Posts by anri@lifeq.com

Sleekgeek review of the 1Life Pulse offering

September 3rd, 2020 Posted by News Story, Press Release 0 comments on “Sleekgeek review of the 1Life Pulse offering”

Over the past 8 weeks, our founders Elan and Eric have been testing the new 1life Pulse offering from 1life Insurance and posting about their experience in the community. Today they review their experience in detail.


We love it because the goals of 1Life Pulse strongly align with what Sleekgeek is trying to achieve with our vision – inspiring everyday real people to make better lifestyle choices and improve their personal wellbeing.

“We can’t all be athletes or go to the gym, especially now with social distancing – but we can all do the activities of ‘life’ well and this is what the 1Life Pulse product and eco-system encourages,” says Laurence Hillman, CEO of 1Life.

“We want to help ordinary South Africans on a journey of positive change, helping them make better choices around their wellbeing and to be rewarded through real-time increases to their life insurance every month.”

In a nutshell: If you sign up and take the actions necessary to improve your wellbeing you can grow your cover up to an additional R200,000! Plus you get a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, chipped against your life insurance policy to track it.

In this review, we will elaborate on how the product works in practice and what we loved about it.

The Watch

At Sleekgeek we love to geek out about the techy side of things, so let’s take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch.

This is the watch that all qualifying new 1Life policyholders receive to help them grow their life insurance cover by making better healthy lifestyle choices.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

This is seriously a top-end smartwatch with a beautiful display, more than 30 different workout modes, a heart rate and ECG sensors, as well as stress and sleep monitoring.

The watch gives you precise health insights into things like your heart, activity levels, and sleep, and so much more in a clear and sophisticated manner.

My personal experience using it? – Eric

It’s FUN! Like, really fun!

For more than 10 years now I’ve been focusing on my health and fitness every single day. Things inevitably get a bit boring after a while… But using the Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch has breathed new life into my goals and daily routine.

I love the simple added bonuses too, such as the prompts to get up and move around every hour or so.

You can find out more about the nitty-gritty specs of the Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch over here on the Samsung website.

My personal experience using it? – Elan

I am very aesthetically focussed and I have never liked how most ‘fitness’ focussed devices are shaped or styled. They look like fitness devices and I have always found that limiting or one dimensional. You cannot wear them as easily to the boardroom or on a date as when you are out for a long run.

Often when we partner on projects and there is a device involved to test I am a little nervous that I will not enjoy wearing it. Not this time. I love this watch shape and aesthetic look – and will happily continue wearing it after this review is done.

On the flipside most ‘smart watches’ are full of features but not always appropriate to meet my health and fitness needs.

I found the Galaxy 2 Active was a perfect marriage for my healthy lifestyle. Sexy, light to wear and perfect to track my runs, workouts and health.

It is a beautiful watch and I feel proud to wear it for any occasion. I found a sophisticated watch face on the app store and that rounded off the experience for me.

As someone who has only owned ‘fitness’ watches or trackers, this was my first experience with a smartwatch and I have been blown away with all the additional features.

I love the clear full colour display and the universe of apps and smart functions I have access to. It’s opened a new world to me beyond tracking my activity and heart rate trends.

So far the battery has also performed well for me.

Get a 1life Pulse quote

The App

As part of the 1Life Pulse policy, you get access to the VeoSens App.

VeoSens, developed by Samsung and LifeQ, brings life insurance, technology, and science together in a simple way to help you make better health choices.

Every day, you’ll wake up and know exactly what to work on in order to grow your wellbeing, improve your scores, and get even more life insurance cover from 1Life.

This is all connected to and tracked by your Samgsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch.

When you first start using VeoSens, you’ll need to wear your watch at least 18 hours a day for 7-10 days so that it can track your behaviour and calculate your initial scores.

While you won’t see your scores immediately, you will be able to see some of your stats for the day that it will use in it’s calculations. These are things such as how many intensity minutes you’ve had today (which is a measure of how active you’ve been), how many calories you’ve burned through exercise, your heart rate throughout the day, and how well you slept that night.

Over time, your healthy activities will add up to create health scores that range from 0 (very low) to 100 (excellent).

From then on, whenever you open the VeoSens app, you’ll get a snapshot of your current scores and how well you’re doing.

You’ll even be able to see how your scores have changed over the past 1, 3, or 6 months.

Most importantly, you’ll also be able to track your bonus life coverage which starts at R50,000 just for signing up and can be increased to up to R200,000 over the course of 2 years by wearing your watch and achieving good scores.

Get a 1life Pulse quote

The Scores

Let’s dig into what exactly the VeoSens scores are that 1 Life uses to assess your wellbeing and grow your life cover.

There are 4 main categories:

Activity – Your activity score is based on how active you’ve been throughout the day, compared with recommended guidelines for someone of your age and sex.

