A Touchscreen 'Smart'watch That Doesn't Need a Phone

In a time when every company seems to be announcing a smartwatch, Phosphor has taken a slightly different approach with its Touch Time. It runs a small suite of apps, accessible on the watch's monochrome touchscreen LCD display, but what it comes with is all it will ever have. There's no wireless connectivity to a smartphone, no USB port for firmware updates, and no way to upgrade it whatsoever—save for shipping it back to the factory.

The completely lack of connectivity also means there's no need for rechargeable battery that requires a charge every week or so. Instead you'll just need to swap out the Touch Time's coin cell battery when it dies, and that should only happen around once a year. Otherwise it runs non-stop without you ever having to plug it into a wall. And that could be its smartest feature.

A Touchscreen 'Smart'watch That Doesn't Need a Phone

As far as the included apps go, functionality is pretty basic. There's a calendar that lets you browse month-by-month, but you can't add any appointments. That functionality could be handled by the Reminder app, but you're limited to selecting a month, day, and then a simple icon to define what it's about—like birthdays or other holidays. The digital equivalent of a string around your finger.

It's got other more watch-centric apps like a stopwatch, world time, and alarm clock. And being able to set an alarm using a series of on-screen taps, instead of fiddling with a series of unlabeled buttons certainly makes things easier. But otherwise, the Touch Time just barely qualifies as a smartwatch, if only because there's no set definition as to what "smart" means. Is it more functional than a traditional time and date digital watch? Of course. Will this serve as a digital personal assistant strapped to your wrist? Absolutely not. Does it satisfythe one (insane) urge that most smartwatches are designed around? Noooot really.

Being able to change your watch face from time to time is nice, but users will probably tire of the included set before long, and not being able to download new ones is kind of limiting. The monochrome display is also more than adequate for the functionality this watch offers, but the backlight is barely noticeable except in a dark room. It's obviously minimal to maximize battery life, but it's almost a non-feature given it's so dim.

If you like the idea of a smartwatch, but would prefer to tiptoe into upgrading your timepiece, at $159 the Touch Time isn't horrendously pricey. However, given you can get the Pebble for about $150, it makes the Touch Time seem a little on the expensive side given its incredibly limited functionality. If you completely abhor the idea of having to charge yet another device at night though, and yet demand a smart(er)watch this could be the solution for you. Or, just stick with slipping your phone out of your pocket whenever you need the time. [Phosphor]