Full Android Smartwatch Could Replace Your Phone

The smartwatch race is heating up, with Apple likely to announce its rumored iWatch later this year. Taiwanese smartwatch maker WiME (say "why-me") is way ahead of the competition, already putting out its third Android wristband. The Wi-Watch A3 is slated to retail for $259 in July, and availability will depend on pickup by international retailers.

Most smartwatches in the market right now, such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear 2, Sony's Smartwatch 2 or the Pebble Steel, depend on a connection to a smartphone to operate. But the Wi-Watch A3 works on its own, just like the Neptune Pine and the Goophone watch do. The WiME
carries a microSIM card slot and supports 3G.

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We were most impressed, however, with the A3's comparatively sleek form factor and responsive performance during our time with a unit at Computex 2014. Thanks to a dual-core MediaTek CPU, the Wi-Watch changed between portrait and landscape orientations with ease. Its 1.5-inch 420 x 320 capacitive display was also bright, and sliding through pages of apps in the drawer was fluid.

Running a slightly tweaked Android 4.2 interface (upgradeable to 4.3), icons and text on the watch face were easy enough to see, although the dial pad on the phone app was somewhat crowded. You can sideload apps or download them from the Play store directly into the device, and a built-in pedometer lets you trace the number of steps you've taken. 

A physical button on the top of the watch's left edge lets you turn the device on or off, while a button below it acts as a Back key. On the back of the watch is a microUSB port that lets you charge the onboard 500-mAh battery, which WiME's reps say will last 3 to 5 days on standby. 

The Wi-Watch A3 will be available in frame color options of gold, silver or black, and you can swap out the strap for any color you want. It will be available in 16GB or 32GB versions, and will support GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi. The watch is also water resistant so you can wear it rain or shine.

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Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.