We love that rather than steps, the score is focussed on “Intensity Minutes” where you are awarded scores for light, moderate and vigorous activity. This means the intensity of your exercise adds up rather then scoring simply for moving.

Fitness – Your fitness score is based on your cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by your VO2 max, and compared with what’s considered healthy for someone of your age and sex.

Heart – Your heart health score is based on your heart rate throughout the day and your resting heart rate. It indicates your heart health compared with recommended guidelines for someone of your age and sex.

Sleep – Good sleep is vital to your health. Your sleep score is based on the consistency and amount of sleep you get.

These scores provide you with a real understanding of your current state of healthy behaviours and the influence that changes in your lifestyle can have on your overall wellbeing.

Even the smallest lifestyle changes like going to bed at a more consistent time or taking some time out of your day to destress can make a difference to your wellbeing and simultaneously grow your life insurance cover.

This is why we love 1Life Pulse. It encourages you to improve your health through small incremental changes that add up over time. So you don’t have to be an athlete or the world’s healthiest person to get a good score and receive bonus life cover.

For example, when it comes to improving your Activity Score, you’re wanting to look for ways to move more throughout the day and be less sedentary in general. Some of the things you can do is:

  • Take a daily walk at lunchtime.
  • Take a longer walk with your dog than usual.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Add an extra set to your workout.
  • Choose some kind of active fun on the weekend.
  • Stand up and move around every 1-2 hours.

Improving your Exercise Score is somewhat similar, but it’s all about increasing the intensity of your exercise a bit more than normal, such as:

  • Adding in an extra exercise session to your week.
  • Adding an extra 10 minutes at the end of your exercise session.
  • Increasing the speed on your treadmill or resistance on your bike for the last 5 minutes.
  • Turning one of your low- or moderate-intensity cardio session into a higher intensity interval workout.

When it comes to your Heart Health Score, there’s a lot that can directly or indirectly contribute to it. Some ideas include:

  • Practising positive self-talk at least once a day.
  • Exercise outdoors at least once a week.
  • Meditate or do breathing exercises regularly.
  • Spending quality time with friends or family.
  • Reducing your sugar intake.
  • Adding a meat-free day to your week.
  • Reducing your alcohol intake by adding in at least one non-alcoholic drink in between alcoholic drinks.

And then there’s your Sleep Score. My favourite. Some ways to improve your score include:

  • Going to bed just 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Setting a “shut down” alarm to remind you to start getting ready for bed on time.
  • Waking up at the same time every morning without snoozing.
  • Avoiding electronic screens 1-2 hours before bed.
  • Avoiding caffeine after 2pm.
  • Doing a gentle yoga, meditation, or deep breathing session before bed.

These are all example of DOABLE strategies that you can start adding into your life TODAY to both improve your health and improve your scores so that you get more bonus life insurance.

You don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle overnight. You don’t have to become a completely different person and say goodbye to all of the fun or enjoyable things in life. You just have to start moving forward in the right direction. These tiny changes, when done consistently over time, add up to massive results.

Get a 1life Pulse quote

Growing Your Life Cover

The beauty of this program is that it is extremely reasonable and doable to grow your life cover. One does not have to run marathons or exercise themselves into submission to keep earning. One does not have to be the epitome of health to increase coverage either. Progress is all that is required.

Perfect for everyday people just try to be healthier.

Without over simplifying or going into too much detail one already earns a large portion of the additional coverage available simply by participating and staying engaged with the program.

You win right at the start too. In fact, as soon as they take up cover, they earn an immediate R50 000 towards their life cover.

Next just by signing up, downloading and activating the VeoSens App by Samsung and LifeQ, policy holders can start growing their life insurance. 1Life Pulse is a sophisticated lifestyle monitor and management system that tracks and guides heart, activity and sleep – monitoring overall wellbeing.

Every time you choose to get a little extra sleep or go for a walk, for example, you’re likely to grow your life cover by up to R216 per day, or up to R6 560 per month, starting from day one.

At the end of each calendar month you will receive your additional cover and see your cover grow on the app.

Each time the watch is strapped on, policy holders can grow their additional life cover in two ways; 50% by simply monitoring their activities and another 50% by making positive changes. So effectively just for wearing your watch each month you will gain at least R3,280 additional coverage regardless of your performance.

Over two years, policyholders are able to grow their additional life cover by up to R200 000, as they grow their wellbeing

Something that we really like about the 1 Life Pulse program is that they don’t keep moving the goalposts further ahead each time you reach them.

If a certain score got you a certain amount of bonus coverage last month, the exact same score this month will get you the exact same bonus coverage this month.

So you don’t need to keep stretching further and further to get the same benefit, you simply need to maintain a reasonable level of healthy activity.

Overall Experience

In a nutshell we enjoyed the overall simplicity of the experience end to end. The program is simple and intuitive yet powerful and impactful.

The Samsung Galaxy 2 is a pleasure to wear, the Veosens app works in an intuitive way and as long as you participate by using the watch and make healthier improvements you WILL grow your cover – no catches and no shifting goalposts.

