For their many benefits, one of the major drawbacks of a smartwatch for some is that most tie in to a very specific design aesthetic—something more akin to a Swatch than a formal watch. These colourful designs are super for some, but if you’re looking for a smartwatch that’s a little more adult in its looks, then Martian might have just the thing.
The Martian Passport packs all the technological punch that you’d expect from a top-of-the-line device, but comes in a design that’s far more directly aimed at the more discerning customer. This is a smartwatch that you could happily wear to the office, or out to dinner. Elegance in technology is all too often concerned with highly polished plastic or brushed metal, but the Martian Passport is more concerned with the elegance of years gone by. The clean angles of the face of the watch and the high-quality leather strap certainly evoke something of a feeling of early-twentieth century class and style—and it’s very welcome. However, this isn’t just a good-looking nostalgia piece. Going beyond the aesthetics of the Passport reveals a high-tech device that can quite capably compete in the ever-expanding smartwatch market.
Whilst many smartwatches boast the ability to keep you informed about what is going on with your mobile phone—when you receive a text or a phone call, for instance—the Martian Passport goes one step further. With an unobtrusive directional speaker and noise-cancelling microphone built in to the very watch itself, you can operate your smartphone without it ever leaving your bag or your pocket. It’s a simple matter of using the same voice commands that you’re already familiar with on your phone, but using the microphone in your watch instead. Say you receive a phone call; a notification will appear on the face of your watch (accompanied by a ringing tone if you prefer) and from there you can answer, converse and hang up solely through the ue of your smartwatch. Need directions? Simply ask your Passport. Even a web search is only a few words away, and your watch will report back with its findings. In fact, the Passport has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that serve to make your smartphone more useful. Should you misplace your phone, since your watch is linked to it you can ‘call’ it to find it easily. The Passport can also be used to control your phone camera, making struggles with timer settings a thing of the past.
Of course, the challenge of having such a fully functioned smartwatch is how well it integrates with your mobile phone. Pairing the device with your Android or iOS smartphone is a very simple and quick process, and from that point on everything it very straightforward. Two buttons on the left hand side of the watch face take care of just about every interaction you’ll need to carry out with your phone without voice control. The top button answers phone calls, ends phone calls and initiates voice commands, and the lower button rejects calls and allows you to access your Martian’s menu. A small LED on the watch face notifies users with a different coloured light when their phone communicates with the device—green for an incoming call, red for a low battery and blue for an app notification. It’s a very simple system, but it communicates all the information a user would need instantly and doesn’t detract from the look of the watch.
Similarly, the UI design of the Martian Passport is very in-keeping with the ethos of the product. A clean, easy-to-use interface is key for any tech product, but when you’re talking about one with only the screen space of part of a watch face to contend with, it’s even more important that the space is put to good use. Thankfully, the choices that the team at Martian have made all come together to make their line of smartwatches very pleasant to use. With space at a premium, information relayed to you via the watch face is condensed down to the most important details; who’s calling me, who sent that text and the like. The more in-depth information is left for the built-in speaker to deal with, and it does its job very well. It’s just loud enough for personal use, and sound quality is more than acceptable—although this is a primarily a speaker that’s meant to be functional in a very small device, rather than something that offers pristine audio quality.
The most attractive thing about the Martian Passport’s UI is just how well the clock face and the notifications from your smartphone integrate together on the same small screen. Sometimes a smartwatch can seem like it’s serving two masters, but the elegant design of the physical form of the Passport translates over to its interface to make sure that’s not the case here. By making the clock face itself slightly more squat, the Passport retains the same dimensions you would expect of a traditional watch whilst making sure that its dual purposes don’t step on one another’s toes. Smart typeface choices and stark iconography do their part too, making the watch face very legible, very informative and very attractive. The Martian Passport doesn’t compromise between style and function; it does both, and it does both very well.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that gives you access to all the functionality of your smartphone as well as having the look of a luxury timepiece, then the Martian Passport is well worth looking into. The appeal of a device that’s this attractive as well as being very practical is rather undeniable, and the Passport really does deliver on its promises. You can purchase your Passport from the official Martian Watches web store, with the model discussed in this article retailing for $299.99 USD. Black and white variants of the leather-strapped version are available, as well as an alternate model with a black silicone strap—a variety of other Martian Smartwatches are also available for purchase from the web store and a range of other retailers.