Razer Nabu Watch keeps on ticking, long after the smarts are gone (hands-on)


"This is not a smartwatch," says Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan. "This is a watch that's smart."

What's the difference? Well, his new Razer Nabu Watch is mostly the same sort of dumb wristwatch people used to wear all the time. It tells you the time, the day of the week, has stopwatches and alarms and so on.

The new Razer Nabu Watch.

Sean Hollister/CNET

The difference is that the $150 (roughly £100 or AU$210 converted) Nabu Watch -- on sale today and shipping this month in the US -- also has a second scrolling stock-ticker like screen that will track your steps and display your incoming emails and text messages, much like a smartwatch.

Here's the cool part: while those "smart" features only last about a week on the internal rechargeable battery, there's more than one battery inside the Nabu Watch. It also houses a standard watch battery that will keep the "dumb" watch features working for up to 12 months.

Sean Hollister/CNET

It's also waterproof down to 50 meters, has a nice strong magnetic charging cable, and can double as a Bluetooth shutter button.

I've got to admit I kind of like the idea. I hate running out of battery, and the most useful thing I do with a smartwatch is read my smartphone notifications, anyhow. I don't need my watch to do a whole lot.

The Nabu Watch next to a Pebble Time Steel.

Sean Hollister/CNET

Still, the Nabu Watch is pretty gigantic, pretty pricy -- especially the $200 Forged Edition -- and in my personal opinion pretty ugly for what it does. I doubt I'd buy one. Maybe you feel differently.

Here's the feature list:

  • 12 months battery life with replaceable coin battery (CR2032)
  • Hourly time signal
  • 1/100 second stopwatch
  • Measuring capacity: 23:59'59.99"
  • Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time
  • Countdown timer
  • Measuring unit: 1 second
  • Full auto calendar
  • 12/24 hour formats
  • Three multi-function alarms (daily or weekly repeats)
  • World Time
  • Time, World Time and Alarms auto synced to phone time or manually adjusted via Nabu app

Nabu hardware:

  • OLED 128x16 single color
  • Three-axis accelerometer
  • Cylindrical vibration motor
  • Single button for OLED screen
  • Lithium polymer battery with up to 7 days battery life
  • 5ATM water resistance rating
  • Shock resistant up to 5 meters (16 feet)
  • Charging via magnetic proprietary USB cable
  • Wireless syncing with mobile device via Bluetooth LE

System requirements:

  • iPhone 5/5S/6/6 Plus/6S/6S Plus with iOS 8 or higher
  • Android 4.3 or higher device with Bluetooth Low Energy (BT 4.0 or higher) capability

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  • Product type Smartwatch