My smartwatch experience


For more than a year now I’ve been using various CASIO watches. I’ve gone from a G-SHOCK GA100, through an AE1200W (known as the Casio Royale) to my current one, the F-91W. I was very happy with my little dumb watch and I had some concerns about getting a smartwatch. For example I didn’t want to charge it, I also needed to have an always-on display.

Some time ago I decided to order the PineTime. It’s an open-sourced (both HW and FW) smart watch by the Pine64 community, running an nRF52832. I mainly ordered it out of curiosity and with a goal of trying to write my own firmware for it (which I haven’t attempted yet). I ordered the sealed version. I never intended to wear the watch. They were just out of devkits, so I planned to unseal it when I got it. But when it came, I figured it would be shame if I didn’t try using the device.

I chose to stick with the preinstalled InfiniTime, although I upgraded it to the most recent version. I also installed the GadgetBridge app on my phone and had the watch connected to my phone all the time.

Straight out of the gate I found it annoying that I didn’t have an always on display. I tried both options of auto-wakeup, but I found them to be either too unreliable or too sensitive. In the end I disabled both of them and just settled for the double-tap wake, which was good enough. Another feature that disappointed me were the notifications. They don’t support czech characters and they were often cut off after a seemingly random amount of characters.

I really enjoyed the ability to control music from the watch, since the gestures on my headphones are not really comfortable to use. The screen’s brightness is good, although I would appreciate an auto-brightness feature. The folks behind InfiniTime really did an awesome job with optimizing the battery usage in my week of test usage, I didn’t have to charge even once (in fact, as of writing this, the battery is still at 23 %). It also feels very powerful to tap something on your watch while walking around. It reminds me that the future is here.

Despite all these advantages, I returned to my beloved F-91W. I really like the design and the always-on display is just too much of a deal-breaker for me. Perhaps I should explore eInk smartwatches instead :>

As always, you can tell me how wrong I am using my public inbox.

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