Updated: Feb 5
When I saw the Matrix PowerWatch I was initially intrigued by this futuristic device on the crowd-funded website ‘Indiegogo’. I quickly decided to back the product and luckily, this was a contribution that actually paid off, as I received the watch. The MATRIX PowerWatch as they phrase is the “Smartwatch Powered by You”. This is because it never needs to be charged, which makes it sustainable. There are three options of the watch that is available, these is the standard version, Black Ops Special edition and the version I got the ‘X’. The PowerWatch X is the biggest of the watches and meant to be a tougher version with the bonus of being 200m deep water resistant. The main reason I went for the X model was because it is bigger it stated it generates more power, giving some additional features such as synced notifications.
Here is what you get in the box:
Firstly, the box seems well made and has an overall professional look, which actually looks like a product you would pick off the shelf in your high-street, so that is a good start. When you open the box you are greeted with the watch in all its glory with the following contents:
The Watch – Obviously!
Thermal Recharger – To charge it from a wall socket, as opposed to your wrist.
Microfibre – To clean the watch face
User Manual – To get you started!
Guide for the Thermal Recharger
The main reason I got this watch is because you never have to charge it making it sustainable. This is for two aspect, one it saves energy and two batteries are still incredibly poor and this is more so in smartwatches, which solves this problem. The ability to have your smartwatch on your wrist all the time without having to take it off and continues to work is great. The watch generates power through the temperature difference between your body heat and the heat of the watches case, which generates a charge to keep the watch powered. This essentially means you will not have to charge it, saving energy and the pollution that often comes with it. Additionally to this, it is 200m water resistant, which I haven’t tested that but it does work after going through the shower a few times and a quick swim. Finally, the watch has several modes for a number of function, these include:
Time, day and date mode
Daily activity –Details distant travelled and calories burned
Running – Tracks your time and distance
How does it looks:
As for the look this is usually rather personal to whoever will be wearing it. For that reason I have added a number of pictures. However, in my opinion it a solid metal design that looks hard wearing and rugged. The face clearly depicts the time, day and date, which is very useful. The watch feels snug on the wrist due to the rubber strap, which I assume will help with obtaining the heat difference on your wrist. The watch is clearly notifiable on the wrist, due to it slightly large size, which to some could be uncomfortable and difficult with long sleeved shirts. To me this is the main issue with the watch, its bulkiness. It almost seems bigger than what it looks like in the picture and is almost too big for most people’s wrists. Having said that I know chunky watches suite some people taste and like me the added benefit of a more powerful watch made it worth it.
Does it work?
Simply Yes, I have owned it for several months now and not had a problem with the battery life of the watch at all, so its main feature of being powered by you seems to be true. Additionally, it is easy to read the time, day, date and all other information on all the different modes. It also tracks your activity and gives you notifications when you achieve your activity goals. Further to this, the watch buzzes and gives a notification that clearly shows you have received a message and who it is from, which is a useful function. However, it lacks the ability to read the message or reply via the watch but for me meant that I did not have to pick my phone up, as often if I could see the message was not important to me.
The software seems simple enough and I didn’t have any troubles navigating it at first. However, I did have some trouble when it needed to be updated. If I had not used it for say a week and it needed an update, it struggled to do this and had several problems connecting the watch to the software (app) on my phone. Eventually, I had to remove the watch connection with my phone, delete the app and reinstall it all to get it working. I am hoping this is a small technical problem that the Matrix Company will be fixing shortly.
Now, I am not the biggest fitness fanatic but I do try to keep myself reasonably fit. Usually, for me this is a light weight workout, the occasional walk and I bike to my local train station. However, the Matrix Smart Watch fitness tracking only extends to a running mode. This times and tells you the distance of your run, which seems to be fairly accurate (in my test). This is then recorded on the app and can be compared to your friends and your past runs to track improvements. Unfortunately, this is quite limited and I hope they have improved this in the PowerWatch 2.
I love the concept of this watch but I still believe there are a number of issues that still needs a lot of work. Namely, the software, the amount of functions the watch has and the bulkiness of it. Smartwatches are often used for their fitness and health tracking, which is limited with the lack of sensors on the PowerWatch. Additionally, the watch is defiantly large on the wrist and in my opinion a bit too bulky, almost making it uncomfortable, so this is something to consider. Having said this the watch achieves its goal of not needing to be charged from a plug socket, it is water resistant and meets the requirements of a watch by telling you the time and has the added benefit of alerting you when you get a message.
Warning: I paid for this on Indiegogo about a year in advance, as they did not meet their deadline for delivery. Additionally, I had it for approximately 7 months and they have brought out the next generation. Now, although I am glad they have (I assume) improved the watch with enhanced features, better performance and arguably better looking but to me it is not fair on those who just purchased the previous version to make it outdated in such a short amount of time. For someone who likes technology and wants to have the latest and greatest it is rather disheartening when you support a brand for over a year and then be outdated within months.
Despite this being a 3rd edition of the watch and I was hoping most the kinks would had been ironed out I feel it still needs more work. Mainly due to its bulkiness, technical glitches with the software and lack of function (heart rate monitor, etc.), so for the PowerWatch X I would not recommend getting this version or any of the first generations. Having said this, I believe that the PowerWatch by Matrix are the only real smartwatch that has a unique sustainable element to it. Additionally, they have quickly produced their second line of the watches with the ‘PowerWatch 2’, which I have higher hopes for and fingers crossed will improve the issues with the first line, so don’t rule them out just yet.
Finally, I would not advise getting the watch or anything through Indiegogo, as you could be waiting a long time like I had to and potential not receive it at all. Although, I did receive my perk from Matrix in the end, on another (completely unrelated product) I did not and there was no way of getting my money back, so just be aware of that and the risks you take.