Sunday, 16 November 2014 01:25

VIDEO: Burg joins burgeoning smart watch market with $199 phone watch! Featured


A brand new smart watch with built-in phone that also pairs with iPhones and Androids has just launched at the US Walmart chain for a very nice US $199 price.

Although phone watches have been with us since the days of Dick Tracy in sci-fi form, and then arrived in the early 2000’s as often relatively large clunky devices that were part compromise and part sci-fi made sci-fact, the facts are that smart watches are starting to make real waves.

From Android Wear designs in square and round configurations through to fitness wearables, through to Microsoft’s Band and the upcoming and potential best watch of them all, the Apple Watch in March 2015, smart watches are a space we’ve watched for quite some time.

The latest entrant into the world of smart watchery is the Burg 12, although the Burg Smart Watch site actually lists seven different models - the Burg 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 16B in various round and square faces. 

The Burg 12 comes from Hermen van den Burg, someone I’d never heard of before but who is apparently quite famous as a ‘world-renowned lifestyle designer to Ikea and Target’.

Indeed, Burg, who is the CEO and Founder of the eponymously named BURG corporation, said: “The BURG 12 is designed to fit your lifestyle and enhance your unique sense of style without compromise. We built the BURG 12 for people who want their hi-tech watches to be fashionable, not just tech, and want customisable options for their watch screen and straps without being tied down to one phone platform.”  

But what is this smart phone watch ‘without compromise’?

It turns out that it is a phone in a watch that can make and take calls and texts with no need of a smartphone, offering ‘phone calls, text, music, video, camera, calendar, contact lists, voice recording and more’, in a watch with a 1.5-inch with 240 x 240 resolution (which is a lower res than Android Wear watches).

With a 3-day life between charges, built-in camera, FM Radio and more, it certainly does pack in the features, while having a battery life that outlasts virtually all smartphones on the market.

It promises to be easy to use, and offers a scratch and water resistant touchscreen, but it nevertheless pairs with with all iPhones, Android smartphones and headsets using at least Bluetooth 3.0, while offering interchangeable straps and bezels, too.

It uses any GSM sim card, which suggests it is a 2G phone, which means you won’t be able to use it on the Telstra network from the end of 2016 when Telstra switches off its 2G network, but hey, that’s still over two years away - no doubt we’ll be up to the Burg 22 by then, if not the Burg 222.

But that’s the future - if we come back to the present, we find the Burg 12 even being offered with a SIM card with US $25 prepaid talk and text credit.

The feature spec is as follows:

- Full phone functionality to make and receive calls with the watch’s speakerphone using the included SIM card or paired with your iPhone or Android smartphone.

- Two-way Bluetooth-based communication.

- SMS and MMS capabilities.

- Includes a SIM card with $25 of prepaid talk and text.

- Camera to take and view photos.

- Calendar, calculator, and contact list.

- FM radio, MP3 music, MP4 video player, and voice recorder.  Controls and plays the smartphone’s music through the speaker.

- 3-day standby battery life, 2-3 hour talk time, 3-4 hour media player.

- Connects to iOS or Android smartphones via Bluetooth 3.0 technology.

- Colourful 1.5-inch TFT touch screen display with 240 x 240 resolution puts menus and controls at your fingertips.

- Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery charges in 1-3 hours through included USB to Micro USB cable.

- Micro SD port for up to 16GB of storage and Micro USB port for syncing and charging.

- Includes 4GB MicroSD card to save image and music files, a 16GB microSD card is the maximum size that can be put into the Burg 12.

- Scratch and splash resistant.

- Includes black or purple straps (Burg says additional straps and bezels are available). 

So… if you fancy a bit of real-life Dick Tracy on your wrist and don’t want to pay the AU $349 for the LG G Watch R, the US $349 starting price of the Apple Watch or the AU $449 price of Samsung’s Gear S watch - with 2-inch curved screen that is also a standalone phone on your wrist - then perhaps the Burgs are better at Hungry Walmart’s - (which for our international readers is a reference to Burger King in Australia which is called 'Hungry Jacks' and its tagline that 'The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks' when compared with McDonalds).

More information and imagery can be seen here, while a video (without audio) showing the watch in operation can be seen here. 

When this watch will wend its way to Australia is yet to be seen, but as the cliche states… watch this space.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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