Review: Bluetooth 4.0 ‘Passport’ smart watch from Martian Watches

Martian-Watches-Passport-03There were more than a few Bluetooth-enabled smart watches on display at CES this year. We were on-hand for the official press unveiling of the Pebble e-paper watch, which is expected to start shipping to over 80,000 backers later this month. We also spotted Martian Watches, CooKoo, I’mWatch, and a small handful of other watches designed to pair and work with your iPhone or other mobile devices. Many have seen the Pebble, up until now, as the frontrunner mainly due to the 10 million in funding it raised through Kickstarter. While rumor has it Apple is interested in creating a smart watch of its own, we will hear a lot more about smart watches in 2013 if CES is any indication. Over the past week and a half, I had the chance to put one of these smart watches to the test: the Bluetooth 4.0 “Passport” from Martian Watches.

A few things to note right off the bat: First, unlike the Pebble and I’m Watch, which integrate a larger display, the focus of Martian Watches is voice command. There is some debate whether a smart watch, one that the average iPhone user might use on a daily basis, should resemble an iPod nano-like touchscreen or a more traditional timepiece design. Martian Watches is going with the latter, but it integrates a small 96-by-16 pixel OLED display capable of displaying notifications and scrolling text for incoming messages and calls.

While Pebble and others hope to create an ecosystem of third-party apps that can run on small, touch-enabled displays, the name of the game is voice command for Martian Watches. That means, in the case of iPhone users, you’ll be able to activate and control Siri right from your wrist. It also means as Siri improves and adds more functionality, your Martian Watch does too. However, Martian packs some other non-Siri features that make it a true competitor to the other Bluetooth smart watches hitting the market…

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Western Digital announces first-ever 2TB capacity 2.5-inch My Passport for $250

Hard-drive maker Western Digital is the first-ever to unveil a 2TB capacity 2.5-inch portable external hard drive.

Western Digital announced the drive will first be put into the My Passport family, which previously only offered up to 1TB of storage, but the doubled-capacity external is still a condensed single-volume drive. 9to5Mac reviewed the Western Digital My Passport Studio in September 2011 and walked away very impressed with the 1TB 2.5-inch flavor.

Like the earlier version, the larger My Passport is available in various colored finishes that make its shell resilient to abrasions. The device is NTFS reformatted but easily reformatted to Mac OS, and it supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 for trucking large amounts of data.

More information is available below.

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