page: Martian NotifierView gallery - 6 images