Intex iRist: Affordable smartphone watch tailored for India

New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS) Domestic handset maker Intex had released its first wearable device at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai this year. The device, named iRist is now available in India for Rs.9,999.

The watch is supposed to be an affordable option in competition to the Apple Watch or the Moto 360 and here is what we think of it:

What is good?
The wearable has a decent build quality and feels compact. Coming down to specifications and keeping the price tag in mind, the iRist is attractive buy. The iRist has a bigger display (1.56-inch) than the Apple Watch which has 1.32-inch display. The Moto 360, which costs Rs.1,000 more than the iRist, also has a 1.56-inch display.

The advantages of iRist is the independent functionality of the device. It acts not only as an extended device but an independent device. The 3G-support SIM facility gives a new experience to the user. The phone’s 600 mAH battery has a backup of 240 minutes of talk time which is not much if seen from the perspective of a phone but from a wearables’ perspective it is decent. The Apple Watch has a battery of 205 mAH and the Moto 360 has a 320 mAH battery.

The iRist also comes with a cool five-megapixel camera (unavailable in all other smart watches). Clicking pictures with the camera is a fun experience especially if you want to have a fake James Bond moment. It also comes with an inbuilt assistant which works with the Internet and also Google voice. The assistant is pretty good as it picks up Indian accents too.

In terms of processing power of the watch, it is ahead of the Moto 360. It did not show any lag in running apps or switching between them. The user interface also seems to be pretty simple and users will find it very easy to adapt to the two-button control system. While the iRist has a dual-core-512 MB RAM system-on-a-chip (SoC), the Moto 360 has a single-core-512 MB RAM SoC with an internal memory of 4 GB.

The iRist, which has a decent standby battery backup, has connectivity options including Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, USB and GPS. Intex also provides a small health app to count footsteps on the watch. There is no bloatware (pre-installed unnecessary apps) that comes with the watch.

What doesn’t work for the wearable device?
There can be no argument that the watch is a little chunky and is tad heavier than most wearables available in the market. The 600 mAH battery, the SIM and SD card slot add to the fat.

The resolution on the watch is low and hence the interface of the Android KitKat that runs the watch seems to have very small fonts giving the feel that the display is smaller than other smart watches. The pixel density could have been higher to give a glossy touch or smooth finish to the display.

Another debatable issue with the iRist is its operating system (OS). The watch doesn’t use Google’s wearable OS named Android Wear. It uses Android Kitkat which is made for smartphones. The OS uses up more power than Android Wear and in the long run could pose battery issues.

On the other hand, Android Wear doesn’t support phone calls (in development phase) which is why Intex might have chosen the KitKat for the watch as they wanted to build an independent device.

In terms of storage, the iRist might be a little disappointing as it comes with 1.38 GB of usable internal storage. Intex could have extended it to 8 GB for users to enjoy more apps at the same time. Several apps have to be installed in the phone memory to run. Also, the watch faces cannot be changed except the inbuilt ones that Intex provides.

Verdict: It seems that Intex has designed this piece of tech to woo Indian consumers who have a flair for something new or different. If you are excited and want an affordable smartphone on a watch that also has a camera, the iRist is a good buy.

Full specifications: 1.56-inch display | 1.2GHz MediaTek MT6572 dual-core processor | 512 MB RAM | 4 GB internal storage (1.3GB usable) expandable to 32 GB via SD card | 5-megapixel camera | Wi-Fi | Bluetooth | GPS-A | Assistant + Google Voice | Colours: Orange, Pink and Black

(Anirban can be contacted at anirban.g@ians.in)

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