Kreyos Meteor smartwatch attempts to one-up the Pebble (hands-on)

July 25, 2013 11:51 AM PDT / Updated: July 25, 2013 2:19 PM PDT

The Kreyos in its belt-clip accessory, running its own fitness app, looks like other pedometers. Scott Stein/CNET

What does it take to make a great smartwatch? The Kreyos Meteor is an effort to at least outdo the Pebble. Based on features, I'm inclined to agree it does...but is that enough?

I got a chance to see and hold the Kreyos Meteor, a smartwatch that's seeking early-adopter funding on Indiegogo right now. The watch, which comes out this fall, works with iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone 8 devices -- or, if you wish, syncing via Mac or Windows. And, based on the site and the Kreyos Meteor's design, it's clearly aiming at being a Pebble-beater, specifically.

What I mean by that is that the Kreyos is also a black-and-white watch (also with a 144x168-pixel screen), and like the Pebble it lacks a touch screen. It has a variety of customizable watch faces, and can receive notifications over Bluetooth, like texts and phone calls. It's waterproof, too, just like the Pebble. The Kreyos costs $169, compared with $150 for the Pebble.

Scott Stein/CNET

But the Kreyos can also receive and make actual phone calls or tap into Siri or Google Now via an integrated speakerphone, just like the Martian Passport Watch . And it has its own integrated pedometer and cycling fitness apps, like a Fitbit or Basis Band -- something that, oddly, watches like the Pebble lack (although the Pebble does integrate with RunKeeper).

The laundry list of features and specs is titanic: the Kreyos Meteor has Bluetooth 4.0, 2.1+EDR, and even ANT+ support for cross-compatibility with external wearable health devices; a six-axis accelerometer plus gyrometer (for future apps like one that promises to measure and track your golf swing), a backlight, 5-meter-plus water resistance, a speakerphone and microphone, Siri and Voice Control support, cloud storage for fitness and other data, app-programmable gesture control (for when you raise your hand or twist your wrist, for instance), and swappable accessories.

Scott Stein/CNET

You don't even have to use the Kreyos Meteor like a watch at all. It's actually a self-sufficient little puck that pops in and out of a variety of bright-colored watchbands, or lanyards, or rubber clips. It could be a sports device without ever gracing your wrist.

It all sounds exciting for those who fantasize about an all-in-one wearable magic device, but the prerelease version I got to see shows that the Kreyos watch is bulkier-feeling than the Pebble, with a blockier design. It's not actually that much bigger, but it lacks the curved lines and wrist-hugging design. Its four side buttons cycle through features much like on the Pebble.

The Meteor needs a separate plug-in USB cradle to sync with a PC. At least it can do that: it can sync via mobile device or Mac/Windows for those who don't own current smartwatches, while the Pebble stays strictly to mobile syncing with Android and iOS via Bluetooth.

The Kreyos is available for preorder on Indiegogo right now, where an early order currently gets you one for $129. Otherwise, the Kreyos will cost $169 when it debuts, which is currently targeted for November.

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Where to Buy

Kreyos Meteor smartwatch

Part Number: METEORSMARTWATCH

MSRP: $169.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

About The Author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.