I don't normally even read ShopNBC's customer 'reviews', much less quote the damned things in a review of my own, but there were 19 pages of reviews on ShopNBC for this watch. That's right; nineteen pages, and while I admittedly did not slog through all of them, I did read enough to be able to share some of the more...well, er, let's just say eloquent examples among their number. None of them have been in any way edited or otherwise changed; you're seeing them just as they appear on Shop, with only the writers' names redacted. They are presented for your enjoyment...or to further your sense of hopelessness for the future of mankind; you pays your money, you takes your choice.
[color=darkblue]"This is a great watch for a much younger man, it was to big and combersum on my wrist. The watch does show the genius of Wing Ling the owner and designer of Android watches. I also had some trouble with getting it to charge up. I thought about it and sent it back for a refund."
[color=black] Mort's Comedic Value Rating: out of
"I ordered the Galactopus and received it to find that it was conpetely defective. I being into Novelty watches decided to get the watch replaced hoping for a working watch expecially since I had already ordered a nice bracelet band for it. The second watch worked fine except for the Chronograph which wouldn't consistently start or stop and the reset required very poor operation. I put the quality metal bracelet on but I found that the watch can't be easily positioned for charging because of the bracelet not allowing the placement of the watch on the charger. I'll keep the watch but only because I couldn't return the bracelet band for refund. Also the watch doesn't appear to charge very well and it requires charging much to often."
Mort's Comedic Value Rating: out of
"I hate to do this to Wing as he is such a nice guy. The only thing I like about this item is the watch band. It is near impossible to set with my fingers which are not that big. It only takes a two day charge which is inconvinient. Why do I need a fake turbillion? It's guady. What purpose does the calendar serve? The touch screen is not sensitive enough to be easily set by average size fingers. I accidentally got into the Chineses language format and struggled for over an hour to get out.Nice idea, but poor execution.Pass it by."[/color]
Mort's Comedic Value Rating: out of
And from the positive review side of the house:
"nice watch very cool something different set up was super quick no problem with the charger would highly recommend this watch."
Mort's What-the-HELL-is-He-Trying-to-SAY(?) Rating: out of
"Speechless after opening the box and just now able to make.sputtering sounds...heart be still! This WAS going to be a gift for the hubby for Christmas but the Galactopus doesn't seem to want to come off my wrist anytime soon. Have to field test it , yeah, that's it!
To be continued.....this is our 15th Android, BTW!"
Mort's Comedic Value Rating: out of
Overall SNBC Score: 3.7 out of 5 Stars
Unlike the authors of the literary gems above, reviews always seem to take me quite a bit of time to grind out. It's not that I don't enjoy writing - I love writing, truth to tell - but rather a reflection of my status as what I refer to as a "WIT," or 'WIS in Training.' As my lovely lady would say, 'Mort knows enough to be dangerous when it comes to so many things, including the collection of watches.' I actually have some half-written reviews that date back as much as a year, and the common thread among these is that I need to do a little - or, in some cases, a lot - more research before I can present it to all of you here at WF. Or, put another way, before a WIT sets out to write a piece for a group of WIS's, he better make sure there's nothing glaringly stupid that'll end up getting him labeled as simply a 'Watch Idiot.'
In the case of this new-and-unusual Android 'Galactopus' - which, for some unfathomable reason, I affectionately refer to as the 'Encephalitis' - I feel like we're all a little bit on the noob side. Not that touch-screen watches are particularly new or rare; I'll cite Tissot's recent forays into touch-screen technology (TST) as an example. However, Tissot's watches that feature TST do so only as part of a package that is largely built upon conventional functioning and appearance. Android's new Galactopus, on the other hand, is built entirely around its TST functions, so I guess we could call it new - if not cutting-edge - technology in the world of watchmaking.
At any rate, after reading the interesting - even fascinating - reviews written above, I feel that there's still room for my own attempt at a cogent, even literate review of the Android Galactopus with Touch Screen Technology...
Let's start with the usual technical data:
- Model Number / Name: AD551BS / "Galactopus"
- Movement: Chinese Android AD551
- Crystal: TFT touch screen crystal lens
- Strap: Leather (w/quick change pins)
- Strap Measurements: 10"L x 24mm W
- Clasp: Buckle
- Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Case Measurements: 50mm L x 47mm W
- Case Thickness: 16mm
- Case Weight (w/o Strap): 102 grams ; (w/strap): 122 grams
- Water Resistance: Referred to as 'splashproof' in item description
- Seller: ShopNBC (SNBC)
- SNBC item number: 617-936
- Regular Price: $271. USD
- Purchase Price (TTV): $189.12 USD
- Current (Sale) Price (as of 12/28/12): $219.87 USD
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty provided by Android; additional 'protection plan' offered by SNBC for $29.99 USD.
