If you've been reluctant to leave behind the comfort of an analog watch, watchmaker MyKronoz may have come up with the smartwatch that will finally get you to jump into the digital age. The Swiss company's newly unveiled ZeTime is a $199 touchscreen-based smartwatch that retains the physical hour and minute hands of a standard watch.
There's a practical reason for retaining those watch hands. They let you tell the time even when the watch is powered down. That's especially valuable if you've forgotten to charge your ZeTime. MyKronoz uses what it calls "Smart Movement" technology to keep those physical hands ticking for 30 days without a charge, so you're unlikely to ever run out of time.
You needn't worry too much about the ZeTime running out of juice, though. MyKronoz says the color touchscreen can last for three days under normal use.
MORE: Best Smartwatches
To get those watch hands onto the ZeTime, MyKronoz cut a hole in the center of the watch's TFT display. The watch hands pass through that hole to sit on top of the display. When you get a notification, a MyKronoz rep told me, the watch hands align themselves horizontally, so you're able to get an unobstructed view of the screen.
That color touchscreen is 1.22 inches across and offers 240x240 resolution. In addition to tapping on the screen, you also interact with the ZeTime through a digital crown on the side of the watch. Sensors include a 3-axis accelerometer and an optical heart sensor on the backside of the watch that rests against your wrist. MyKronoz says the ZeTime is also water-resistant, so it can stand up to rain or splashes when you wash your hands.
Strapping the 44-mm watch onto my wrist, the ZeTime felt a bit bulky, especially when compared to an Apple Watch. (Then again, the ZeTime is also $170 cheaper.) I appreciated the stainless steel casing around the watch, and MyKronoz says you can swap in a silicon or leather strap.
Instead of going with a more common operating system, ZeTime runs on MyKronoz's proprietary OS. The watchmaker says that allows the watch to play well with either iOS or Android devices.
All told, the ZeTime looks like a pretty stylish smartwatch, especially in light of its sub-$200 price. We'll know for sure how the ZeTime measures up in September, when the watch is scheduled for its U.S. release.
Photo Credits: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide