Martian Notifier Smartwatch Review

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Smartwatches are a funny thing. In today’s world where “Smart” devices are becoming more and more prevalent, even going as far as having a genre of gadgets coined “Internet of Things”, it’s hard to say which of these are the best. They all do many of the same essential functions, they alert you of notifications that you receive on your phone.

Sure, there are some extra bells and whistles in some of the higher tiered smartwatches, but they essentially all function to make receiving notifications less of a bear when by displaying on your wrist rather than requiring you to take your phone out of your pocket each time.

In a world where smartwatches come in varying sizes, colors, and prices, we set out to answer a very fundamental question: could you buy a smartwatch that you are satisfied with for under $40? We’re going to answer that question here today. We’ll be reviewing the Martian Notifier, a very basic smartwatch for less than $35.

Design

The Martian Notifier has a very simplistic yet traditional design. On the surface we have a standard analog watch which is round with a slick metal “M” to the side of a small rectangular display. To the left of the display is an LED light that flashes when a notification comes in. The Roman numeral that dictates the hour 12 at the top of the display is a nice touch and gives a rather premium feeling to the watch. The rest of the watch is an incredibly grippy rubber material that gives the impression of a sport / fitness watch but has neither built into its functionality.

On the sides of the watch are silver metal buttons, the clock’s dial on the right with two buttons on the left. The two buttons have separate contextual buttons based on what’s on the display. For example, say a notification appears on the display and you want to dismiss it, quickly press the bottom silver button. There’s also a metal clasp at the end to tie the whole watch around your wrist. There’s also a vibration motor inside the casing that is responsible for alerting you when a notification comes in. To be honest it feels kind of heavy on your wrist but it adds a premium feeling weight to it.

Functionality

Here’s where the Martian Notifier really shows its price. This watch does the very bare essentials. You connect the Notifier to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth which was really simple to setup. You enable Bluetooth on your device, turn on the Notifier and you will be prompted to enter a passcode that is displayed on the watch. Once that’s entered on your device, the two will be paired seamlessly.

From day to day use, the Notifier proved to be actually pretty handy. I am using an iPhone 6 paired with the Notifier so any push notification that is sent to my device is pushed to my Notifier. A strong motor buzzes the Notifier on your wrist when you receive a notification which really helped me catch all notifications. This proved especially useful in large crowded areas where a lot of ambient noise was present. While I couldn’t hear the vibration on my watch, I most certainly felt it. It was actually pretty handy. There’s not a touch screen, nor any response technology like a speaker or microphone, which was something I saw myself wanting after a few days, but it really isn’t any evidence against the watch itself.

Conclusion

So let’s look back at the original question, could you buy a smartwatch that you are satisfied with for under $40? The short answer? Yes, yes you can. For less than $35 you can get a watch that is both stylish and functional. You will get a watch made of strong, sturdy materials that honestly does not feel cheap. You get all the basic functionality of a smartwatch by having all push notifications buzzed on your wrist so you never miss a beat. You will notice after a while, especially if you have friends with substantially more expensive smart watches, that you are missing features like responding to messages you receive, taking photos, and more. However, I would argue that you don’t really need those things in a smartwatch. My ideal smartwatch is one that alerts me whenever my phone receives a notification which the Martian Notifier does very well.

While I would like to see things like a speaker for audible notifications along with the very strong vibration motor, the vibration is enough to train my brain to know I have received a notification when I feel that buzz on my wrist. When it comes down to it, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy smartwatch if all you’re looking for is an extension to your smart phone. For around $35, you’re getting a great deal with the Martian Notifier.

So what do you guys think? Have you purchased a sub-50$ smartwatch? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

 

iOS No Longer Malware Free

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Well, it looks like iOS can no longer tout the security of their platform. According to findings by Palo Alto Networks, iOS has its first piece of malware codenamed “AceDeceiver”. AceDeceiver uses flaws found within Apple’s DRM for devices in China. This exploit allows for a “man-in-the-middle” attack by hackers in order to hijack an iOS device through a 3rd party software that mimics the user interface of iTunes. To the end user, there is no difference which pivots the exploit in a very dangerous spot for end users.

The time has come where we can say is that the days of having a completely virus and malware free OS are gone. Now all the major platforms contain some form of malware. Compared to iOS competitors like Windows Phone and Android, this is a pretty big deal for iOS as they have been able to keep ahead of the bunch by having the most secure platform. With all the buzz coming from Apple v. FBI in recent events, it makes you wonder how this malware could have slipped by Apple’s radar. Whatever the case is, it is a very interesting development.

Source: Mashable

Apple is already testing its next versions of iOS and OS X

ios10-1280x614New reports are surfacing that Apple is already testing the next versions of both iOS and OS X. Assuringly labeled iOS 10 and OS X 10.12, both updates have surfaced under Google Analytics that seem to indicate a rapid pace of inner workings towards Apple’s mobile and desktop platforms.

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The report suggests a rather large spike in the number of sessions that appear for these specific testing numbers which leads us to believe that Apple is readily hard at work getting these platforms ready for primetime. While Apple just unveiled iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, it is always exciting to look forward at the potential of these two platforms and knowing that Apple is as hard at work as it has ever been.

Source: 9to5mac
Via: TechnoBuffalo

iOS 9 Public Beta Quick Look

UnknownThe public beta for iOS 9 was released yesterday through the developer channel on Apple.com. Apple offers a public beta of its upcoming software every year since iOS 8. We have the beta running on an iPhone 6 and here are some of our quick takes from the beta.