- Misc: Comes with AC + USB port charger and CF-style leather strap. Additional straps available in two different sets (3 per set), each sold seperately by SNBC for $49.25 USD; second/spare charger(s) are also sold by SNBC for $20 USD.
A lot of nifty stuff there, but the first thing that caught my eye was the name they elected to use for the movement: "Chinese Android AD551." No big deal, really, but it struck me as a bit odd, nonetheless. I get that this TST-based movement is going to be somewhat proprietary, with as few details as possible provided to J.Q. Public, not to mention Android's competitors, but "Chinese Android AD551"? I mean, is it 'Chinese Android'? Or is it 'Chinese Android? Or neither? I don't know, but I'm probably just digging way too deep into what is almost certainly a non-issue. Still...aw, heck, let's just move on...
Conjurer wrote:"Jesus Christ! That thing looked like a brick!!" - Nov 16, 2012
Er, no, Conj, not really...
But you're damned close, Conj, damned close...
On 'the tube,' or more appropriately in the case of SNBC, 'the boob tube,' the watch doesn't look like the thyroidal monster it appears to be in the still shots on its website page. But when it showed up in the mailbox, I had to take a couple of minutes to just stare at it. As a sometime collector of Renato watches, I'm no stranger to big, square pieces; indeed, it's a Renato specialty. Yet, as can be seen in the next photo, the Galactopus covers more square territory (no pun intended) than the Renato 'Stallion,' and far more than the Croton 'Square Super C,' two watches known for their size and heft.
I even compared the Galactopus to a friend's full-sized Invicta Arsenal, with its enormous 63mm case; the result: an easy win for the Arsenal, though were it not for its huge crown, pushers and 'bezel blocks,' it would have been a lot closer. Which brings us to our next round of statistical comparison, again using Galactopus vs Arsenal: total weight.
Invicta Arsenal (w/316L stainless bracelet): 371.38 grams (13.1 oz)
Android Galactopus (w/45-gram rubber+steel strap): 167.26 grams
Of course, this is a bit like comparing rocks to pebbles, given Arsenal's heavy bracelet + case configuration. Even with the addition of a somewhat heavy rubber strap (with small blocks of stainless steel on either side of the band) to the Galactopus, there is still no close comparison between the weight of each watch. And that's the saving grace for this new Galactopus: it's very light on the wrist and, despite its rather large dimensions, is far more comfortable than you might expect. Trade the heavier rubber strap in for one of Wing's 24mm leather bands, and you're down to a very comfortable 122 grams total weight. And, yes, you can indeed 'forget' you're wearing it; this has happened to me a number of times, and it never ceases to amaze me. Yes, the case is made from 316L stainless, but it must be the thinnest 316L casing ever made for a watch.
An admittedly minor 'problem' with the 24mm strap width is that there are so many 24mm straps out there. During my relatively few years of collecting, I've bought a respectable number of straps and watch+strap sets from Android and Invicta, et al, and even a few from strap-only companies. They tend to accumulate like debit card receipts, one after another and, just like the receipts themselves, you hesitate to throw them away because, hell, you just might need them someday... Add that to the goodly number of text colors on this new Galactopus, and you find yourself matching up text and strap colors and, just as compulsively, taking lots of pictures of the various color/style combinations you're able to concoct...
Orange Lizard, anyone?
Or perhaps some Red Stingray?
How about a Yellow Rally Strap? (Note the three different watch faces...)
And then there's the Pink Lizard by Invicta...
Or, perhaps you're in the mood for a Green Stingray strap?
Perhaps a nice Navy Blue Stingray to keep wrist and watch together?
And the rrrrrrest of the story...
As far as appearance goes, there's not a lot to say other than 'look at the pictures (dammit).' While this might not be the most subtle watch ever made, it's certainly one of the simplest and cleanest designs out there.
Its lines are straight and even, interrupted only by the Android name stamped onto the front and side of the case. Take a glance at the caseback, and you'll immediately see that it looks like no other watch currently on the market.
The black, 1/8th-inch thick, ABS Thermoplastic caseback does pretty much everything the steel ones do. It's held in place by eight small screws and has the usual Android watch logo, website and product info. It also features two brass-colored electrical prongs that, because they're so flush with the caseback, look more like small brass disks. These are the charging prongs that line up with their counterparts atop the charging unit when the battery is being replenished. There is a third, disk-like object on the caseback, as well; a silver-colored piece that looks like the head of a rivet. It doesn't have a corresponding piece anywhere on the charger, so I don't really know just what it is. My computer geek and gadget-head friends don't seem to have much of a clue, either, though one of them put out the theory that it might be a "reprogramming port." I suppose this is as good as - and probably better than - my 'rivet theory.' Until I hear something different (and equally sensible) in the future, the 'reprogramming port' idea sounds pretty good, and I'll stick with it.
