The smartwatch market has been exploding with new products lately, and while many of them look different, most are based on the same basic concept: a screen that’s strapped to your wrist and displays notifications from a connected smartphone. Today Neptune announced a new smartwatch that’s a bit different.
The Neptune Duo is a smartwatch that aims to be different that your standard smartwatch by ditching the need to be paired with a smartphone. Instead, the Neptune Hub is a band that you place on your wrist that packs a 2.4-inch touchscreen, quad-core processor, 64GB of storage, a 1000mAh battery, and a variety of sensors that include Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and an accelerometer. The device is powered by straight-up Android 5.0 Lollipop, not Android Wear.
Since it’s got all of the guts of a phone, the Neptune Hub supports 3G and 4G connectivity and can make calls, send messages, display notifications, and more. Neptune notes that the Hub can also track your fitness.
The other half of the “Duo” in Neptune Duo is the Pocket screen. The Pocket is meant to be a “dummy screen” that functions as a bigger interface for the Hub thanks to its 5-inch 1280x720 touchscreen. It can also charge the Hub with its 2800mAh battery, take photos with its 8-megapixel rear or 2-megapixel front cameras, and handle sounds and alerts using its speakers and microphone.
Neptune notes that because it runs Android 5.0, the Duo can run Android apps, which you can use on your Hub or your Pocket. And since the Pocket is just a dummy screen and all of your data is on the Hub, you can use any Pocket screen for interfacing with content or juicing up your Hub.
The Neptune Duo will launch in “late 2015,” but you can reserve one right now if this sounds like the wearable for you. If you do want to reserve a Duo, you’ve got some options available: Anyone can reserve a unit for $0 and pay $798 with the Duo ships, or you can pony up some cash now to get a discount on the final product. Paying $49 now will cut your payment at shipment time to $649, saving you $100. Pledging $199 now will reduce your shipment payment to $399, a savings of $200, and paying $498 now will reduce your shipment payment to $0, a savings of $300.
The Neptune Duo looks like an interesting device, especially when you remember that that band has a quad-core processor, battery, 64GB of storage, 2.4-inch display, and a bunch of sensors crammed into it. That said, I’m not sure how many consumers are going to be willing to ditch their smartphone for a big black device on their wrist that has a much smaller screen than their phone. And while you can view content on the Pocket screen, at that point you could just keep your regular smartphone and get an Android Wear watch, a Pebble, or an Apple Watch that’s a bit more stylish.
What do you think of the Neptune Duo? Would you rather have this product instead of your current phone and an Android Wear device or a Pebble?