Performance & Battery Life

Performance on the iPhone 6 running iOS 9 is pretty good. It isn’t the spectacular fluidity of an official build, but pretty good considering the beta moniker. Yes, there are some graphical quirks and several hangs, but all of this is to be expected with beta software. Battery life, however, has been boosted beyond expectation. Despite the beta status, iOS 9 has increased our battery life by at least a full hour. Where normal usage time, also known as screen-on time, lasted about 4-5 hours on iOS 8.4, iOS 9 allowed for a usage time of 6.5 hours during our testing. Needless to say, this is going to be a great update for battery.

Apple News

Apple didn’t just make under-the-hood improvements in iOS 9, they also focused on improving several features on the iPhone as well. The new News app is wonderful. If you’re familiar with the popular Flipboard app, you will be right at home with News. Similar to Flipboard, News aggregates content from across the internet and presents it in a readable format. This format removes any and all clutter from the website and brings the article in focus. Multimedia is also wonderful on the News app.

News brings all multimedia inline with the text-based content and allows you to view them all seamlessly. In this public beta, however, there are some nuances. For example, rotation on videos inside of the News app is broken. Videos will play fine in portrait, but rotating the phone to landscape does nothing. We’re not sure if this is a bug in the beta itself or with the News app but we’re sure it’ll be taken care of come launch time.

Notes

Notes has received a pretty significant update on iOS 9. You can now specify checklists, handwritten notes, and all with iCloud integration for better syncing across devices. In our testing, the notes app worked as well as it always has. Coupled with these added features, and it’s a pretty good notes app for any platform.

Siri & Intelligence

This is where the beta really shows its status. As of the iOS 9 Public Beta 1, Siri is working as well as she always has. That is to say, she’s not any smarter than she normally is. We attribute this to some behind-the-scenes work that needs to be polished, but on the user side there are no visible improvements to Siri. The Intelligence feature promised to us by Apple at WWDC 2015 is not available yet, so we’ll have to wait to see if it becomes available in future betas.

Conclusion

Overall, iOS 9 is off to a promising start. Even in the beta stages, improvements can be seen system wide. We are excited to see what’s going to happen when iOS 9 is officially live, and we highly encourage you to participate in the public beta. You can sign up for the public beta at Apple’s Beta Program portion of their website.

Our Top WWDC 2015 Predictions

imageWWDC, otherwise known as the WorldWide Developers Conference, held by Apple, is set to occur on Monday June 8th, 2015. WWDC is the annual event for software at Apple and is historically the event where future versions of OS X and iOS are announced. Last year, Apple announced iOS 8 and OS X 10.9 Yosemite which were both unquestionably unpolished releases for their respective devices. Many have criticized iOS 8 as being too buggy and unreliable for day-to-day use while Yosemite has been called unpolished and unrefined. Apple hopes to change all of this and more at WWDC 2015, so here are our predictions for what we’ll see.

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1. iOS 9 – iOS 9 is the natural followup to iOS 8 and has been rumored to focus more on refinements and less on features. We hope to see iOS 9 distance itself from the abysmal update iOS 8 proved to be. Most features won’t work consistently, other issues are just plain weird, and the whole software version has proven to be subpar for a refinement-focused company like Apple. We really hope to see a more polished version of what iOS 8 was intended to be along with a couple of new features. One such feature that has been turning the rumor mill lately is a Google Now competitor, codenamed “Proactive”. “Proactive” is rumored to produce a new screen that will take a user’s prior search queries and deliver helpful information based on those search queries. At the moment it is difficult to say how Apple plans on separating themselves from Google Now, so we will just have to wait for the official announcement.

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2. OS X 10.11 – Yosemite was a cosmetic makeover to Mavericks, introducing a flatter and more well thought out design in harmony with design changes made in iOS 7. Along with those cosmetic changes, Yosemite was not Apple’s greatest release of the OS X platform. We expect the next version of OS X to also focus on refinement of the platform along with some features like the rumored inclusion of the Control Center. Think of this like Snow Leopard to Apple’s Leopard release. Snow Leopard was made to build on top of Leopard and make the OS better overall.

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3. Apple Watch OS 2.0 – We’re not sure if Apple will give its new Apple Watch OS a complete overhaul, but we do expect there to be some updates given to its new wearables. Many of the rumors seem to suggest the inclusion of a Watch App SDK where third party developers can create apps designed specifically for the Apple Watch. Currently iOS 8 communicates with the Apple Watch and pushes automatically generated versions of said apps to the Apple Watch for use by users. The main problem with this methodology is that apps can sometimes take a long time to simply load on the Apple Watch. This problem could be solved by allowing developers to produce Apple Watch versions of their existing apps to run natively on the Apple Watch. Aside from this new feature, much of what Apple might do on the Apple Watch is still a mystery.

There was a long-standing rumor that Apple would introduce an updated version of its Apple TV, however recent news has debunked this rumor. While there has been no official word from Apple on the pull of this introduction, many have speculated that deals with cable companies have not yet been solidified, thus halting production. Apple also typically sets separate keynotes for their new hardware which is why we did not include them in our predictions. What do you guys think of our predictions? What would you like to see at WWDC? Let us know in the comments below.

Apple’s iOS 9 to Focus on OS Improvements

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Apple’s next version of iOS will focus on improving iOS stability and bug problems according to a report from 9to5Mac. Fans of iOS have certainly let Apple know all of their woes since upgrading to iOS 8 and it appears as if Apple has heard the overwhelming cries of their customers. This move of improvements over features is not a foreign concept to Apple.

In 2009, Apple introduced Snow Leopard, an operating system update that squashed many bugs and improved stability that could be seen from Apple’s previous OS update, Leopard. In fact, Apple wanted so many of its Leopard users to update to Snow Leopard, they dramatically reduced the price of Snow Leopard from $129 to $29 for a copy of Snow Leopard.

Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference has traditionally been the place where they introduce the next version of iOS so we will wait until June to see what Apple has in store for us in iOS 9.

Source: 9to5Mac