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

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.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

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

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