A modern smartwatch can run circles around the giant desktop PCs of yesteryear when it comes to processing power, but counting how many steps you take seems like a waste of all that horsepower. Why not turn a modern wearable into a lilliputian PC, complete with an equally tiny keyboard that looks like it was hijacked from a Blackberry?
That’s what the LilyGo T-Watch-Keyboard-C3 kit is promising, and as adorable as it looks, don’t get your hopes up about what you’ll actually be able to do with this setup. The tiny computer is based around the LilyGo TTGO T-Watch 2020 V3 ESP32, and its $35 price tag tells you what it’s really capable of. It’s really nothing more than a 240 MHz ESP32 dual core microcontroller powering a 1.54-inch LCD touchscreen with a 3-axis accelerometer allowing it to do basic fitness tracking. It’s about as barebones as a wearable can get, and is really designed for tinkerers and hardware hackers who want a smartwatch they can fully customize rather than a device with a polished UI and out-of-the-box smartphone connectivity.
For those looking to turn the watch into a tiny PC (that looks like a nightmare to type on), you can buy the mini keyboard accessory, which includes an additional audio module with a mic and speaker, for $19. Alternately, you can grab it bundled with the watch itself for $55, which oddly enough doesn’t include the audio bits. You’d also need to buy the keyboard accessory in addition to the bundle to get those, which kind of defeats the purpose.
What can it do out of the box? Not much. According to the CNX Software blog, LilyGo does provide some Arduino sample code for the keyboard accessory on GitHub, but it’s extremely lacking, and anyone wanting to tinker with this kit is in for some experimentation to figure out what it can and can’t do. Could it run Doom? Yes, and that might actually be the best use for this keyboard, as playing Doom on the LilyGo TTGO T-Watch using its built-in gyro to control the game looks less than fun.