A year ago, I was extremely psyched about the Kreyos Meteor smartwatch. It had a lot of great features that made it more than just a wrist notification device, which most of the smartwatches on the market at the time were. Kreyos claimed they had a working prototype and basically just needed the cash to put it into production. The features, and claimed timeline sold me so I went ahead and backed the Indiegogo project.
Fast forward to the expected ship date and I got the “we’re very sorry for the delay” email. This message was followed up time and time again. Then, about eight or nine months after the first shipping date, and after many excuses, I got an email with my Kreyos Meteor’s tracking number.
I received my watch and eagerly opened the ridiculous shipping package (basically a manilla envelope with some packing tape). That should have been a red flag about what was inside, but I shrugged it off as just a sub-par fulfillment partner.
The retail packaging of the Kreyos Meteor was decent, so my high hopes started to creep back into my mind. I quickly unpacked everything, plugged in the charger and got to work pairing the watch with my phone.
The instructions were anything but clear. In fact, there are no instructions included with the watch. I downloaded the iOS app and used the step by step guide in that. I got it connected, but I had to forget and reconnect later that night as it seemed to completely stop working. Upon some online research and troubleshooting, I think it only paired to the Bluetooth LE, and not to the Bluetooth 2.0 first, then the LE. It seems like there could be a better way to do this. It was not a very favorable first impression.
The first step after connection was a firmware update. It took a few tries and a bit of time, but I realized it was important, and I waited (mostly) patiently for it to finish.
The watch face is a detachable little box. It’s not huge, but no one would call it small. It can be snapped in place on a watch band, belt clip or lanyard. I have both a watch band and belt clip. The band makes the thing rather bulky on your wrist (full disclosure: I have skinny wrists). It definitely looks like a piece of technology and not a nice watch when you’re wearing it. This is something all smartwatches up to this point have also suffered from.
The big buttons make it easy to push them without a lot of effort, but I had to stumble upon the button descriptions via Google (they are not easily found from the Kreyos site). This is where a small instruction sheet in the box would be quite useful.
I tried to pull up Siri from the watch (a feature I was very excited about). While I could get to the voice command screen, it did not seem to actually respond to any voice commands. I tried activating Sir from the phone, and she did listen from and reply from the watch. That said, the microphone must suck because it did not recognize even close to what I was saying, and Siri’s voice response via the Meteor’s speaker was not discernible. The hardware for these seems to be really cheap. Maybe this has something to do with the software controlling it, but I’m not holding my breath. I’d like to know the specs on what is actually inside this thing. It doesn’t feel like it’s the same as what they advertised.
Speaking of software, the iOS app is extremely buggy. It hangs, crashes and is all-around unresponsive at times. The watch’s system responds to button presses without too much delay, so at least it’s got that going for it? The watch includes a series of analog-esque and digital watch faces to choose from, a stopwatch, timer, calendar (although it doesn’t seem linked to your phone’s calendar), activity, sports, music and settings. It appears the watch is sending “step” data to the app on the phone, but I’m not sure of its accuracy. It seems a bit inflated to me.
When the watch actually receives notifications, it buzzes for a really long time. I’d really like to be able to customize the buzz length. Perhaps in a software update, we could even customize rhythms for different types of notifications. Many notifications seemed to never show up, and occasionally old notifications showed up hours later. The notifications also seem to fully ignore if a phone is do not disturb mode. My phone automatically goes into this mode while I sleep at night. My watch, however, buzzed through the night. That’s just unacceptable. There’s clearly a lot of bugs that need attention. You’d think with an extra nine months, they could have put a little more effort into making this thing work better. The latest version of the iOS app seems to fix some (but definitely not all) of the connectivity issues. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they can resolve the rest of the issues very soon.
I’d also like to see a way to manage notifications. It’d be useful to have a way to exclude certain things from buzzing your watch. For example, someone checking-in on Swarm is nice to know, but doesn’t call for the attention a new text message does. This might be an Apple API limitation, but having the ability review a notification on the watch, and having it then be marked read on the phone would be useful too.
Overall, I can’t begin to describe how disappointed I am in the Kreyos Meteor. It doesn’t seem to deliver on most of what was promised, and after such a long series of delays, I can’t help but feel bitter about it. This watch is not worth the price; maybe not even half the price. The hardware seems a lot cheaper and incapable of delivering on all the features promised in their campaign. At this point, anything that set the Meteor apart from the Pebble doesn’t actually work, or behaves so poorly it might as well not work. They need to spend some serious time on the software and get it to the users fast. It’s going to be extremely difficult to recover from all the bad impressions the Kreyos Meteor is giving customers.
I’ll be anxiously awaiting the new players in the smartwatch market. Maybe someone like Motorola or Apple can finally bring a smartwatch worth owning to market; Kreyos certainly has not done so.
Did you get a Kreyos Meteor? Tell me about your experience in the comments.