Wearables

The Vatican just launched a smart rosary

Includes a health tracker

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Image source: The Vatican

Technology is everywhere. From smartphones to smart sneakers, there’s a gadget for everything. By now, you’d think new gizmos wouldn’t surprise us anymore. Most of the time, we don’t. Occasionally, however, a new gadget just appears out of nowhere and catches us by surprise. Case in point, the Vatican has launched the world’s first smart rosary.

The “Click to Pray” eRosary is a wearable bracelet engineered for young Catholics. It consists of ten black agate and hematite rosary beads. The device’s technology comes from the smart cross.

The rosary activates when the wearer makes the sign of the cross. After activation, the device links to a free app. The app — named Click to Pray — provides rosary guides and personalized content related to praying the rosary. The user can choose between standard rosary prayers, contemplative rosary prayers, or thematic ones released throughout the year. During prayer, the rosary tracks your progress through the different mysteries. The smart cross can also track health information including step counts, calories burned, and distance trackers.

According to the press release, the eRosary supplements Pope Francis’ Worldwide Prayer Network, an initiative that mobilizes today’s Catholics against humanity’s problems. Notably, October is also the annual month for praying the rosary.

The Click to Pray eRosary can be purchased online now for only EUR 90.

SEE ALSO: Fitbit unveils Versa Lite smartwatch and new fitness-focused wearables

Reviews

Honor Watch Magic review: Fitness band trapped in a smartwatch’s body

In a good way

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The title of this Honor Watch Magic review might have you thinking that I’m dissing it. But that’s completely the opposite. In this era of smart devices, it’s the kind of watch I would happily slap on my wrist.

But my needs are different from yours, so here’s my month-long experience with the Honor Watch Magic.

Classic watch look with an AMOLED touchscreen

The Honor Watch Magic is one of many smartwatches that mimic the look of more traditional wrist watches. For anyone who still feels lukewarm about getting something that screams “smartwatch” this is a good thing.

This allows for some more versatility in terms of mixing and matching with your outfits — something you can’t do if you only have a fitness band. And no, you shouldn’t be wearing your fitness band everywhere, all the time.

The Honor Watch Magic comes in either black or silver although in the Philippines, it’s currently only available in black. One can argue it’s a little less versatile than silver, but there are still plenty of third-party straps you can purchase to make it work in different occasions.

It also only comes in 42mm which is kind of a sweet spot for smartwatches — neither too big nor too small. The 1.2-inch AMOLED display can get really bright if it needs to, so you don’t need to worry about checking the time when you’re underneath strong sunlight. However, it might be a little too bright — even if you turn the dial to just one — when you’re inside the movie theater.

There’s also a healthy selection of watch faces. I’m pretty easy to please so I immediately found a few that work for me. But if that isn’t the case for you, you can always download more through the Huawei Health app.

Smart enough

The Watch Magic has features you’d expect to find from a smartwatch. There’s find my phone, the usual step counter, and notification alerts — which I opted to just turn off altogether.

However, unlike pricier wearables, it does not have a way for you to act on these notifications. You can’t answer calls or reply to a message directly on the watch. You can think of it more as an extension of your phone.

But being unable to act on the notifications isn’t why I turned most of it off. I get a sh*t ton of messages from so many chat apps everyday. So much so that it’s really affected my focus. So I limited the notifications to just the Slack app as well as calls. Besides, I’m trying this thing where I’m looking at screens less. Not going so great, so far.

The watch promises a battery life of about a week and I did get about 4-5 days when the notifications were still on and about 5-6 days when I dialed them back.

Fitness band in a smartwatch’s body

Most of the magic on this watch has to do with its health and wellness features.

The TruSleep feature was the one I was most excited to test since I have been having trouble sleeping for a while now. After spending about a week tracking my sleep, I found out that I only average about three hours of deep sleep.

It also gave tips on how to address my sleeping problems. Regretfully, I haven’t been able to follow, and I stopped wearing the watch while sleeping over the last two weeks. It just doesn’t feel comfortable. I prefer something like this that I can wear over my head for sleep tracking.

Had a few days that this was my average sleep 😴

Then there are the workouts. The Honor Watch Magic can track a multitude of things from outdoor walking, running, cycling, mountaineering, and even swimming. The watch even has a dedicated button that will take you straight to the workout options.

Each one will provide you with data related to your specific workout so you know exactly how you’re doing and how you’re progressing. It even has customized courses to make sure you get the most out of your workouts.

Thing is, the most I did with the watch was some light running and walking. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to do my regular workout which involves playing a lot of basketball — a sport that sadly isn’t exactly supported by the Watch Magic. Besides, wearing a huge watch while shooting hoops kind of looks douchey.

The only real fitness lesson I can impart with you here is to find a workout that you’ll stick with. After which, that’s when you decide which wearable to get to properly track your progress.

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

Personally, I was never into wrist watches. I’ve gone on several stretches in my life without needing one — which could explain my spurts of tardiness and general feeling of losing track of time. Literally every watch I’ve ever used in my life is a gift from someone else. And I think that’s what the Honor Watch Magic is. It makes for a perfect gift.