It is a win-win and we think the program is excellent.

Well done to 1Life and we recommend the experience.

Elan and Eric.

 

Get a 1life Pulse quote

ESET SA adopts LifeQ’s Covid-19 early warning and disease-tracking solution

September 3rd, 2020 Posted by News Story, Press Release 0 comments on “ESET SA adopts LifeQ’s Covid-19 early warning and disease-tracking solution”

Carey van Vlaanderen

LifeQ, the leading independent provider of wearable-derived health information, has announced the South African operations of ESET, a premier global cybersecurity company, to be the first customer for its Covid-19 early warning and disease-tracking solution.

With the physiologic monitoring via LifeQ’s wearable-based platform, businesses can better predict outbreaks and assist employees towards recovery by leveraging a critical early warning and disease-tracking system for Covid-19 in individuals.

After extensive lockdowns globally in response to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19, countries and businesses have to find a new set of answers to deal with the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic as part of a much needed drive to “get back to business”. New studies are released almost daily that outline the debilitating longer-term impact — even on younger people that have recovered — and the lasting cardiovascular effects and persistent symptoms after acute Covid-19. It is further clear that although a first tier of vaccines will be available toward the end of 2020, many questions remain on the safety after fast-tracked trials, and globally significant portions of the public have already indicated a reluctance toward early adoption of vaccines.

“Fortunately, the lockdowns have successfully created a new, more mindful behavioural pattern among individuals globally, and a growing range of measures are being adopted to adjust to a new normal,” said Laurie Olivier, CEO of LifeQ. Beyond the longer-term promise of vaccines, these include point-of-care testing, temperature screening, wearing of masks, social distancing, sterilisation of surfaces, PPE and symptom reporting. Olivier continued: “However, while having some prevention benefits, none of these measures is as effective as an early warning system of actual infections to prevent the spread among co-workers at offices and in manufacturing plants.”

New technologies

Businesses that cannot operate effectively on a remote basis have to go out of their way to safeguard their employees. Some businesses have been holding out in the hope that the Covid-19 threat will disappear or that a super vaccine will become available, ultimately terminating the pandemic. However, the more rational organisations are concluding that the challenge will not evaporate overnight. Therefore, adopting new technologies that could ease the anxieties of employees who would like or may need to return to office, but are rightfully scared of being infected by their colleagues.

“We owe it to our employees and our country to implement solutions to get back to business while safeguarding our staff,” said Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa. “We are proud to be partnering with LifeQ, adopting this world-class solution and ultimately working with their team to lead the way. This also shows the great potential of our country as an innovation hub – the Stellenbosch-based complement of LifeQ played a crucial role to get this solution prepared for the global market.”

A range of wearable companies are involved in studies to validate the application of their own products for pre-symptomatic screening. The challenge wearables face is the ability to comprehensively monitor the wide range of physiological parameters needed as the impact of Covid-19 varies from person to person. “No single measure like breathing rate or resting heart rate is sufficient as an effective universal screening mechanism. Also, while having suitable outputs for consumer use, most wearables lack the accuracy and fidelity of biometrics required to minimise the false positives and negatives to be an effective early warning system for Covid,” said Dr Franco du Preez, LifeQ’s chief scientist.

The LifeQ solution serves as a screening tool, and if no other explanation for anomalies could be found, would recommend the individual take a Covid-19 test. While releasing a first version of the product early that is geared to helping companies get back to business, LifeQ is testing a range of physiological streams that will add accuracy and impact to the current offering.

About LifeQ
LifeQ is the leading independent provider of biometrics and health information derived from wearable devices, used in world-leading health management solutions. LifeQ’s information and solutions are already used by Fortune 500 customers and partners in a range of wearable devices, consumer-facing health and wellness platforms, and health-risk tracking applications for the global insurance and corporate wellness industries. With offices in South Africa, the US and the Netherlands, LifeQ is ideally placed to globally deliver solutions, leveraging the convergence of new technologies and consumer and business demand for new approaches to health management.

About ESET Southern Africa
ESET began life as a pioneer of antivirus protection, creating award-winning threat detection software. Now, ESET’s goal is to make sure that everybody can enjoy the breath-taking opportunities that technology offers. Today, ESET security solutions allow businesses and consumers in more than 200 countries and territories to make the most of the digital world. Working with ethical and passionate people, ESET is building a safer technology environment for everyone to enjoy. This is being done through education and business’s commitment to research and development. ESET believes in technology – and wants to make sure that everyone can enjoy it in safety.

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MontBlancSummit2

Hands on: Montblanc Summit 2 Plus review

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Hands on: Montblanc Summit 2 Plus review”

A slight upgrade at a high price

EARLY VERDICT

The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus adds LTE to the mix, boosts the battery and makes other small changes, but is held back slightly by an aging chipset and a very high price. Still, it wouldn’t be a Montblanc if it was cheap.

