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By Hanleigh Daniels 25 October 2013

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Smartwatches are expected to become the next big thing and the Cookoo aims to put local users ahead of the wearable tech curb.

To start things off you download the Cookoo Time to Connect app from the Apple App Store and then pair the watch with your iPhone (done only once) over Bluetooth. Since the Cookoo utilises Bluetooth 4.0 it only works with an iPad mini, iPad 3 or better, and the iPhone 4S and up. Using the application, you can choose the features of the Cookoo you want to enable, including which notifications you wish to receive as well as controlling music playback via the device.

Unlike its rivals which include the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the Cookoo smartwatch does not boast a compact colour touchscreen, as the timepiece sports an analogue interface with a secondary digital LCD display behind the dials tasked with showing notifications. This LCD display alerts users of calendar reminders, SMSs received, social networking notifications, and missed calls amongst others. It does this by displaying various icons on screen and vibrating.  

The notification functionality does work well, but is extremely limited. For instance, it will show that you received a new email, but not provide a preview of the message or how many unread emails there are. So you just end up taking your smartphone out of your pocket for most things anyway. Luckily users can leave their iPhone in their pocket whilst listening to music since you can press the Command button to play or pause tracks or hold it to skip to the next song.

Also handy is the ability of the Cookoo to beep whenever you get out of range of your smartphone, meaning you won’t forget your iPhone ever again. If a users does lose track of their device, they can simply long press the Cookoo’s Command button which will cause the smartphone to audibly ring.

To the point

At the end of the day we found the Cookoo smartwatch to be a very gimmicky device as opposed to a must-have piece of wearable tech. It retails for R1 700 from www.mantality.co.za, which is expensive considering that you can get a Sony SmartWatch 2 packing a 1.6" (220 x 176 pixels) colour display allowing for a richer user experience and a lot more functionality for around R660 more.

PROS
Conventional looking watch design; comfortable on your wrist; excellent battery life.
CONS
No colour screen or touchscreen; highly limited notification functionality; and limited iOS device control features.
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