Preview: LunaTik iPod nano watch conversion kit (Verdict: awesome)

Preview: LunaTik iPod nano watch conversion kit (Verdict: awesome)

Summary: I've been testing a pre-production sample LunaTik iPod nano watch kit and love it. The trade-offs are worth the convenience of having all my podcasts, audiobooks and music with me.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Apple, Mobility
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In November I posted a round up of some of the watch conversion kits that have come to market since Apple announced the diminutive, sixth-generation iPod nano on September 1, 2010.

Gallery Tour: Watch my nano - An early look at the LunaTik

My favorite nano watch to-date is the LunaTik, which smashed the pledge record on startup site Kickstarter.com by raising almost $1 million (the goal was $15,000).

I've been testing a pre-production sample LunaTik for the last few days and wanted to share some of my initial feedback.

The first thing that you'll notice is that the Lunatik is large and in-charge. The iPod nano itself is slightly large as a wristwatch, and adding the LunaTik's aluminum frame adds a little extra bulk (but not much weight). It's definitely not a deal-breaker, but you should be aware of it if you have small wrists.

My LunaTik was extremely solid and well-polished for a pre-production sample. I assembled it with the included allen wrench and it fit the nano like a glove. The watchband is constructed of silicone rubber and not a cheap plastic like most watchbands. The extra louvres cut into the watchband do double-duty as vents to keep your wrist cool. Make sure that you watch this video of LunaTik manufacturing process and pay attention to how they make the pasta, I mean wristbands, at around the 04:40 mark.

In actual use, the LunaTik makes an amazing, multitouch watch, media player, pedometer, FM tuner and photo browser. The only problem with the watch part is that it goes to sleep. This means that you can't just look down at your watch and tell the time. You have to press the sleep/wake button to wake it up.

This isn't a flaw of the LunaTik, but rather a feature of the nano software designed to save battery life. Surprisingly, v1.0 of the nano software doesn't have an Auto-Lock option in the Settings app to set the screen timeout interval like the iPhone and iPod touch have. Maybe in the next update.

Also, It would be cool if I the nano could automatically wake up when I lift my arm to look at my watch, but alas, no dice. It does, however return to the analog clock face when you wake it up, courtesy of the Time On Wake setting. Update: @parkerdigital reminds me that the nano has an accelerometer, so there's hope for a "wake on lift" feature yet.

Headphone jack clearance is generous (the port created by the watch tapers out) but you still have to be careful with headphone jacks. The jack on Apple's white earbuds is very thin and fits the LunaTik port easily, but earphones with wider housings on the 3.5mm jack may have a tough time fitting. The wider jack on the end of my Etymotic ER4 earbuds fit in the opening, but barely.

If you listen to some form of audio content for more than an hour every day (as commuters and gym rats do) a dedicated audio player is easy to justify. And wearing a player on your wrist reduces the devices that you have to carry to zero, which is extremely convenient. I've been using my LunaTik review time to catch up on podcasts and audiobook and absolutely love it.

It certainly isn't perfect and the nano software is still in its infancy, but it's extremely cool to have all of your tunes/podcasts and audiobooks on your wrist. My complaints are relatively minor and are worth the trade-off for the convenience of having all my podcasts, audiobooks and music with me -- without having to bust out my iPhone.

Although the TikTok and LunaTik Kickstarter project is now closed you can still sign up for information and pre-order the LunaTik ($69.95) and Tiktok ($34.95) for delivery in "late January."

Gallery: Watch my nano - An early look at the LunaTik

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

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11 comments
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  • RE: Preview: LunaTik iPod nano watch conversion kit (Verdict: awesome)

    Only because it's designed around an already awesome Apple Product.
    james347
  • I'd rather carry something in my shirt pocket.

    OK, I'm not big on wrist watches but that thing looks huge.
    Mac Hosehead
  • What this really needs

    I also think this is a step in the right direction. As someone who wore those Casio multi-function watches in the 80's and 90's, I appreciate the fact that the space on your wrist is most valuable and deserves a device that can do more than just tell time.

    But they also need to create a display mode that allows you to display day/date/time for multiple time zones simultaneously. As a frequent traveler, that would be a huge help.
    NJSteveK
  • How does it do on hand washing?

    Does it protect the Nano from water? If not, then no sale... I get my watch wet when I wash my hands. And I wash my hands at least 20 times a day.

    Not to mention, I'm not a fan of having my ear buds emanating from my wrist. For jogging/running or walking or even sitting still, it would irritate the heck out of me.
    i8thecat
    • Great point

      @i8thecat I was thinking of ordering one of these, but this hadn't occurred to me. I wash my hands all the time, too.
      lostarchitect
    • RE: Preview: LunaTik iPod nano watch conversion kit (Verdict: awesome)

      @i8thecat

      Tag line - Apple Nano. Turn it into a watch. But only if you DON'T wash your hands frequently!
      mstrsfty
  • Needs bluetooth

    I would end up duct taping the headphone wire to my arm, and my arms are waaay too hairy...
    jred
  • Doesn't beat the beer opener

    I have tried several bands, iWatchz and Richard Tracy Brand, and loved things about both. The clean simplicity of the iWatchz allows the cable to disappear under my jacket sleeve and over my shirt (less catching of the cord that way.) The button orientation also looks sharp as the curved side of the Nano rolls off the band like it was designed to be a watch.

    The Richard Tracy band is awesome for whole other set of reasons. Mainly the build quality of the unit is solid. The body is made in America but the leather band comes from China. I don't like the rotated layout which limits access to the buttons and wraps the cord in a weird way but the built in beer opener is freakin rad! I bought a pair of flip flops for that reason but my wife would never let me open her beer for her and I can't say I blame her. You guys with the hand washing fetish could probably relate too. Now with the beer opener tucked under my Nano, she is drinking a lot more beer which is just a good thing for everyone.
    ktpett
  • RE: Preview: LunaTik iPod nano watch conversion kit (Verdict: awesome)

    Check out this cool new gadget (on a site similar to Kickstarter) for iPhones, Android phones and Flip cameras (http://www?.indiegogo?.com/Mobil?e-Video-Ac?cessory). This would be a wonderful product to use to make your own video report on the show. I pre-ordered one from the campaign site.
    Dechka
  • This watch is so effing amazing. It can even make you macaroni and cheese.

    This watch is so effing amazing. It can make you macaroni and cheese.
    nchosa
  • RE: Preview: LunaTik iPod nano watch conversion kit (Verdict: awesome)

    I've got this setup, and while it's a bit dorky looking at times, it is quite practical. I found a sweet bluetooth module that allows me to wear wireless headphones for running and works relatively well. With the 1.2 update to the software that came out today the additional watchfaces make it sooo much cooler.
    alanpuccinelli