Shopping for a phone watch may sound like something from a James Bond movie or a Dick Tracy cartoon, but the technology is real and available in the general consumer market. In fact, it is possible to obtain a phone wristwatch for very inexpensively that is compatible with your smart phone or a Bluetooth device (although it lacks Internet or Wi-Fi capabilities). Luxury models may cost as much as $1,000 or more and don't expect a watch phone to replace the need for a conventional cell phone. A phone watch can have practical applications however, including providing a means to make a quick call when you've forgotten your regular cell phone, if the battery on your regular cell phone is dead or if your regular cell phone is out for repairs.
As you might imagine, the majority of phone watches do not contain all the bells and whistles that your smart phone features. Don't expect Wi-Fi capabilities or even cameras on most models. However, that doesn't mean that you're stuck with a stripped down model; phone watches include many features that regular phones have, and some that stretch the limits of the imagination.
If you're nostalgic for old-school telephones, you can purchase a model with a rotary dial face that announces the time in Japanese when you dial the number 117. The watch comes in a range of colors and is less than $100. However, the watch face is extremely large, so if sleek and inconspicuous is your style, this is not the watch for you.
Another low-priced model is the Thrifty Cell Phone watch, introduced in 2010, for about $80. This feature-packed model includes a still and video camera, an audio player and recorder, multiple SIM card compatibility, Caller ID, call blocking and multiple language capabilities, including French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. However, this watch also has a hefty silhouette, and while it may look great on casual Friday, it is definitely not a watch to wear to a formal occasion.
If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can purchase a sleek model with a touchscreen and a camera. However, such models typically have low resolution displays that lack features like a video camera or a headphone jack.
High-end timepiece manufacturer Tag Heuer has also entered the phone watch arena with a model that includes a camera and Bluetooth capabilities. Like all Tag Heuer watches, this one is expensive; the price was about $6,000 in 2008.
The Cool G108, introduced in 2008, lives up to its name with its sleek face plate that displays only the time in digital numbers on n LED display. Flip the faceplate open, and the phone dial is revealed, with numerals for the dial pad etched into the lower section, and an LED display for the phone functions on the back of the watch face plate. It supports quad band GSM phone networks, has Bluetooth capabilities, a 1.3 megapixel camera and a USB port to download photos and data onto your computer.
Another incredible phone watch is the LG GD910, introduced in Europe in 2009. This sleek watch is only 13.9 millimeters thick. It features a true touchpad that alternates from a watch face to a telephone dial pad. It also has an MP3 player, true voice recognition and stereo Bluetooth capabilities. The watch also features a text-to-speech function to read your text messages out loud and operates on a 3G network.
For a phone watch that is office-worthy, the Van Der Led WM2 fits the bill. This model also features a touch screen display, Bluetooth capability and an impressive 1GB memory for data storage. The battery life is 240 hours for standby and 300 minutes for actual use. The price tag in 2008 was 300 Euros or about $471.
Besides the very bulky rotary dial watch face, watch phones are often surprisingly sleek and attractive. You can wear one like a regular watch without weighing your arm down too much, and the clock faces are often very readable. The major drawback is that you have to hold out your arm to make a call or use a Bluetooth device, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having a watch phone. However, many watch phones look like watches and are practical for everyday wear. Some of the standard features to look for are Bluetooth capability, good battery life, and either text, music or camera phone capabilities.