While most wearable devices extend the functionality of your smartphone, there are a select few gadgets that can actually replace your handset. The $250 Goophone Smart Watch is one such device.
The wrist-worn gadget comes with its own cellular radio– meaning it doesn’t have to tether to your smartphone to make calls or access the Internet. With a 1.2-GHz MT6577 dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of memory and a 2-megapixel camera, the Goophone Smart Watch sports specs similar to an aging budget Android device.
It runs on the dated Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which is several generations behind the latest flavor of Android 4.4 KitKat. It features a 1.54-inch 240 x 240 resolution display and is capable of running apps from the Google Play Store.
Goophone is selling two variants of its wearable smartphone– a 2G edition for $249.99 and a 3G version for $299.99 on its website. The latter is the same price as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, which can only work if its tied to Samsung devices running on Android 4.3 or higher.
The $249.99 version supports 2G GSM quad-band networks including the 850/900/1800/1900MHz bands. The pricier edition, which Goophone says will be available within the next week,works with 3G WCDAM 850/1900/2100MHz bands in addition to the 2G bands listed above. Both smartwatches also support 802.11b/g/n W-Fi connections and are available in black or white.
The only other smartwatch we’ve heard of that is capable of operating independently is the $335 Neptune Pine. The smart timepiece features its own cellular radio that supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks including the 850/900/1700/1900 bands and UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA networks including the 850/1700/1900/2100 bands.
The Neptune Pine runs on a slightly more recent, but still aging, version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and runs on a 1.2-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 ARM Cortex-A5 chip. Like the Goophone, it comes with 512 of RAM but can store up to 32GB of files, which is much more than the 4GB of storage you’ll get with the Goophone Smart Watch. It also features a 5-MP camera as opposed to the Goophone’s 2-MP shooter. This is to be expected, however, considering the Goophone Smart Watch runs for between $35-$85 cheaper than the Neptune Pine.
While the technology is impressive, it begs the question as to whether or not the $300 is worth the convenience. Unless you plan on making calls from your wrist and are looking for a wearable device to replace your phone, you may want to consider cheaper options. The more affordable $150 Pebble and $199 Sony Smartwatch 2 are capable of delivering notifications and boast water-resistant functionality. Sony’s offering also lets you interact with apps at a higher level than the Pebble, which does little more than display messages, emails, and other alerts on your wrist. That being said, the Goophone and Neptune Pine could give Samsung’s Galaxy Gear some stiff competition, since the $300 gadget is held back by its limited compatibility.