 

FOR

  • Now with LTE
  • Gorgeous design

AGAINST

  • Similar core specs to its predecessor
  • Very expensive

Apple still hasn’t flattened the luxury watch market, despite its best ongoing efforts, and until it does we’ll continue to see brands like Tag Heuer, Frederique Constant and Montblanc fend off its advances with smartwatches that offer something more traditional.

The new Montblanc Summit 2 Plus, an update to the Montblanc Summit 2 that launched in 2018, tries to bring a touch of luxury to Wear OS – and throws LTE connectivity on top.

More than that, the Summit 2 Plus has been given a face lift and a few other small tweaks. Here are our initial impressions.

Montblanc Summit 2 Plus release date and price

The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus will be available from April. We only currently know the US price, which is $1,170 (roughly £900 / AU$1,780), though that’s before you factor in the monthly data cost if you’re going with LTE.

It’s a lot of cash, but remember that luxury is Montblanc’s entire USP.

Design and display

For the Summit 2, Montblanc managed to squeeze the components into a unisex 42mm case size, but going plus-sized on the specs now means bumping up the design, with the Summit 2 Plus coming in at 43.5mm, with a 1.28-inch AMOLED display.

It’s not a drastic difference to 2018’s model, but it is creeping into that larger territory which may put off some people, particularly those with smaller wrists. It’s actually a tiny bit thinner than the Montblanc Summit 2, but it’s so negligible you won’t notice it.

The watch comes in four finishes: black DLC (diamond-like carbon) steel, stainless steel, rose gold steel or bronze steel. The good news is that all four cost the same, and Montblanc is offering a variety of leather and silicone straps to mix and match with.

The black steel is probably the only option that can conjure a sporty look when combined with a silicone band; the others are a bit too luxe glam to pull it off, but they all look good and share the same raft of health and fitness features.

Features and fitness

So, there’s good and bad news here. The good news: the Summit 2 Plus comes running the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset with 1GB of RAM. The bad news: those are the same internal specs as the 2018 Summit 2, which means it’s running on the same tech as a watch that’s 18 months older.

To be fair, this isn’t the fault of Montblanc, which is technically still using the most cutting-edge Qualcomm smartwatch technology available. Qualcomm’s progress in smartwatch technology has been excruciatingly glacial and the 3100, announced in 2018, was far less of a leap forward than we had anticipated.

The better news is that the battery has been upgraded from a 340mAh charge to 440mAh, so that it can handle the extra drain of LTE.

Speaking of which, the Summit 2 Plus is an LTE watch that’s also running Google’s Wear OS, which makes it an incredibly rare breed. We’ve seen very few of these, and the ones we’ve tried haven’t convinced us.

Apple’s had more success with LTE smartwatches, but that’s largely because of the way it has weaved it into the Apple Watch software and hardware. But because every Wear OS smartwatch is a mishmash of ideas – Google’s software, Qualcomm’s chip, the watch manufacturer’s design – it doesn’t feel as elegantly put together.

At launch, LTE will only be available through Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK (along with some networks in France, Spain, Germany and China), although Montblanc told us it hopes to add more providers in the future.

We weren’t able to test out the LTE in any meaningful way during our demo, but we’re fascinated to know how it will perform in the wild.

Montblanc has also added a speaker and microphone to the side of the Summit 2 Plus, so you’ll be able to make and receive calls when away from your phone.

But we’re more interested to see how the LTE impacts battery life. Montblanc is promising a full day with the LTE running, so we’ll see. You’ll apparently be able to stretch the battery life to a maximum of five days if you enable the low-power mode, which deactivates the smart features and simply shows you the time.

While LTE is the big new feature here, there’s plenty on offer for those who don’t want the data connection. There’s a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS (also found on the 2018 Summit 2) and, like the Summit 2, Montblanc has peppered some of its own micro apps into the Wear OS experience.

The new watch comes with an app called Timeshifter, designed to give travelers advice on how to minimize their jet lag. There’s a stress-tracking micro app too, which presumably extracts heart rate variability data from the sensor.

And you’ll also get access to Montblanc’s Travel Info app, which serves up some local knowledge on any area you’re exploring.

These should give you a sense of the type of user Montblanc is shooting for. But you might also wonder… why not just call this the Summit 3?

Daniel Arfi, Montblanc’s senior product marketer for tech, told us that Montblanc worried that calling it the Summit 3 would suggest the Summit 2 is dead, when in fact it plans to continue selling that watch.

Early verdict

The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus is an undeniably gorgeous smartwatch, but it’s less of an upgrade than we had hoped for.

Without extensive testing we can’t speak to its LTE abilities, but with so few Wear OS watches offering this feature right now, we’re all the more intrigued to see if Montblanc can convince us it can work. Because if we’re honest, right now, no other Wear OS watches have.


