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Launched initially on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, the Blocks smartwatch can connect to an iPhone or Android phone, providing notifications, calendar updates and a whole bunch of other features, much like an Android Wear device. Blocks has a trick up its sleeve though.

Its band is made up of swappable, interconnected modules, like links on a chain, and each individual module adds an extra function to the watch. It allows you to build the smartwatch with only the features you want.

It's available to preorder now for For $295 (around £195 and AU$410, based on a direct conversion). For that money you'll get the watch face in red, white or black, plus a choice of four interchangeable modules, each delivering a single feature (more on that in a minute).

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Here's the first prototype. It's made from 3D-printed plastic and is way too big to ever be comfortably worn. On this early version, the modules connect using 3.5mm headphone jacks. This method was abandoned as it wasn't stable or secure enough.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The early Blocks were so big as the internal components used in testing were much larger than the tiny chips used in the newer models.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Here's a handful of early Blocks prototypes.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Later revisions were much smaller, but still too big to be able to comfortably wear around the wrist.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Here's the most recent version. It's smaller, lighter and it doesn't use the 3.5mm headphone jack to connect the modules.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The components beneath the display are much smaller.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The modules connect to each other -- and to the watch face -- using these flexible circuit board "tongues".

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Here are the modules. Each one has a different set of components inside which bring features such as GPS, heart-rate monitoring, NFC for contactless payments or even an extra battery. You can swap them in and out to add the features you need without even needing to restart the watch.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The chips inside the modules are tiny, allowing the plastic casing to shrink down to much more comfortable sizes.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It has a round display -- this one is still in the prototype stage and will be greatly improved before going on sale, the company says.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The watch runs Android at its core, but it's a heavily skinned version that's different from Google's own Android Wear for smartwatches. It offers many of the same features though and seemed to be fairly easy to navigate in my hands-on time. Here's the grid of apps.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You'll find a variety of watch faces to choose from, too.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You can see incoming notifications and read through email or messaging threads.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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