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Matrix Powerwatch X review: Infinite battery... but what's the cost?

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The Good The Matrix Powerwatch X has an effectively infinite battery life, powered by your body heat. An always-on screen shows time, steps and basic notifications. It's also water resistant to 200 meters.

The Bad Its bulky design won't appeal to all wrists. Notifications don't show the content of messages. Bluetooth syncing and pairing doesn't always work. Its fitness features are extremely basic, making this more of a step and calorie counter. It only has one watch face.

The Bottom Line The no-charging-needed Matrix Powerwatch X shows a future of infinite-battery wearables, but this isn't the watch to buy.

5.8 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Battery 10
  • Performance 5
  • Software 3
  • Features 4

Review Sections

It's handy to never need a watch charger.

Smartwatches are frustrating for many reasons, but the need to constantly recharge them is the worst. Some watches are finding ways to last more than a week, such as the Amazfit Bip. But what about lasting forever?

The Matrix Powerwatch X is a watch that's powered entirely by body heat. Thermal gradients, to be precise. The watch uses the difference between skin temperature and the outside air to generate a current that activates and charges everything. Sound weird? It is. Maybe it's the future of a world of wearables where everything is body-powered. Like... oh, yeah, that's why the company is called Matrix Industries.

I first met with Matrix Industries a couple of years ago. Its first product, the Matrix Powerwatch, debuted in 2017. The Matrix Powerwatch X is a more advanced watch, with step counting, sleep tracking and buzzing notifications.

I'd love a watch to last forever and be great. The $280 Powerwatch X does one of these things. 

The big, bulky look of the Powerwatch X is eye-catching. It's like a supercharged metal version of a G-Shock. But it won't appeal to everyone, that's for sure.

15-matrix-powerwatch-x

That's a big watch.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sturdy design, crazy thick

If you're not into super-sized watches, read no further. Wearing it made me feel like a bit like a dad commando.

The ridged outer casing has a purpose, though. The ridges act like a heat vent. The watch doesn't get hot, or even warm, but the case has a subtle two-part design between the inner and outer layers. A temperature differential is helped by the heat vents, which are silent, with no fans. These are like heat sinks on computers.

A rubber watchband felt surprisingly comfy on my wrist. Despite the watch's thickness -- and tendency to cause my wrist to sweat in humid July New York weather -- it was easy to wear.

The watch is also water-resistant up to 200 meters, which at least means it's pool-friendly. But it won't track swimming.

05-matrix-powerwatch-x
Sarah Tew/CNET

Always-on display

Think this looks like a Casio G-Shock? Well, the screen looks like one, too.

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