(Image credit: TechRadar)

By 

 

MOTO 360 Smartwatch

The Moto 360 smartwatch is back, but Motorola isn’t making it

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “The Moto 360 smartwatch is back, but Motorola isn’t making it”

The 2015 hit is being resurrected.

The original Moto 360 was one of the most attractive smartwatches around when it launched way back in 2015. As the first round Android Wear watch, it made a huge impression with slick-looking wearables fans despite some hiccups at launch, but as with so many tech firsts, it gradually lost its charm. Now, however, it’s making a comeback.

In the same nostalgic vein as HMD’s revival of the Nokia, or TCL bringing back the BlackBerry, the Moto 360 has been given a contemporary makeover and is being brought back to the masses. This time around it’ll feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM, an always-on display and fast charging that’ll have it juiced from zero to 100 percent in just an hour. Plus it comes with all-day battery life and a battery-saving mode that will keep the time displayed for three days even when the battery is critical. And, of course, it’ll boast the good looks that made it so popular the first time around.

Moto 360 eBuyNow

What’s interesting, however, is the company behind its resurrection. While Nokia and BlackBerry had the likes of HMD and TCL behind their resurgence, the Moto 360 has a company called eBuyNow. It’s under license and in partnership with Motorola, but it’s still a relative unknown. Whether this will have any impact on the watch’s comeback remains to be seen — the company’s website does say that it has 15 years of experience in this area — but the real question is whether the Moto 360 can once again find favor with buyers in a market that’s now saturated with equally attractive-looking devices.

The Moto 360 will be available for $350/£340 through select major retailers this December. Pre-orders will begin in the US, Canada and the UK mid November at Moto360.com.


Rachel England@rachel_england

October 29, 2019
Tag Heuer

TAG Heuer Introduces A New Generation Luxury Connected Watch

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “TAG Heuer Introduces A New Generation Luxury Connected Watch”

FRÉDÉRIC ARNAULT, TAG HEUER’S CHIEF STRATEGY AND DIGITAL OFFICER, Hosted the launch of the new edition on March 12th, 2020 in New York.

Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, & Paulina Vega attended the immersive event in NY.

The new connected combines elegance and craftsmanship with new high-tech features for a customised physical and digital experience focused on performance.

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, SwitzerlandMarch 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — TAG Heuer pioneered the luxury connected watch segment in 2015 and with the third generation of its visionary Connected timepiece, the brand makes a design and technological statement that further solidifies its position as leader of the luxury connected watch category for the long term.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8703851-tag-heuer-connected-watch-launch/

The TAG Heuer Connected has the elegance of a chronograph-inspired timepiece crafted in the purest watchmaking tradition, with a 45-mm case in noble materials like stainless-steel titanium, ceramic or sapphire crystal, subtle polishes, mechanical pushers and a rotating crown, as well as interchangeable strap choices with a folding buckle. The all-active OLED touchscreen displays a choice of custom-designed dials, mechanical or digitally inspired.

The highlight of this new model is the immersive sports experience developed in-house, the TAG Heuer Sport app. It provides detailed tracking for golf, running, cycling, walking and fitness sessions thanks to the watch’s built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, among other sensors. The experience on the wrist is complemented by a newly developed TAG Heuer mobile companion app.

In addition, a range of daily connected services offered from Wear OS by Google will enhance the user’s daily life, including notifications, Google Assistant, Google Translate, Google Pay where enabled, music controls, agenda, weather, maps and more.

TAG Heuer’s Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Frédéric Arnault, who has led this ambitious project and built the brand’s internal technological expertise over the past two years, explains: “The TAG Heuer Connected watch was designed and engineered with the same passion and attention to detail as our mechanical watches. The Connected watch is not only a beautiful timepiece, it’s a truly immersive experience, as it now sits within a complete TAG Heuer digital ecosystem geared towards performance and sports. It expresses the brand in a completely new way and offers limitless possibilities in terms of innovation for the future and will lead the way into a new era for TAG Heuer.”

The new TAG Heuer Connected watch is available in four references and lands in select stores worldwide and at www.tagheuer.com on Friday, 13 March 2020.


NEWS PROVIDED BY

TAG Heuer 

Mar 13, 2020, 10:37 ET

SUUNTO 7 Sports and life, combined

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “SUUNTO 7 Sports and life, combined”

SUUNTO 7

wearOS-logo-grey-text-01@2x.png

Juggling your passion for sports with a busy life can be hard – you want a sports watch that is ready when you are and a smartwatch that handles your everyday. Suunto 7 gives you the best of both worlds and is designed to help you get the most out of your time. It’s our first watch that combines Suunto’s versatile sports experience and free offline outdoor maps with helpful smartwatch features from Wear OS by Google™.

Suunto 7 works with Android™ and iOS phones.


See rest of SUUNTO and LifeQ go here.