As noted above, Android offers extra 24mm straps; they come in packs of three, and there are two different packs available. I shelled out the fifty bones for one of the sets, though I wouldn't normally do this as it smacks of my not-all-that-long-ago geekery, when I would have bought both strap sets without a second thought. (Hayull, I'd've probably bought a second watch, too, just for the bloody heck of it...it's good to be an ex-geek.) My three straps include a faux (pressed leather) ostrich in light brown, a faux (same-same) alligator in dark brown, and a leather strap sheathed in some sort of black fabric that looks like Kevlar (tm), but could just as easily be some sort of 'woven fabric' copy. The stitching is well executed on all three, but is especially attractive on the black strap as they use white thread, thus making it the only contrast-stitching example in the box. The quality of the straps is acceptable, but the felt-lined presentation box, made of thick cardboard in a 'drawer' configuration - complete with signed black ribbon 'pulls' - somewhat overshadows the product it holds. There's even a thin outer-box that covers and protects the presentation box. Each strap is wrapped in its own clear plastic pocket, which is easily removed when preparing to change out straps on the watch. As in past offerings, all of Wings straps feature quick-change pins.
Honestly, for 50 bones, I expected a much higher quality product. Still, they don't look bad.
Mrs Mort wrote:"Okay, Mort - it looks, well, interesting...but how does the doggoned thing work? What's its purpose? Is it the 'Dick Tracy Wrist Phone' we've all been dreaming about all these years?"
The Galactopus has five basic functions, all of which are accessed by turning the watch on (pushing the crown once). Your most recently selected watch face appears.
1. Selection of watch face and text color: to change the face, tap the crystal and the three face types, digital, analog and tourbillon, will pop up in list format for your review/selection. The tourby face is always pale yellow, and this color cannot be changed. Analog - AKA, standard three-hand watch - features white, yellow, red and blue color choices, and digital offers text in white, blue, orange and yellow. Interestingly, the digital selection is the only dial face that features a power-reserve indicator; it's easily found on the lower right side (SouthEast, if you prefer compass points) of the dial. Gently brush your finger over the upper part of the crystal, right to left, and this will bring up the next - and all subsequent - functions. Need to go back? Just brush the screen left to right. You can, at any time, hit the crown and it will return you to your selected watch screen.
2. Digital Chronograph. This function screen is limited to being a chrono & very little else. There is a start 'key' that gets it running, and a 'reset' button that changes to a lap timer and allows the viewing of lap or 'split' times. Once the chrono has been stopped, the reset button reappears, allowing the user to go back to all zeroes. The screen will remain lighted for as long as your power saver setting allows. Use the crown to get back to the chrono section, then follow the on-screen buttons to shut off the chronograph. There are numerous complaints that the chrono stop/start functions are not sensitive enough, forcing the wearer to repeatedly tap the button(s) with more and more force. Others claim that these functions are too sensitive, thus muddying up the waters a bit. I have experienced the former problem, but not the latter. For me, a gentle approach - i.e., light tapping - usually does the trick.
3. Calendar Function: This one tends to be a bit on the oddball side in that tapping on the screen will allow you to see the day of the week on a specific date. It allows you to change the year and month, both past and future, but none of these changes will be saved once you return to the main screen. This has frustrated quite a few wearers of the Galactopus, but the thing to remember is that 'permanent' adjustments can only be made in the 'Settings' mode.
4. Alarm(s) Mode: This function provides you the opportunity to select six different alarm times, as well as select your preferred sound options from a list of five: (1) 'Beeps,' which is the loudest of the five, and pretty much sounds like every battery-powered alarm clock ever made back in the 1980s; (2) 'Classic,' which sounds like some of the low volume noises you hear during an audiogram; it might wake up a flea, if you're very lucky and Mr Flea hasn't burrowed into your scalp line; (3) 'Light,' which sounds like a couple of very tired - and perhaps even hung over - crickets chirping away for your benefit; (4) 'Piezo,' (which means 'to resonate') a series of very high-pitch, low-volume beeps that sound suspiciously like a quieter version of 'Beeps' above, and finally; (5) 'Snooze,' another very high pitch, low volume series of beeps that are extremely hard to hear. In all cases above, you get a better, louder quality of sound if you leave the watch face-down, as all the sounds eminate from the caseback. (Or, if you work for Adee Kaye and/or Oniss, it's "de kezzbeck.")
