LAS VEGAS - Smartwatches keep getting better looking. One smartwatch, the Martian Kindred VIP, looks so slick you wouldn't even know it's smart. It is an analog timepiece that can track your fitness and alert you to notifications from your paired phone. The Kindred VIP also features a new tool to let you prioritize your contacts so you only get alerted to interactions from them. Price and availability have yet to be announced, but we expect the watches to cost about the same as Martian's other devices (about $250).
I'm a big fan of the white-and-rose Kindred VIP watch, which is almost as slim and thin as my Pebble Time Round. Side by side, the two wearables looked nearly identical, except the Martian is slightly bigger and has a taller case.
The Kindred VIP collection includes seven watches in total, with leather and stainless steel strap options complementing the 38mm face, and is manufactured by established watch maker Seiko.
Unlike previous Martian smartwatches that have a small screen on the face to display message previews, the VIP series has a small LED light on the 6 o'clock edge of the watch case. It can light up in seven colors that you assign to various important contacts. During my demonstration, the LED lit up several times in blue, and the light was clear enough to see in daylight.
When an important notification arrives, the VIP watch will first vibrate, then light up in the specified color that's defined through Martian's companion Smart mVIP app for iOS and Android.
The watches will also track your steps and sleep using an onboard accelerometer, and that information will eventually be compatible with Healthkit, Google Fit and other popular fitness tracking apps. The device is water-resistant, so you'll have no problem breaking a sweat or washing your hands while wearing it. Since it is primarily an analog timepiece, the VIP has a super long battery life of 2 years.
Unfortunately, unlike Martian's mVoice series, the Kindred VIP devices do not offer voice control for digital assistant control or message dictation. All in all, the Kindred VIP line looks like a good-looking basic wearable for those looking to do simple activity tracking and get top priority alerts from their smartphones.
Martian also launched a new Active line in its mVoice collection of men's watches that already let you send text messages, set alarms, request weather updates and search the Web with your voice. The mVoice devices access your smartphone's voice assistant, whether it's Siri or Google Now, and plays back what your assistant tells you via an onboard Bluetooth speaker.