Xiaomi Watch Color

Xiaomi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Xiaomi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar”

It’s the Amazfit GTR but not as we know it

We’re all hungrily waiting for Xiaomi’s first smartwatch to hit Western shores but the company has already taken the wrappers off its second effort – the Watch Color.

It may just sound like a funky colour way for the standard Mi Watch, but the Watch Color couldn’t be more different from the original. Xiaomi teased the new watch on its site and over at Weibo.

It has a round case, bold vibrant displays and a range of straps, and Xiaomi boasts that you can mix up over 1,500 combinations. However, Gizmochina reports that you can only buy two case colours and color straps are coming after launch.

The official unveiling is set for 3 January, but specs for the Watch Color have already leaked on the usual Xiaomi-watching sites out in China.

According to Gizchina we’re set for 47mm case size, with reports of a second, unconfirmed, 42mm version.

The larger version will reportedly have a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a 454 x 454 resolution – which stacks up pretty well against the biggest, baddest screens on the market.

Gizchina also leaks that the Watch Color will last 14 days in smartwatch mode thanks to a 420mAh battery. That’s seriously impressive stuff from a device with a display as smart of the Watch Color.

But the key detail we’re going to have to wait to find out is what OS is on-board. The leaks don’t specify, so we’re going to hope that it’s packing the same forked version of Wear OS that’s debuted on the square Mi Watch. However, if the leaks are right, it seems unlikely that a 14 day battery life could be compatible with any usage or Wear OS.

As with the standard Watch there’s GPS on-board, with a heart rate monitor – and those are linked by Firstbeat’s VO2 Max algos, which offer deep biometric insights to runners. On the subject of sports tracking there’s 10 tracked activities, according to Gizchina.

Xiaomi Mi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar

So where does this all fit in? Well, it seems to be identical to the Amazfit GTR, and shares most (if not all) of the specs. And as you can see from the side-by-side, they look pretty much identical too. That’s not a hugely exciting prospect, as we gave the GTR a three-star review, thanks to the poor accuracy of the heart rate tech and basic smartwatch experience.

So it really comes down to the OS. Amazfit used its own OS which means a severe lack of apps. It looks like the Xiaomi Watch Color will go the same way. Which makes the differentiation even harder to fathom.

Amazfit is part of Huami, of which Xiaomi is also a subsidiary – but the latter certainly has a bigger brand recognition in the US and Europe, which may be part of the motivation.

We’ll update with confirmed specs as we get them.


Thursday
Xiaomi Mi Watch

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch”

It won’t get a global release until later this year, but here’s what to expect

Xiaomi officially revealed the Mi Watch in China last November, but there’s currently no word on when the Apple Watch clone will be given a global release.

To help fill the gap until it does, and to get some idea of whether this is a viable alternative to the top smartwatches arriving in 2020, we’ve got our hands on the Chinese version of the Xiaomi Mi Watch.

Remember, this is the first smartwatch to receive the Xiaomi branding, with it previously only producing the in-demand Mi Band trackers.

Read next: Top Apple Watch alternatives

There’s plenty to unpack with the first Mi Watch. Even though we can’t access the device in full, due to location restrictions regarding the companion app, we can get good feel for the design, screen quality, responsiveness and more.

Here’s everything we know so far about the Xiaomi Mi Watch – and why not check out the latest news on the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, which could be launching over the next few months.

Update: This article was originally written on 5 November when the Mi Watch was unveiled. We’ve updated it to offer more details about Mi Watch, and to include details of our first impressions.

Quick look: Xiaomi Mi Watch specs

  • 1.78-inch AMOLED display
  • 44mm case size
  • 410 x 410 display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Wear OS (with MIUI)
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
  • 8GB memory
  • LTE
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

Design

In terms of design, the watch features a 44mm square face, with a 1.78-inch AMOLED display pumping out a resolution of 410 x 410 pixels and a pixel density of 326 pixels-per-inch.

At first glance, the Mi Watch screams of an Apple Watch imitation – which is something of a modus operandi for Xiaomi. And though it is thicker, it doesn’t necessarily feel it on the wrist.

The build quality isn’t as solid as the Apple Watch – and that’s not necessarily a surprise, considering it will retail for potentially less than half the price of a Series 5 – but this does mean it’s slightly lighter.

Read more: Best cheap smartwatches for 2020

Interestingly, the case matches the first three generations of the Apple Watch, offering the same square look, but the screen is prominently rounded, more in line with the later models.

This blends into the case much less elegantly than Apple’s smartwatches, but it does also look more attractive than a square screen would.

And while it’s hard to assess overall screen quality, since the initial menus only really offer white text on a black background, the AMOLED display certainly doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about. It’s also very responsive, whether you’re swiping back or tapping through menus or using the crown to navigate.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

That crown is, you guessed it, in the same style as the Apple Watch, and can be twisted to move through menus, as too is the side-button microphone and speaker on either edge.

