The Matrix PowerWatch 2 is finally available to buy – and aims to woo those who find charging their smartwatch too much of a chore.
The PowerWatch 2 eschews traditional charging in favor of using thermoelectrics – and it turns your body heat into power for the smartwatch. The second generation offers GPS, heart rate monitoring, water resistance to an improved 200 meters, and a full-color display.
The problem with the original PowerWatch was a lack of features – but the new version uses solar to offer more power for these big new smarts.
There's a solar ring around the display that will convert sunlight into energy. That, partnered with the already-proven thermoelectric power, means it'll be awfully difficult to run out of power.
In fact, Matrix co-founder and CEO Akram Boukai told Wareable that it's possible that the PowerWatch 2 could never die, which is especially good for the watch's new sleep tracking ability.
Heart rate and GPS
The new heart rate monitor and built-in GPS mean the PowerWatch 2 is a much better fitness companion. Matrix is also working on tying heart rate data to its calorie counting data, which was already pretty accurate thanks to it being able to detect your body heat.
Boukai says Matrix is also working on automatic workout detection for running, cycling and swimming, which will come in a firmware update post release.
The Garmin Fenix-like industrial design of the original has also been tweaked. It's now got rivets and grooves to look even more rugged. You'll also control it differently, with four buttons rather than a crown.
We got some hands-on time with the PowerWatch 2, and while it wasn't a final unit (you'll see that the north indicator on the compass dial is actually east) it worked pretty well. The display isn't Apple Watch quality, but it was bright enough as we were playing around with it in an office.
The biggest thing is how light the PowerWatch 2 feels. Despite being around the same weight as the original PowerWatch, it's 1mm thinner at 14mm, which makes a surprising difference.
That's largely thanks to Matrix finding ways to slim down its thermoelectric technology to pack in features like heart rate, GPS and solar power. What we weren't able to try out was much of the software, or the new iOS and Android companion app, which includes Google Fit and Apple Health support.
The PowerWatch 2 has shipped to Indiegogo backers and is now available to buy for . We're starting our review and will have a full verdict in the coming week. Watch this space.