REVIEW – Olio Model One Smartwatch

REVIEW – Olio Model One Smartwatch

Olio Model One Smartwatch

From $595
Olio Model One Smartwatch
7

Overall Rating

7/10

    Pros

    • Elegant, simple, sleek, attractive luxury design
    • Attractively flush, transparent surface across 90% of the full external diameter of the watch case, which is rather unique in the smartwatch industry at the moment
    • Good build quality of materials and batch-mode physical watch craftsmanship
    • Simplified UX without a lot of apps to muck up your digital life

    Cons

    • No GPS functionality
    • No heart rate monitor
    • Customer complaints about arbitrary device rests and crashes
    • Nettlesome, quirky touchscreen

    VERDICT & RATING

    As it is now, the Olio Model One smartwatch by Olio Devices earns a rating in this review of 7.0 out of 10.

    Rating of the Olio Model One Smartwatch:

    • 0 on a 1 to 10 scale (10 = best)
    • attractive, luxury design and high build quality raises the rating by 1 point
    • simplified UI and UX, with minimalist apps approach merits industry attention and limited kudos from the global customer base and uplifts the rating by 1/2 point:
    • who amongst us is not suffering from “app fatigue”? (kudos to Olio Devices for some though leadership on this mounting ‘digital life’ issue)
    • that said, the inability for users to choose between “opting-in” or “opting-out” of apps on the Model One drops the rating by 1 full point (when in doubt, Olio, give customers the choice!)
    • lack of common features such as GPS and heart rate monitor drops the rating by 1/2 point
    • dependence on cloud processing for much of the Model One’s processing (instead of on-device/on-wrist processing) drops the rating by 1/2 point:
    • the growing susceptibility of public cloud infrastructure single point of failure events means smartwatch manufacturers should ensure a hefty measure of on-device/on-wrist processing power and activities
    • Olio Devices’ focus on stealthy avoidance of publicly available information on the electronic hardware (CPU, GPU, memory) inside the Olio Model One drops the rating by 1/2 point

    Steve Jacobs, the entrepreneurial CEO of Olio Devices describes his company as “an artisan smartwatch maker.” This is a very accurate description of the company, the team,Trusted reviews on Olio Model One Smartwatch and the product line. In fact, Jacobs himself likes to state that Olio Devices is “very much like a craft brewery and artisan coffee shop”.

    According to Jacobs, Olio Devices targets executives with huge demands on their time, people at the cutting edge, traditional watch lovers who are already experimenting with IoT watches, and even as Jacobs recounts, people who “want to change out of their Rolex to an Olio”.

    So whether Olio Devices can survive in the years ahead likely depends on how much investor money can continue to be garnered for artisanal smartwatch vendors in the post honeymoon time period after the early adopter smartwatch market peters out.

    COMPANY BACKGROUND

    Olio Model One Smartwatch ReviewSince there have been so many issues raised in the media about Olio and its product line, and since consumers need to be watchful of all startup smartwatch makers who may or may not have long legs for this rough and tumble consumer wrist market over the next 3 years. It behooves us all to take a brief overview of the company and its founder.

    When interviewed for this blog, Steve Jacobs, the founder, CEO, and product architect of the Olio brand of smartwatches stated that he was on Apple’s iPod and iPhone product design teams as well as the person who grew HP’s Premium Products Group to 45 people.

    Jacobs indicated that he started Olio because he “liked the wrist as a new tech space,” a space for which he could design “beautiful pieces of self-expression” unique to a man. From the start of the company, Jacobs and his team invested 18 months to get to an Olio smartwatch product launch in the marketplace.

    In doing so, Steve Jacobs was adamant in his view that he “didn’t want to make a [smartwatch] product that was used to sell other stuff,” as is his view of the Apple Watch and Google’s Android Wear OS for smartwatches. In this criticism of the rest of the smartwatch industry, there is some veritas, indeed.

    Jacobs went on to say that there are three ‘keystones’ to the Olio brand of ‘artisan smartwatches:

    1) craftsmanship

    2) parity with and compatibility with other platforms

    3) saving time for the smartwatch owner

    Moreover, Jacobs is admittedly focused on providing smartwatches that seamlessly integrate all the hardware, software, and analytics algorithms and machine learning into one vertically integrated personal assistant, “Olio Assist,” that “filters out the noise” of daily life to help you “oversee your digital life.”

    Olio is headquartered in San Francisco. Crunchbase lists a total of USD14 million, from 8 investors, spread over 3 rounds of investment in Olio Devices

    SPECS

    Most promising reviews on Olio Model One Smartwatch

    HARDWARE

    One aspect of Olio’s internal electronics hardware is their custom inductive charging coil for wireless charging of the Olio Model One.

    This charging system, Olio states, will give the Olio Model One two to four days of battery life between charges – two days of nominal use and two additional days of use if you turn off the connectivity to your Olio Model One.