At PhP 7,490 (US$ 147), it’s probably the best value smartwatch available in the Philippines at the moment. With its size, style flexibility, and overall functionality, it’s a perfect gift for anyone you hold near and dear to your heart.

The Honor Watch Magic is the perfect entry point for someone who might still be on the fence about getting a smartwatch and is reluctant to spend north of PhP 10,000 (US$ 200). It looks like a regular watch, has the basics of a smartwatch, and is quite a powerhouse as a fitness companion.

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Accessories

This case turns your AirPods into an iPod Classic

It screams retro

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The iPod was a revolutionary gadget when it was launched. Back then the market was filled with bulky music boomboxes ranging from a Walkman to a simple MP3 player. Apple changed the course of portable media forever thanks to close integration between the iPod and iTunes.

Today, the iPhone combines all legacy music requirements along with streaming via Apple Music. Further, AirPods have been a huge success due to the closed ecosystem and near-native support.

Case manufacturer Elago wants to take things further. Their AW6 case mimics the look of the iPod, complete with the iconic click wheel —  the circular touch-sensitive navigation ring.

The case is made entirely from high-grade silicone. It’s flexible and impact-resistant, and thick enough to ensure that all accidental drops have some level of protection. For AirPods 2 owners, there’s a special cut-out to show the charging indicator.

The case has been deemed an Amazon Choice product and have received some pretty high praise online. Not only does it look funky, but they also deliver a retro-feel to the now-defunct iPod Classic.

Last month, Elago also launched an ‌AirPods‌ case that was looks like the original Macintosh, followed by an Apple Watch inspired case.

Elago’s AW6 Case (iPod Classic) for ‌AirPods‌ is available on the company’s website and on Amazon for US$ 11.99. It also comes in black with a red click wheel.

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Lifestyle

Huawei showcases Gentle Monster Eyewear, other wearables

“Connecting Tech with Fashion”

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We’ve come a long way from wearables that people won’t exactly be proud to wear. But Huawei is taking it further by “connecting tech with fashion.”

During “The Showroom” event in Singapore, Huawei paraded their set of wearables. Each one we’ve likely seen before like the FreeBuds 3 and the different variations of the Huawei Watch GT 2.

But perhaps one of their more unique offerings is the Gentle Monster — Huawei Eyewear.

Gentle Monster — Huawei Eyewear: New kind of wearable

Huawei calls it “an elegant and minimalist intelligent assistant for daily wear.” With it on, you can listen to music, take calls, and get voice updates from your virtual assistant. Which you’ll do simply by double tapping on either side of the eyewear’s frame.

If you’re worried about the audio blasting out too much, of course, Huawei took that into consideration. The eyewear has dual speakers and a semi-open design so you can hear the audio properly. At the same time it has a “unique audio cavity” to make sure sound doesn’t leak out.

It’s also combining hardware and software to deliver clear audio communications. The linear beam noise reduction design along with AI speech noise-reduction tech helps in this aspect.

The device also has an IP67 rating which means it’s dust and water resistant. It also comes with a portable leather case that doubles as a charger for the device. The charging, interestingly, is done wirelessly thanks to NFC.

Partnering with Gentle Monster appears to be another masterful branding move, akin to how Huawei hooked up with Leica for their flagship’s cameras. This means that the Gentle Monster — Huawei Eyewear will come in an array of different designs. So you should find something that will look good on you — which was hard for me, but I digress.

The Gentle Monster – Huawei Eyewear will be available on November 28 in Singapore in two design options: Smart Eastmoon and Smart Jackbye. No word yet on exact pricing.

Different Huawei Watch GT 2 designs to match your needs 

Another thing showcased was the Huawei Watch GT 2 — our review is coming up soon so watch out for it. But initial impressions suggest it’s one of the better smartwatch options for Android. It comes in two sizes: 46mm and 42mm.

There are plenty of design options to choose from. Here are pricing and availability:

  • HUAWEI Watch GT 2 (46mm) Sport Edition in Matte Black now available at SG $298 here
  • HUAWEI Watch GT 2 (46mm) Classic Edition in Pebble Brown now available at SG$ 328 here
  • HUAWEI Watch GT 2 (42mm) Sport Edition in Lake Cyan available on 28 November, pricing to be released on a closer date.
  • HUAWEI Watch GT 2 (42mm) Elegant Edition in Refined Gold available in December, further details to come.
  • HUAWEI Watch GT 2 (46mm) Elite Edition in Titanium Grey available in December, further details to come

Freebuds 3: AirPods Pro but for Android

Last, but certainly not least, is the Freebuds 3 which bears a striking resemblance to the AirPods by Apple. This particular design allowed Huawei to put their Kirin A1 wearable chip on the wireless earphones which helps in noise cancellation, a stable, fast bluetooth connection and better power efficiency.

The FreeBuds 3 will be available on November 28, in Carbon Black and Ceramic White.

Huawei’s ecosystem

These new devices should also work well with the ecosystem that Huawei is building. The company is going towards the full Internet of Things (IoT) route and while they’re building their own hardware, they’re also inviting other developers and manufacturers to create products that will fit in their ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mobile Cloud will have free storage for some users

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