i.am+ dial review
Say hello to the 'smartcuff'
The dial smartcuff is exclusive to network Three and is offered on a 24 month contract.
Design - Elegant yet practical
The i.am+ dial looks like a smartwatch but is in reality a smartphone capable of making calls and sending text messages and emails. The AneedA OS enables these services through gestures and conversational voice commands that learn over time, for even better and more accurate interactions.
The elegant design looks sleek and stylish with contemporary colour choices of white or black. The vivid 1.63" AMOLED display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3.0, which is resistant to scratches and accidental knocks. The display area is square with 320 pixels both vertically and horizontally and the watch face has a width of 38mm.
The dial is a practical wearable with a fingerprint resistant coating applied to the screen and IP54 water resistance. Rivaling the power of a smartphone, the dial has a Qualcomm MSM8226 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM.
Fitting - Strap sizing
The i.am+ dial is available in large and medium sizes. In the image gallery to the left, there is a strap sizing image that can be printed at 100% size. This can be wrapped around the wrist to show which size is the right fit.
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Alternatively, measure the circumference of the wrist. The medium dial fits wrists that measure 160-182mm, while the large dial fits wrists that measure 175-197mm.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Syncing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
The dial by will.i.am can be set up with ease. The People app manages contacts and here the user can sync contacts with existing Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook accounts. The Schedule app enables the syncing of events and meetings and allows the wearer to create reminders.
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The dial is connected to the Three network for online services and internet data allowances can be saved by connecting to Wi-Fi, when at home or in a hotspot. Inside the box is a pair of complimentary Bluetooth earphones that can be paired with the dial.
Music - Unlimited
The i.am+ dial is offered with a free music service where owners can stream music from a library of 30 million, for the period of their 24 month contract.
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Voice commands for this service includes ‘Play song title/artist’, ‘Next song’, ‘Previous song’, ‘Stop music’ and ‘What song is this?’.
Apps - AneedA Skills
A series of useful apps, known as ‘Skills’ are pre-loaded onto the dial and more will become available from the Skill Store. Pre-loaded Skills includes the Fitness app, which can track workouts, steps, calories burned and active time, with the option to set goals.
The Maps app allows the user to save places, find attractions and get turn-by-turn navigation with GPS.
The voice commands that enable the user to interact with the dial are of a conversational style, so the boundaries of specific voice commands has been broken. Here are a few examples that show off the scope of the voice assistant:
- How many emails do I have?
- How’s the weather tomorrow?
- What’s the best football team?
- Text John and say how are you doing?
- Call Adam
- Take me to London Gatwick
- Find directions to a Chinese restaurant
- What meetings do I have tomorrow?
- Set an alarm for 7am tomorrow
- Turn on Wi-Fi
Camera & Video
Photography - 2MP selfies
Sitting just above the display is a 2MP camera lens that can be used to take selfies. To trigger the camera a voice prompt can be used, such as ‘Take a selfie’, ‘Snap a picture’ or ‘Take a picture’.
Selfies can be saved onto the ample 32GB internal memory or shared using the Snaps app.
The 800mAh battery has almost twice the capacity of most smartwatch batteries, so owners will experience much longer periods between charging, using the magnetic USB power adapter supplied.
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Verdict: The i.am+ dial is one of only a few smartwatches that have a stand alone service with a SIM card. From this select line up, the will.i.am branding will appeal to the market that is buying wearables, and let’s face it, there is a thrill factor attached to uncovering the new AneedA OS.
Written by: Michael Brown