    SOFTWARE

    The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) — arguably present the biggest differentiator for the Olio Model One vis a vis the rest of the global smartwatch industry.

    The Olio Model One UX offers a series of watch faces that are altered to present the user with visualization of their last 12 hours of activity, arc bar graphs of their schedule for the next 12 hours, quadrants of weather display, analog or digital alarms, a stopwatch, and a timer with vibration alert.

    One of the noticeable differences of the Olio Model One from almost every other smartwatch is their UX concept of “earlier streams” versus “later streams” and their “control hub”.

    The earlier streams present information that you missed earlier in the day, such as missed calls, Emails, social media messages and texts, sports scores, business and finance updates, news, and alerts about when your smartphone apps are being updated.

    The latter streams organize the information that is coming later in your day, such as traffic, weather forecasts, schedule items, reminders, alarms, Google Now updates, and Olio Assist suggestions and information.

    Olio Model One Smartwatch Reviews

    The Control Hub presents simple interfaces for controlling the music on your mobile device from the Olio Model One, receiving turn-by-turn navigation directions on the Olio Model One itself, receiving notifications of who is calling your smartphone, and the possibility of performing simple control actions on IP connected devices such as thermostats, locks, and cars.

    Together, the Olio UX concept of stream event tracking and a control hub that work together to eliminate the need for installing gobs of apps in your smartwatch is an intriguing software and UX approach and merits watching over the months and years ahead.

    The obvious advantages are your smartwatch is not performance drained by dozens of loaded apps and neither are you. Olio’s streams and control hub are meant to make your smartwatch assisted life simpler, sans apps.

    Another advantage, perhaps not as obvious or manifestly efficient according to a fair amount of customer feedback, is that the Olio Model One’s proprietary OS, software APIs, and UX are all designed to be compatible with Android and iOS smartphones.

    In fact, Olio claims that the Olio Model One can support voice commands to nicely interface with Apple’s Siri and the Google Now (a.k.a. Google Assistant) functions.

    Yet another advantage of Olio’s app-less OS and software approach is that the Olio Model One offloads most of its processing to the cloud. Which, in theory, should help a smartwatch maximize its processor and graphics chipset performance to the benefit of the user.

    However, when you are in circumstances when an event strikes that prevents your Olio Model One to access the cloud, events which surely are inevitable at some point, given
    olio-model-one-cloud
    Murphy’s Law, then you are stuck with a stainless-steel paperweight on your wrist, with very little in the way of smarts in your watch.

    The disadvantages of Olio doing its level best to avoid the world of apps is that Olio presents yet another software layer — this one hidden in the cloud and not customizable — between the contextual-, data-, and UX- driven world of 4 million apps out there and the information you need on your wrist.

    There may indeed be critical or very useful information that common smartwatch industry apps present that you are simply not going to get on the Olio Model One on your wrist because of Olio’s commitment to making your life simpler, sans apps.

    Furthermore, with a global market share represented by less than a few thousand batch-manufactured luxury Olio smartwatches, there is literally no reason whatsoever for any developer to even consider developing any apps for the Olio Model One OS, API infrastructure, and software suite of services and user experience, as it would likely never be profitable for any app developer.

    Any way you slice it, the earlier and later streams and control hub concept sets the Olio apart from the major smartwatches. For a small sliver of a small slice of the global smartwatch marketplace, this may offer substantive benefits in time-savings and ease of use.

    PRICE AND GENERAL AVAILABILITY

    The Olio Model One is generally available now in four models, steel, black, gold, and rose gold. The steel model is available for an MSRP of USD645 to USD595, depending on the watch band. The black model has an MSRP of USD795 to USD745, again depending on the watch band. The gold and rose gold models have MSRPs of USD1,395 to USD1,195, depending on the watch band.

    Olio Devices is offering a suite of 2016 colorfully stitched summertime watch bands.

     

    CONCLUSION

    Olio Devices advertises the Olio Model One as a luxury smartwatch for men and women, but it’s hard to envision many women wearing a smartwatch that presents an admittedly attractive, yet very hard faceted, masculine design aesthetic in a rather large (47mm dia.) and heavy smartwatch that would look and feel rather silly on most women’s wrists.

    In sum, if you are the type of executive or busy professional who obsesses about their ‘sophisticated’ appearance, who prefers to avoid much of today’s all-encompassing and at times overwhelming digital life, who eschews abundant functionality, and who appreciates simple elegance and good build quality, then perhaps the Olio Model One is a good smartwatch to consider adding to your collection of high end, custom watche

    Just make the purchase knowing that this is a craft brewery approach to smartwatches and are bringing a fresh approach to the industry and certainly have a place at the smartwatch table.

    Are you a Smartwatch Aficionado? Check out our Latest Smartwatch Reviews, News, and Trends on I Wear the Tech.  We Find Technology that Fits You Today!


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