5. Finally, there's the Settings Screen: It is here that you select (1) Date & Time, (2) Brightness, (3) Power Saving, and (4) Language. While all of these are pretty much self-explanatory, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you consult your Owner's Manual or Wing's Quick Start Guide before you go delving too deeply into the Language function. I like to think I'm something of a linguist, but if you inadvertantly change the language without any thought or preparation, you may end up pressing a lot of function keys in your attempts to get back to English, especially if you've chosen the Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Hindi or Russian options, wherein you won't recognize the letters (or symbols). Here is the list of languages contained within the Galactopus: English, Chinese Traditional, Italian, Hindi, Dutch, Arabic, French, German, Russian & Spanish. Overall, a pretty decent collection and a nice convenience for those who might need a language other than English to operate the watch. (Or, looking at it from my cynical side, it just might be a gimmick to make the item more attractive to the 'average Joe.' "Hey guys, lookit dis! My watch speaks ten langwidgez!" Only the Mastermind of Android - and perhaps his hairdresser - knows for sure...what say you, Mr Liang?) Seriously, with ShopNBC being the exclusive seller of this watch, how many Hindi speakers will actually get to use the Hindi language option? Or Traditional Chinese? Or Arabic?
Suggestion: Perhaps a personal screen-saver might be in order...?
Like I said, it was just a suggestion - Jeebus...
Pros vs Cons
- Some unique functions
- Variety of color options
- Lightness of case / comfort of wear
- [Relative] ease of use
- When in doubt, press the crown
- Large, almost ungainly, size (AKA, bulky)
- Crystal sensitivity poor, usually during use of chrono
- Difficult to use / easy to get lost in Language Function
- Odd or non-intuitive functions, mostly in calendar mode
- Charger is often touchy
- No new technology featured
- No software / firmware add-ons or upgrades (at present)
- High expense vs medium quality of strap sets
- Available only on ShopNBC
eddiea wrote:Yet, I think is cool, not in a wristwatch kind of way, but in a gadget kind of way...it is a mini-wrist computer after all , surprisingly versatile and the price was not bad either at $189.00....the CPU inside the watch, is rated at 5 seconds a year accuracy and that is thermocompensated quartz territory, for a fraction of the price. - 17 Nov 12
I thought Eddie really nailed it with the above quote, shortly after this item came to our attention here at WF. Like so many watch-related things I've seen over the years, I very much wanted this in my collection; I thought it would be an uber-cool melding of 'gadgetology' and horology, with cutting-edge features from both sources. I thought this might just be one of those 'breakthrough' watches that would wow us all with its technical prowess, and maybe, just maybe, prove to be an example of Android's own motto, as printed on so many of their boxes:
"Building into the Future...By Respecting Our Past."
No such luck.
Sadly, the only genuine (and new) combining of the two fields is the deliberate inaccuracy programmed into the tourbillon to make it more 'realistic.' Beyond that, there's nothing this 'watch' does that can't be duplicated - and almost certainly handled more deftly - by a smartphone. Even some of the newer, just-plain-'ol-cellphones can handle most, if not all, of these same functions.
So all that optimism and excitement was - at least initially - a mistake on my part. I tended toward letting my over-optimism get the best of me on more than a few occasions. In all that fervor about this new, cutting edge, leave-'em-all-in-the-dust technology, I lost sight of what I consider to be one of the most basic tenets of watch collecting: just about any device can tell us the time nowadays, but that fact does not make them timepieces (with genuine and sincerest apologies to those among us who absolutely hate that word) or watches.
In the case of this Galactopus with Touch Screen, it's just another gadget for telling time, knowing the date, and even knowing what day of the week it is. Yes, it has an onboard CPU, but there's nothing new or amazing about that. I almost feel like I should end this review by saying something like, "Move along, nothing to see here, keep it moving folks..."
In the end, what I will say is this: just because you can put technology like this onto your wrist doesn't mean you should. Putting it bluntly, this watch falls far short of its potential for being 'revolutionary' or even 'cutting edge' in the world of gadgetry; it's all pretty much standard stuff these days. Just one more piece of redundant 'high-tech gear,' one that we can now strap onto our wrists. As a watch, well, let's just say that it tells time and gives you some toys to play with along the way, but little else. Wing Liang and company have almost always managed to build a stand-out product; a recent example of this came during the tourbillon craze of 2010-2012, when they were the only company building an automatic version of the watch. This time around, with the advent of the Galactopus TST, Android had a real chance to make an amazing watch, something with out-of-the-norm features and capabilities. Instead, they simply repackaged aging technology into a large, boxy format with very limited functions. An unexpected - even sad - thing for a company that usually leads the way when it comes to new, forward-leaning concepts.
Mort's Overall Rating: out of a possible