MyKronoz ZeTime first look: A hybrid that’s doing things differently

IFA 2017: Look ma, two hands!

After becoming the most funded European crowdfunding project ever, the MyKronoz ZeTime is here to play with the hybrid smartwatches elites.

While the choice within smartwatches has always been between full touchscreens and smart analogues, the ZeTime looks to merge these two together while still packing in fitness features and plenty of ways to customise. MyKronoz plans to ship globally in September.

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But how well does the ZeTime deliver on the hype? Well, we were on hand at IFA 2017 to get the lowdown on all things ZeTime. Read on for our initial impressions.

MyKronoz ZeTime: Design

MyKronoz ZeTime hands on: A smartwatch that's looking to play with the big boys

We'd be lying if we said the ZeTime's general design is anything we haven't previously seen elsewhere. But that doesn't mean it's an eyesore, either; this is a clean looking watch with plenty going for it.

Its 44mm case - which comes in polished silver as well as brushed black, silver titanium, pink gold and yellow gold - will perhaps be too big to call home for some wrists, but it's a comfortable fit for us. It does weigh 90g, though - thanks, no doubt, to the 12.8mm thick frame used to house the watch's internals. And while this chunk is certainly noticeable on the wrist, it's no more an issue than you'd find on the likes of the Huawei Watch, Samsung Gear S3 or one of Fossil's upcoming Android Wear devices.

Thankfully, for those looking to take a bit of the heft off proceedings, the startup is set to ship the MyKronoz ZeTime Petite in December, which is essentially the same package with a 39mm case.

MyKronoz ZeTime hands on: A smartwatch that's looking to play with the big boys

MyKronoz ZeTime Petite opens the door for those with smaller wrists

So while its general design isn't anything to go crazy about, the real draw here is the mechanical hands sitting atop the touchscreen display. This gives MyKronoz the opportunity to appeal to a wider crowd, and particularly those who want the features packed inside but not necessarily the overly tech-y look.

When the watch isn't raised or active, it looks and feels just like a regular timepiece. It also negotiates notifications and other on-screen practice in a nifty way, but more on that below.

Overall, this is a strong traditional design with a refreshing innovation through the watch face. However, we can't help but feel like the 1.2-inch, 240 x 240 TFT Color screen lets the watch down slightly. When compared to the bigger brands, this is a noticeable drop-off. And not just that, it also wasn't the most responsive either - something to try out further when we review the ZeTime.

MyKronoz ZeTime: Screen and features

MyKronoz ZeTime hands on: A smartwatch that's looking to play with the big boys

How the ZeTime combines its design with its own OS is the key takeaway here. Sure you have all the usual hybrid smartwatch basics - a step and calorie counter, distance and sleep tracker, music and camera control, water resistance up to 5ATM and notifications - but it's how this is all presented through the watch face.

Instead of the mechanical hands leaving you blind when a notification pops up, expanding a message immediately spins the hands the 3 and 9 o'clock hands with the text wrapping around. It's a well thought out feature that worked consistently during our brief play-through.

And for those who want to use the ZeTime as an exercise companion, there's also a 3-axis accelerometer and a heart rate monitor in store, though we can't yet speak to the accuracy of its health applications.

One of the benefits provided through its design is also its battery life - MyKronoz claims that users can expect up to 30 days in its watch mode, while smartwatch mode will give you three days. Not too shabby. Again, more on these claims once we get chance to put the ZeTime through full testing.

MyKronoz ZeTime: Initial impressions

MyKronoz ZeTime hands on: A smartwatch that's looking to play with the big boys

The ZeTime struck a chord with the crowdfunding community, and for good reason. This is an innovative hybrid smartwatch that offers potential punters nice customisation options - something that isn't always present when dealing with startups.

The build is solid, the design is complimented by the MyKronoz OS and it doesn't skimp on features. It's not going to replace your Apple Watch any time soon, of course, but for those looking for a different take on the hybrid watch at a mid range price (it starts at $199.90) this is certainly a viable option to consider.

We look forward to having a more in-depth look at the device in a few weeks time, so stay tuned for our full review.

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