The Neptune Pine is the phablet of smartwatches. While most wrist-worn gadgets are sleek and slim enough to blend in casually, this gargantuan $335 wearable computer screams for attention. That’s because the Neptune Pine is more of a wearable computer than a smartwatch, and with its 3G radio, 2.5-inch color touch screen and 1GHz single-core processor, it’s seeking to replace your phone.
The Neptune Pine unit we saw on the showroom floor at CES looks strikingly different the mockups shown on Neptune’s website. Images online picture a watch with a display that looks around the same size as those on other smartwatches, but with a slightly wider shape. In reality, the watch dwarfs any other watch we’ve seen.
The 2.5-inch 320 x 240-inch display is almost an entire inch larger diagonally than the Galaxy Gear’s 1.63-inch display. That may not sound like much, but when you think about the size difference between a 4-inch smartphone like the iPhone 5s and a 5-inch device like the Galaxy S4, the discrepancy becomes clear. Surprisingly, the device didn’t feel burdensome on our wrist at all in terms of weight.
But what’s more striking is that the Neptune Pine is designed to be more of a wearable Android computer than an actual watch. Users have the option of slipping their SIM card into the back of the watchface or tethering it to their own smartphone. The Pine isn’t the only smartwatch with that option-- the Goophone watch and the WatchPhone can both be used independently as well.
The Neptune Pine differs, however, in that the watch face is actually removable. So, for instance, if you wanted to snap a picture and can’t reach your phone, you could take the device off its wristband and use its 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. There’s also a VGA front camera for video chatting, a speaker and microphone for making calls, a microUSB slot and volume buttons along its side. The watch is also Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi compatible as well.
The watch felt comfortable to wear once we grew accustomed to its bulky design. Running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, we zipped through various home screens and app menus without a hitch. App icons and text looked larger and clearer thanks to its roomier display, and the wider design also made it more keyboard friendly than other smartwatches on the market.
The Neptune Pine is set to ship later in 2014 and is available for preorder via Neptune’s website. While the Neptune Pine offers more functionality than other watches that simply bring notifications to your wrist, we're not sure how many people will be willing to walk around with such a bulky device. The steep $335 price tag could be a turn off too, though it's not much more than the $299 Galaxy Gear, which has far less functionality.