The gadget: The PHOSPHOR brand E-Ink Watch. It's the world's first dual analogue and digital watch with its digital display background appearing in E-Ink. It's like a Kindle that only tells time.
The Price: $US250
The Experience: The watch has a simple, retro design that can easily dress up to a collar or down to jeans and a nice tee. The stitched leather band is hefty—and it needs to be—because the watch itself reminds me of my thick, inherited pocket watch that once belonged to my grandfather.
While the watch has analogue hour and minute hands, the face is an E-Ink display. This display can swap between a white background with black numbers and a black background with white numbers. The black version is pretty slick, though the large, permanent "E-Ink" writing on top ruins the effect a bit.
To swap between the styles, you just hit a button and wait for a moment as the watch refreshes. It's so easy, we then wondered why the watch didn't come with more preprogrammed face designs. Because while you can choose to eliminate all of the analog-style hours and hashes, you're really only tweaking their generic base option. Why not include some more intricate designs, or just more designs period?
Also, while the watch automatically refreshes the E-Ink to update the digital display, the second hand never lined up with the display. It's a small point, but for watch enthusiasts, it's an important one. The Verdict: For $US250, the PHOSPHOR E-Ink Watch isn't a bad purchase for those who enjoy their geek gear. But given the missed opportunities—not just technically, but stylistically—we'd wait for the next version. [phosphor]