Hybrid Smartwatch

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Tue 2016/01/12 22:34 JST in Gadgets

Can't decide whether you want to get rid of your current watch for a smartwatch? Don't want to take the plunge to get a smartwatch because you don't like the thought of not being able to tell the time when the battery is flat? Why choose when you can have both - through some simple DIY'ing.

Today we take a lookie at how I fused my Huawei Android Wear Smartwatch with my 15 year old CASIO.
You know - sometimes I get one or two really really long hairs on my bear arms - it's weird ^^

For the past 15 years I've been wearing this DIY double watch - and for about 5 years before that I wore a pair of those black CASIO retro watches which I also setup like this.

I don't know what to call them so I just name them Double Watches. I'm terrible at maths and prefer to see the time in a different zone rather than having to work it out. When I worked at Amazon, this double watch came in particularly handy. I had one watch set to local time and another to Seattle which is where the Amazon HQ is.

I also like to measure my time in visual segments rather than in digits - the hands on the bottom watch served this purpose.

Flicking your wrist in a meeting is rude (particularly in Japan) but there are times when you need to keep track of time during those talks - the bottom watch faces upwards when my hands are rested on the table so I can glance without wrist flicking.

The Huawei watch was a prezzie which was handy as I've been keeping an eye on it for a while. I did like the look of the Moto 360 but can't get over the "flat tyre" display where the bottom of the screen is cut off.

When I got the Huawei, I immediately checked to see if it could replace my bottom watch - the fit wasn't perfect but good enough to replace without any modding.

For folks who are interested in making either a hybrid smartwatch or double watch, all you need to do is make sure the edges of both watches (where the strap is attached) line up. I think they call that part the Lug. Most watch manufacturers don't publish the lug width so your best bet is to walk into a physical store to check out measurements.

First you should see if you can join the watches together - once that's done the rest is easy.
I joined both watches together with a strap like the one in the photo which you can get from an embroidery shop - or just cut up something similar from a bag that you don't use anymore. The strap is then manually stitched so that it wraps around the spring bars.

As for the strap that goes around the wrist - it depends on what strap you have available from each watch. Mine were metal so I had to remove a few sections to make it shorter.

For my previous bottom watch I needed to do some filing of the strap to get it to fit.

My Huawei watch was shiny so I took some fine sandpaper to brush it down to make it match the top watch - this is the result. Not too shabby.

Updating this post with photos of my new strap that I picked up from Harajuku yesterday. The strap is TINIAN by Cassis for 6000 JPY.
The previous metal strap ended up being a bit loose as the new Huawei watch is larger in length than the previous bottom watch - this new strap fixes this problem.

The lug width of the Huawei is 18mm - the lug width of the top casio watch is 20mm. The Tinian strap is 19mm and as it's leather it's soft enough to squeeze into the Huawei lug. The final step was to punch extra holes in the strap.

If you chose a rubber or metal strap you may have to do some cutting so a leather or similar material strap may better fit your needs.

I eventually want to replace the middle strap that holds both watches together cos it looks like poo.

Folks mention how it looks heavy - I think it was heavy at first but I've been wearing my double watch for 15 years now and feels fine ^^

The rest of this post is a quick review of the Huawei watch.
The specs for this thing are:-

Screen size: 400 x 400 pixels
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8926 Snapdragon 400
CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
Memory: 4 GB, 512 MB RAM

The one thing that's not so cool about the watch is the way it charges on the USB magnetic circle thingy. I really like the Apple Watch bedside clock thing which this doesn't have. The Huawei watch does charge really fast when compared to how long a phone takes to charge though.

Another thing to watch out for is the connector - you need to check that the watch is charging properly before leaving it as the connectors don't quite align up all time even when the magnets hold the watch in place on the charger.

I asked everybody I knew who had a Smartwatch whether it changed their lives - all of them answered "No."
I've been using the smartwatch for only a few weeks now - while I don't think it has completely changed my life - it does make things convenient.

For example I can respond to issues faster. When a vendor sends me a message that needs acting on - the quicker I can respond - the quicker they can move on. I don't carry my phone around the office all the time so I would miss some messages meaning that a vendor may have moved on to another task which delays my order.

I can also answer incoming calls - but can only take the call on the phone. The only reason why this is useful is that I can answer the call quicker than it takes to run to the phone before the answering machine kicks in. Apparently there is a loudspeaker built in but not activated yet with the current software version.

Using a smartwatch also gives me more understanding of how information is relayed which is important for development of Mirai Genesis - which does essentially the same thing without a screen.

I can also take notes on the watch too but I still need to navigate to get it to recognize "OK Google" before I say "Take a note" - then I would speak a note which then gets saved to my Wunderlist.

How many of you use a smartwatch and if so which one? Was it a good decision to get one or is it just another useless thing to charge every night?

Unlike a conventional watch - you can change the watch face when you get bored of it. Although I've still yet to come across something that I really like.

The anytime gallery app lets me store images on the watch - comes in handy when I need to reference visuals or whatever.
If you are a young guy who is a fitness fanatic - you may want to use this app to store "healthy" photos.

Many apps for Android Wear have terrible design which remind me of the time before Google introduced Material Design. I think as smartwatches are still relatively new, they are still trying to figure out what the UI should look and behave like. Even Apple Watch apps looks bad too.

Notifications come via my Xperia or over Wifi when the phone is not in range. I get a light buzz when a notification comes in. Some Android Wear apps are better than others. the LINE app is kinda bad as I can only see text messages. The WeChat app however shows me photos too and allows me to return voice to text messages.

Not all apps on Android Wear look bad - like the fitness tracker for example which tracks how many steps I've taken, how many times I got up from my chair etc. I stand for most of the day so the stats for standing are kinda off.

When I first got the Huawei watch, the battery only lasted 5 hours. I googled around to see if there was something wrong with it but it turns out that my settings were not optimal. For a start, I turned off the "screen always on" and "wrist gestures" - the brightness is also set to 4.

Even with Wifi turned on, the watch now lasts a long time. From charging it once over night, I still have 85% battery left when I get home at about 7 or 8pm.

Android Wear comes with a companion app for Android where I can tune the settings of the watch.

In bright sunlight, the Huawei watch can be difficult to see but changing it to a lighter face design makes it easier.

The top watch obviously still looks great and legible in bright sunlight. The Huawei wins when it's dark at night though in terms of visibility.

Now that you got a smartwatch - you may want a Smart Doll to help you keep track of it ^^

The only thing I can't do anymore is wear this into the onsen as I did with the previous pair. First world problems eh?

How many of you are up to modding your watch into a double watch? If so I would love to see the result!