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Episode 52: Unboxing the Martian Passport Watch

Molly unboxes the Martian Passport smartwatch and puts it up against the Pebble. Plus, we head to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.

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Smartwatches have been invading headlines around the world for the last year or two, causing quite a bit of a stir. From a startup's few million crowdfunded dollars to whether or not Apple will unveil its own connected wrist gadget, people are interested. It's taken us (and most everyone) longer than expected to get one of the new guys in house, but the time has finally come. Let the wrist buzzing begin.

The Giants might be missing the playoffs this year, but Brandon Belt's still got the arm strength.

First off, we take a look at the Martian Passport smartwatch. This planet-named bad boy sports some serious style, but at quite a bit of a price. At $299, the Passport brings to mind what our CNET editors are calling "retro-future." This blend of old and new might make the transition from dusty timepiece to secret-agent watch a little smoother.

Perhaps the biggest name in smartwatches (especially before the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Gear) would have to be Pebble. These guys changed the game when they raised $10,000,000 on Kickstarter, after only asking for $100,000. To put the hype to the test, and to see if making the switch to smartwatch is worth it at all, we put the Pebble head-to-head with the Martian Passport. The Pebble's design proved almost as dapper around the office as the Passport, but we wouldn't want to drive with either of them.

This week's torture test takes the spotlight off smartwatches for a few minutes. We're sure you've heard stories about monkeys stealing people's cameras, or some clumsy tourist dropping his phone in the tiger's den. Well, for testing the ruggedized Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, we take on the role of one of those clumsy tourists. At Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., we first visit the dolphins and their frigid saltwater. Then, the phone's fate rests in the hands (or trunk and hooves) of an African bush elephant and a baby giraffe named Brandon Belt.

In the mailbag this week, Tom writes in to express his appreciation for our story from a couple weeks ago on limitless learning. We appreciate the love and agree that MOOCs and places like Khan Academy are truly changing the game.

That's it for this week! Thanks for watching, and see you on Tuesday for Episode 53!