Buzzworthy Messages: Martian Notifier Watch Alerts You With Custom Vibrations

If you're tired of expensive smartwatches that look like only a serious nerd would wear them, the Martian Notifier could be your new wrist companion. A stylish-looking analog watch with a small digital display that shows the most important alerts from your phone, the $129 Martian Notifier allows you to configure custom vibration patterns based on the type of information you receive.

Announced today and due out later this spring, the Martian Notifier pairs with your iPhone or Android handset via Bluetooth and uses its custom app to forward notificaitons from any apps ou choose to your wrist. We had a chance to view a brief demo of the Martian Notifier and were impressed with its attractive design and helpful app.

During our demo, Martian Watch Marketing Director Pam Niemi showed how the Notiifer app on her iPhone contains a list of every one of her notification-capable apps, from Facebook to Email and Words with Friends. The first time a new app issues a notificatoin, it too gets added to the list.

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Scrolling through the list of all available apps in the Notifier menu on her iPhone, she was able to enable or disable each one's ability to page the watch. She was also able to create custom vibration patterns of 3 to 4 elements for each app. So, for example, an SMS message could issue a pattern of short buzz, long buzz, short buzz on your wrist, letting you know that you got a text message just from the vibrations.  A Facebook message could issue a completely different pattern based on your settings.

When Niemi received a text message, the name of the sender and the text of the message scrolled through the tiny LED screen at the bottom of the Martian Notifier's watch face. To repeat a missed notification, she simply tapped the face glass with one finger and to scroll through the five most recent notifications, she hit a simple button combination.

Though the Martian Notifier does not have a speaker and mic like the company's Martian Communicator watch, it can initiate a Siri / Google  Now / S Voice session on your phone when you press a couple of buttons. Like the Communicator, it can also fire up your phone's camera, allowing you to take remote photos. Another feature allows you to find a missing phone by causing it to make noise. A small LED light on the face can double as a flashlight.

We did not get to see it in action, but the Notifier also has a "Silent Alarm" feaure which can buzz your wrist to wake you up, without issuing a noisy alarm that would make your partner. You can also set an alert that repeats every hour and reminds you to do something like get up out of your seat and walk around.

Available in four colors: white, black, black with black bezel and red, the Martian Notifier has a very fashion-forward analog look that says "watch first, mobile device second." The $129 price point also makes this one of the best values on the market, comparing favorably to the $149 Pebble Watch, $199 Sony SmartWatch 2 and $299 Samsung Galaxy Gear as well as Martian's own $299 Communicator watch. If you want simple notifications and an elegeant time piece, the Notifier could be a very compelling choice. We look forward to testing the Martian Notifier when it comes out sometime this Spring.

Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.