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John Burke (Lanhoj)
Worked at Electronic Arts
Lived in Montreal quebec
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John Burke (Lanhoj)

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Martian Notifier Opinion

First-off, I’ll say I wasn’t expecting much. I mean, I remember a couple years ago when it was an upcoming Smartwatch I liked the idea of a Smartwatch that looked like an actual watch but had a touch of “smart” features included. I quickly forgot about it though when more Wear devices came out & its price definitely didn’t help keep me interested.

Also, for the price I ended up paying (admittedly a couple years after it was released_) on Amazon felt like it would be a piece of crap. You can get Chinese ones that have next to no traction on Amazon for more than 30$, so what was I to expect, right?

I was definitely wrong!
There’s not a whole lot to say about it. It looks like a “traditional” watch in that the analog hands are actual hands.
The only other feature it’s got is the small display at the bottom & thats where the “smart” features come into play.

Personally, the single most important feature of a Smartwatch is the ability to handle Notifications well.
For me, all the other features a Smartwatch may or may not have are secondary to its ability to track Notifications.
The Martian Notifier does this & does this quite well.

It of course is a Listener Service & therefore has access to any Notification that appears on your phone’s Status Bar.
You can filter the list to only display the ones you deem “important”, but the main thing here is it has access to all of them (which not all Smartwatches with Listener Service support do).

That’s pretty much it. I mean, it displays Notifications & for Apps that have Actionable Buttons, you can tap the top/bottom buttons on the watch to perform said action (after you’ve updated the watch’s firmware).

Updating is one area that’s a little disappointing.
You can’t do it straight from the watch or even from the phone’s companion App.
You instead need to connect it to a computer & update that way. Not a huge deal-breaker, but was kind of annoying.

Another thing that was annoying was the initial setup.
It defaults to pair with iOS.
In order to be able to pair it with an Android device, you need to go through the watch’s menu & select “Android”
Again, not a huge thing, but definitely annoying to figure out.

Lastly, while the vibration & LED indicator are good & the watch allows you to both set a delay & reminder (that repeat a Notification after an adjustable period of time if it’s still unread), once the Notification has scrolled through the display on the watch, it’s gone.
There’s no way to scroll back to it.
It doesn’t collect them & give you a way to look at them later.
I can see why they didn’t, given how small the display is & that’d maybe be a challenge, but still, kinda wish it was available.

Other than that, once you’re paired & have the update installed, there’s really deal-creakingly nothing negative for me to say. It’ll just work the way you’d expect it to.
It’s a Smartwatch I paid 30$ for & I’d be fine having paid up to 99$. It’s simple, somewhat elegant & it does what it’s supposed to do.

Now, Martian does have a few other models priced at significantly more (200-300$) with the same features just in a more elegant exterior.
Would I recommend those? If you’re a watch-person with no experience in Smartwatches but want to see how useful Notifications can be, sure.
However, personally I’d say grab the Martian Notifier.

Everyone should have a Martian Notifier. It’s 30$. Even if you only wear it on weekends or once a month, it’s only 30$.
Do it! You won’t regret it.
Perryn Andrews's profile photo79stanger “Scout”'s profile photoJohn Burke (Lanhoj)'s profile photo
That's why I said 30-99$ is fine but the original asking price (which I believe was 199$) would be too much.
Fantastic for the 30$ though.

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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That's one way to get views, +BuzzFeedVideo​...
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Well, you know how popular the Ninja Turtles are.... HAHAHAHA! 

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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Would you be interested in renting a Smartwatch?

I'm thinking of starting a Smartwatch rental service & here's how it would work:
1) pick any Smartwatch
2) pick how long you want it for
3) I send it out with its charging cable & confirmation it's functional
4) when the rental period is up, you send it back using the prepaid envelope
Simple as that.

Pricing would be:
> flat 15$/wk for any model or 50$/mos
> 10$ shipping (covers both directions)
> additional replacement fee if it's lost or returned irreparably damaged

My thinking is not everyone knows if a Smartwatch will work well with their lifestyle, but are still curious.
I'd like everyone to be able to find out at a minimal cost.
If after a week you decide you don't want one, all you're out is 25$.
It could also be useful to smaller Devs that can't afford to buy a bunch of Smartwatches to test on, so this would give them that opportunity.

Sure, people can use Amazon & get a full refund within 30days, but I can't compete with that, plus, there's only so many times Amazon will let you refund before they cut you off 😜

So, would you be interested?
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My biggest concern is of course, theft.
Not something I'd like to need to worry about, but it's the unfortunate reality of the world today.
I'm currently looking into my options.

There's of course the option to have a pre-authorized amount (that would cover the replacement cost) added to each rental order which would then get removed once the Smartwatch is returned to me & confirmed to be in working condition.
However, that would pretty much negate the usefulness of the service, since likely a lot of the Users don't have the 200-600$ available to purchase so they wouldn't want funds tied-up in a pre-authorized payment.