Internally, the smartwatch is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 platform – the latest version of its processor, though an upgraded Snapdragon 3300 version has recently been rumored.

And it has a lot to power, too, with LTE available for music streaming and voice calls when you’re not connected over Bluetooth to a phone, joining Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS for location tracking and NFC for contactless payments.

There’s a quad core processor on board that should be enough to keep things speedy, and 8GB of storage, which is pretty typical across the smartwatch world. That should offer plenty of room to store music.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

Features

When you first turn the Xiaomi Mi Watch on, you’re greeted with typical Wear OS load-up screen; the four colours start out as dots and begin to form the logo before you’re prompted in Chinese to continue.

With this being the first-ever ‘skinned’ version of Google’s smartwatch software, it does appear like it will be slightly different during setup – and the menus, like the one shown above, won’t necessarily be in the usual Wear OS style.

Leaked: Xiaomi Mi Watch Color details

The personalized skin of Wear OS, called MiUI for Watch, has been designed to enable stripped-down versions of Xiaomi apps, like Mi Home, Tasks and Maps. However, it’s not clear whether the watch will support current Wear OS apps when it lands or be paired with the Xiaomi Mi app.

That’s new territory for Google, which has previously clamped down on brands forking its smartwatch OS. But with the market now moving quickly away from Google technology – it seems like something of a gamble from Google to help Xiaomi use its OS to aggressively corner some market share.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

However, there’s more here than meets the eye.

We already know that Firstbeat has been called upon to license its technology for VO2 Max and heart rate analytics during sport. It’s the same algorithms that Garmin uses – and takes advantage of the Mi Watch’s heart rate sensor and GPS chip.

That means there should be some decent workout features to take advantage of – and body energy measurement is listed amongst the features, which should be similar to Garmin’s body battery measurement.

There’s a blood ox sensor on board, too, and the Mi Watch gets one up on Apple by including sleep tracking.

However, it’s not clear whether the pulse ox sensor will add data to the sleep tracking features, as we’ve seen on Garmin devices.

Aside from that, you can also expect the standard set of smartwatch features, such as notifications, alarms and more.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

Battery life

Despite its similarities to the Apple Watch, it actually manages to outlast the device in the battery life department –at least on paper.

Xiaomi claims the Mi Watch will manage 36 hours of continuous use, even with LTE enabled, thanks to its 570 mAh battery packed inside.

Price and availability

We’ll be testing the battery life claim during our full review, but, at least for now, the Mi Watch will remain exclusive to China, having released on 11 November for CNY 1,299. That translates to roughly $185.

At those prices, it seems like a compelling purchase – although Apple has really killed off some of the hype by reducing its Series 3 smartwatch to $199.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch is currently available on Geek Buying for around $279.99, but there’s no English version of the app yet, so we’d certainly wait for proper support.

Xiaomi has said that the Mi Watch will land outside of China officially in 2020, and we expect that to happen some time over the first half of the year.


Thursday

Revealed: South Africa’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups 2018

November 29th, 2018 Posted by News Story, Press Release 0 comments on “Revealed: South Africa’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups 2018”

After just a few weeks of calling for nominations, close to 1,000 total entries and 141 unique entries were received for the Nedgroup Investments and Heavy Chef ‘SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups’ event on the 4th December 2018. Entries were closed on Friday 23 November, and yesterday a shortlist of 12 startups were announced. Today, we reveal the final five.

Donna Barnes, head of Retail Investments, says: “A rigorous structure was followed, which entailed sifting through the total entries to create a comprehensive list of the startups in the South African ecosystem.”

This list was sent to a panel of respected investors, entrepreneurs and community members. A final tally was taken, and then the final tally was ratified by Fred Roed, CEO of Heavy Chef.

Roed says: “The Top 12 is a strong list in its own right. The group of companies represented shows a healthy diversity across sectors in technology, race and gender – which is incredibly encouraging. It was really hard to leave companies out. For example, Augmentors is a strong favourite within the Heavy Chef team. There are also some great companies coming through the ranks, such as Click2Sure.”

“Getting to the Top 5 took over a week of constant emailing between twenty people, with the Top 5 list only being finalised on Wednesday 28th November.”

“By calling for nominations, we’re shining a light on all the amazing work that is being done in this sector. This is a celebration. This is intentionally the ‘most exciting’ startups, not ‘the best’ or ‘the most profitable’.

“In looking at the finalists, it’s important to note the spirit with which this event is intended. By calling for nominations, we’re shining a light on all the amazing work that is being done in this sector. This is a celebration. This is intentionally the ‘most exciting’ startups, not ‘the best’ or ‘the most profitable’. The final five looks at representation, inclusivity, diversity, and of course technological innovation.

“It’s only the second year we’re running this concept, but we are excited by how the community is responding.”


