This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Nubia Technology, the company behind the Red Magic series of gaming smartphones, has launched the "nubia Watch" smartwatch overseas. Recently, we've seen a number of Chinese smartphone manufacturers entering the smartwatch market, but the nubia Watch has a very different look from other smartwatches. We tested its usability.
The nubia Watch has a large 4.01-inch display. While most smartwatches have a rectangular or circular display, the nubia Watch has an ultra-wide display with 960x192 pixels and a 45:9 aspect ratio. This is so long that a normal display would stick out of your wrist, but the display on the nubia Watch is flexible and bends at both ends, so part of the area that hangs on the strap is also a display area.
The unit has a simple structure with only one button on the right side. On the back, there is a terminal for a magnetically attached charging station and a heart rate sensor. Part of the band is a display, so if the band is too long, the edge of the band will cover the display. Therefore, the band comes in two sizes, long and short. The band will likely be the same as for a regular watch, but the band is shorter for the display, so it seems that only the special product is compatible with it.
When you turn it on, you can see that there is a display area even at the top and bottom of the nubia Watch. This experience is quite interesting. It weighs 98 grams, which might be a bit heavy for a smartwatch. But as we'll see later on, the widescreen can be used to display a variety of things, so the enjoyment of the display doesn't make the weight of the watch any less important.
The display extends into the band and bends like this. It's a flexible display, so it can bend freely, but the surface can't be protected by glass. The smartwatch can often be unintentionally bumped into a corner of a table, so be careful when you wear it on your wrist. It's a good idea to put a protective film on it.
On the standby screen with the clock display, swipe down on the display to bring up the various shortcut buttons. Also, swiping up from the bottom will bring up notifications.
Swiping left or right on the display brings up a list of apps. nubia Watch's base OS is said to be Android, but there is no app store and only these standard installed apps are available. Swipe up and down on the display to call up the apps. The following apps are available.
Call / Message / Sports / Health / Heart Rate / Settings / Barrage / Compass / Schedule / clock / SearchPhone / Music
The apps reveal that the main function of this smartwatch is an activity tracker. It measures exercise, calculates calories, and provides exercise support. You can also make calls from your paired smartphone. The display is the same size as a typical smartwatch in terms of width, so fine touch controls with your fingertips are not hard to do. For other operations, you can swipe the display from right to left while the app is running to go back, or press the button on the right side of the device to go back to home (standby).
The special app on the smartphone side shows the amount of activity when you start it. It can display past data such as a number of steps and sleeping hours. You can also use this app to set up a nubia Watch.
If you are using nubia Watch as an activity monitor, it may not be any different from other smartwatches from other companies in terms of features. However, the main difference between the nubia Watch and other smartwatches is the ability to display information on the widescreen display.
The display covers the entire 4.01-inch screen and shows information on the sides as well. It's quite nice.
In addition, the Barrage app turns the nubia Watch into a glowing wristband. When you launch the Barrage app, it will show you animations and more on the display. There are four standard patterns available.
It can be customized to display text and pictures of your choice. Since the text is scrollable, it's also interesting to display notes. I'm thinking of displaying my email address here when I go to a trade show. You can also type in Japanese. When I tried typing "5G signal check" in Japanese, this string always seemed to flow across the display.
When you select a photo from the gallery, four identical photos are lined up vertically to fit the screen's 960x192 pixels. I'd like to create my own image with this resolution and make it larger, but at the moment, it can only display four of the same photo vertically. It would be more interesting if you could customize it a bit more.
Charging is done by attaching a base to the bottom of the nubia Watch and connecting a USB cable to it, which is a little disappointing because it's a micro-USB rather than a Type-C. The battery capacity is 420 mAh and can be used for 6.5 days in power-saving mode and 36 hours in normal use. Other specs include a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, 1GB of memory, and 8GB of storage; the global version has Bluetooth only, while the Chinese version has eSIM support and 4G is also available.
What I found with the nubia Watch is that it's fun. Smartwatches are no longer a device that you put apps on and do various tasks, it is now a device that receives notifications from your smartphone, tracks your activity, and uses it for mobile payments. The nubia Watch doesn't support mobile payments (the Chinese version seems to support QR codes), but it can display notifications on your smartphone and track your sleep time, for example.
And with Barrage, you can use it as a digital wristband. You can also customize the standby screen with your favorite pictures. You can do the same thing with other smartwatches, but with nubia Watch's wide display, you'll have more information and enjoy changing the look.
The nubia Watch is priced at $219. It's reasonable enough to think of it as an activity + changeable digital wristband, and it's fun just thinking about how to customize the 4.01-inch wide display.
In the future, we'd like to see more band customization and external output of activity data added on the smartphone app side. Also, since it has a large display, we'd like to see the ability to stream news and weather.
If you are looking for a smartwatch that is different from others, the nubia Watch is the one and only for you.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.