So, the alternative is to myself get an insurance policy that would cover the value of all my inventory.
However, that's not really satisfactory either since if people start stealing them left & right I'd be left waiting on insurance claims to refill the inventory and my insurance rates would go up.

So, I don't really know.
Any ideas/suggestions?

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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A perfect collection of 10 round / 10 square Smartwatches (only counting the ones that "live" in the case").

We'll see how long the "perfection" lasts (spoiler: it won't for long)...

Can you name all 20 from top-to-bottom?
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+John Burke but I got 18/20 that's pretty good 

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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I'll have a write-up tomorrow, but so far, I'm liking the Gear S2 Classic 4G (left) even after using the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE (right) as my primary Smartwatch since November...
Joeri D's profile photoJamie Jankowski's profile photoJohn Burke (Lanhoj)'s profile photo
The Urbane using the iOS' Wear App can, though it wouldn't functional as well as it does when paired with an Android device, +Jamie Jankowski​.

As for the Gear S2, I don't see a Gear Manager App in iTunes (though I recall reading they were working on one), so nope.

Either way I'd recommend pairing them with an Android device.

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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It's that time again, time for me to get a new ringtone, so thanks, +Good Mythical Morning​! @14:18
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It's pig colon, very tasty braised. Really.

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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Happy Thursday...
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And are you happy? 
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John Burke (Lanhoj)

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They'll go well with my Pebble Time Round...
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+John Burke awe now I got a bad picture in my brain! Get it out please get it out! 

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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Taking this one for a's got a unique/nice way of collecting Notifications, I'll give it that!
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+John Burke Initial thoughts? 

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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Samsung Gear S2 Classic 4G Opinion

Right off the bat, I'll say I wasn't expecting much.
I already have the Gear S2 Sport & that one was a big disappointment.
However, I was willing to put those experiences aside & give this a try to see if Samsung had fixed what I didn't like about the S2 Sport.

So, what didn't I like about the Sport? It was a mixed-bag.
Battery life - great
Gesture detection - top-notch
Bezel-based navigation - very satisfying
Update process - faster than Wear
Charger - like the Moto 360 so was good (for those looking to use it as a dock, I wasn't)

Seems like a lot to like, right?
Sure, there really is a lot to like, however, the downsides, while fewer, have a much larger impact on my overall opinion of it.
Screen size - noticeably small
Bands - rubbery (though it was expected since it's a sport model so I can't really knock it for that)
Notifications - deal-breakingly awful - they'd only appear if the watch's display was on when it arrived, otherwise, they simply wouldn't appear.

It's a Smartwatch & for me, the most important feature is Notifications. If a Smartwatch can't accurately track Notifications, it's useless for my day-to-day.

After having such an awful experience with Notifications on the Sport, I was hoping Samsung had fixed it with the Classic 4G...and... THEY HAVE!

They brought everything I liked about the Sport and fixed 2 of the 3 things I disliked - Notifications & the look.
I find the design is very nice. It's not as fancy as the Huawei, but that's about it. I prefer its look over all the other Wear devices, without exceptions.
The only thing that's left is the screen size. While it's the same as the Sport, it doesn't feel as small on the wrist.

So, would I recommend the S2 Classic 4G? Absolutely.
But, would I recommend it over the cellular-capable Wear alternative - LG's Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE? Not sure. If you've never had a Wear device, I'd feel confident in recommending it. If you're already use to/invested in the Wear ecosystem, get the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE.

For me, seeing the state of the S2 Classic 4G makes me more confident in having an alternative if something were to happen to my (2) Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE.
Would it be the exact same experience? No, however, it'd be a very fair compromise & similar experience. Much more confident than I thought I'd be after my experiences using the S2 Sport last year.

So, are you looking for a cellular-capable Smartwatch?
If so, I'd say either the Urbane 2nd Edition or the S2 Classic 4G are both great choices.
If not, you really should be - it's where Smartwatches (the way Google & Samsung are using it, not the way some use a full version of Android on your wrist making it a completely separate device from your phone) are headed, IMO. 

John Burke (Lanhoj)

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Not everything needs to be Android Wear, right?
Taking this one for a quick spin...
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+Harry Elliott Played with one when they were new, the hands being off center drove me nuts. But $33 isn't bad.

I ended up getting a MyKronoz ZeClock a while back for a little less. Think Martian Envoy. I have been trying to get my hands on a sample BTW-B6 smartwatch from Guangzhou JEDY in China. No mic, no speaker, just notifications, and 3ATM rated

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Lets see how cellular-capable Wear & cellular-capable Tiezen devices compare...
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Here're my opinions on the S2 Classic 4G->
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Montreal quebec
I'll CTRL + ALT + DELETE you!
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I survived the Ice Storm of '98 in a pair of shorts & a T-shirt!
Developer of Zooper Wear
  • Electronic Arts
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  • Catan
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