As tech fans, we're duty-bound to investigate any gadget that promises Bond-style functionality, and the Dyal Swap Signature is one such piece of kit. A chunky wristwatch that doubles as a mobile phone, camera and media centre, you'd be hard-pressed to find a gadget that makes you feel more like a secret agent. Acquiring that feeling will cost you dearly, however. With a price tag of around £345, you may not have much change left over for a vodka martini, and the Swap is riddled with design flaws that would test the patience of even a hardened sleuth.
The Swap is a chunky, metal affair, with a perforated leather strap and an adjustable metal clasp to keep it securely on your wrist. It's comfortable enough to wear, although slightly heavy.
On one side of the watch, you'll find two fake dials, one of which conceals a 1.3-megapixel camera. The other side features two buttons used for menu navigation, and a sliding panel that grants access to a proprietary socket, into which you can plug the included headphones, or a USB cable for charging purposes.
Lack of response
The Swap's various menus are navigated via the 38mm (1.5-inch) resistive touchscreen. Unfortunately, we found the touchscreen to be unresponsive, and often inaccurate. The Swap comes packaged with a metal stylus that slides into the watch casing, but, while it does help with navigation, we can't imagine sliding it out whenever we wanted to make a quick call. Also, if you're one of the many people who wears a watch on their dominant hand, you might find using the stylus just as fiddly as using your fingers.
The difficulty of navigating the extensive menus is the Swap's downfall. The interface is incredibly dense, with many lists of options extending over several pages, and titles giving little clue as to where they'll take you next. Unattractive and slow, the interface also features a huge amount of on-screen buttons. While that's not a problem in itself, hitting the right key on such a small screen is almost impossible, and a crucial icon will often measure only a few millimetres across.
Tiny keys coupled with a temperamental touchscreen make typing on the Swap unbearably fiddly. To send text messages, you'll have to enter letters one at a time, using the handwriting-recognition feature, which didn't do a great job of figuring out which letters we were aiming for. It would perhaps have been a better idea to rely on an on-screen alphanumeric keypad for typing purposes.
Secret agent man
The 1.3-megapixel camera is a definite plus point, taking surprisingly good pictures. But your sneaky spy snaps will be hampered by slow menu navigation and fiddly options once you've opened the camera application. Also bear in mind that the camera points at a right angle to your wrist, so, if you want to take a profile shot of someone, you'll have to put your arm up at a rather ungainly and conspicuous angle.
There's also the option to shoot video. Footage is of a surprisingly high quality, but it's a nightmare to control the video feature via the Swap's interface. Video playback suffers from stutter, even when viewing the movie trailers that come pre-loaded on the Swap's internal memory of 128GB (the Swap can also accommodate a microSD card of up to 8GB). The video capability is a good feature to have included, but, practically, it's not much use.