South Africa’s Top Five Most Exciting Startups 2018:


Aerobotics

Using satelite and drone mapping, Aerobotics monitor crops and warns farmers about potential risks, scouts. The mobile app increases accuracy and saves time by planning targeted scouting trips. Farmers can receive accurate statistics for orchards with every drone flight including tree health, tree counts, individual tree size and canopy area. Benjamin Meltzer and his co-founder James Paterson are creating a global agritech business that is solving age-old problems for farmers, worldwide.


DataProphet

DataProphet is an AI startup that reduces risk in manufacturing by analysing data in factory production and uses machine learning to identify and eliminate defects and minimises downtime. Its primary product, Omni, seamlessly works on top of existing platforms and manufacturing environments. Isaac Matsa, a natural born salesman, is driving growth for this impressive startup and will be representing DataProphet on stage on Tuesday 4th December.


LifeCheq

20181204-HC-NGI-SA-Top-5-Life-Cheq.jpg

LifeCheq is making financial advice credible and authentic by moving personal financial advice from a biased, commission-based advisor to a subscription service that gives users access to a team of actuaries and experts. Co-founder Abu Addae is an Actuarial Scientist who cut his teeth at Old Mutual, and is now shaking up the industry by providing legitimate, non-biased financial advice at an accessible rate.


LifeQ

LifeQ is a world-leading science and technology company that aims to enable people from all walks of life to enjoy optimal health. LifeQ has made significant strides into international markets with its tailored health solutions. LifeQ aims to help people live longer, higher-quality lives. LifeQ’s founder Riaan Conradie will arrive in Cape Town this weekend, just in time to represent one of South Africa’s proudest startup exports.


Thursdays

eCommerce startup Thursdays (allegedly named because it was founded by Shona Macdonald on a Thursday) focuses on swimwear and lingerie for women c cup and up. Focused on empowering women in the clothing sector, this is a truly inspiring, fun and heartwarming social entrepreneur venture. Founder, Shona Macdonald, is tackling on the most challenging segments in business and has made healthy strides over the past year.

Montblanc Summit 2 is a Wear OS smartwatch for men and women

October 15th, 2018 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Montblanc Summit 2 is a Wear OS smartwatch for men and women”

The luxury brand is back with another Wear watch

Montblanc Summit 2, the first smartwatch to come packed with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip is now available to buy.

The company’s second-generation Wear smartwatch, and follow-up to last year’s Summit, is designed for both men and women, with the case sitting at 42mm – considerably smaller and friendlier than the original’s hulking 46mm bezel. Inspired by the design of Montblanc’s 1858 collection, there’s also a number of finishes to choose from: black DLC steel, stainless steel, bicolour steel and grade 2 titanium.

Hands on: Montblanc Summit 2 review

That variety in customization is extended to the Summit 2’s strap options, with 11 different interchangeable options available including calfskin, milanese steel, rubber sport and nylon. As far as physical watch features, it also finds room for a rotating crown and two pushers (buttons) above and below the crown, which can be programmed to activate your favorite smartwatch apps and features.The Wear watch is up for grabs for a wallet-busting £845, with a feature set akin to the rest of the new generation of Wear watches. That means there’ll be an improved heart rate monitor on the underside, while fitness is bolstered even further by GPS and 5ATM water resistance. An exclusive Montblanc Runnning Coach app powered by biometric data analytics firm Firstbeat is also on board too. It enables runners to track fitness levels (based on VO2max) and help build personalised training plans. Live coaching to stay on top of the right pace and running intensity also enhances its skills as a luxury smartwatch that’s built for running.

New Qualcomm tech and Wear OS extras
But what about the improvements through the new Qualcomm chipset? Well, according to Montblanc, the biggest upgrade will be in battery life. And while it’ll only stretch to just over a day in regular mode, the company is debuting a Traditional Watch Mode which claims to stretch that life up to a week by switching to a ultra-low power co-processor and showing nothing but the time.

It will, of course, run on Wear OS when in its normal state, showcasing all the recent changes Google has made to the platform. That includes the new UI redesign, which aims to make it easier to navigate the OS, and the overhauled Google Fit. The usual tricks, such as customisable watch faces and notifications with smart reply support, will also be available on the watch.

Montblanc has also includes a handful of its own apps including the timeshifter app to help minimize jet lag and help travellers adjust fast to a new time zone. That’s also joined by the Travel Info app, which aims to provide relevant local traveller information. The inclusion of NFC to enable Google Pay means contactless payments make the cut too.

You can read our Summit 2 first impressions already, but we’re hoping it will leave a better impression in the long term than its predecessor. While we had a lot of time for the luxury build and slick performance, the pretty ordinary design and lack of extras meant you could get a feature-packed Wear watch for a whole lot less.

Now, with more features on tow and a design which appeals to a wider crop of people, Montblanc has addressed some of those concerns. The company is always going to sit the expensive side, but at least now potential buyers will be receiving more for their money with the new iteration.

https://www.wareable.com/android-wear/montblanc-summit-2-release-date-price-specs-6504