When I was about seven or eight, I asked Santa to bring me a set of screwdrivers. Our family was about to take its first transatlantic flight, and I wanted to make sure I’d be able to repair the aeroplane if it got into any difficulties.
Ever since then, I’ve loved taking things apart. Putting things back together…? Eh… not so much!
Recently I “acquired” the latest Swiss made smartwatch – MyKronoz ZeWatch.
It’s a cute, simple, and cheap smart watch. At around £30 on Amazon, it’s not exactly feature packed, but it has enough tech packed inside to make it interesting.
- Bluetooth connection to the phone – for taking phone calls on the wrist, and listening to music.
- Lost phone alert – if you wander off without your phone, your wrist will gently buzz.
- OLED display – showing time and caller alert. Reversible display for left- or right-handed use.
Nothing fancy – but smart enough if you want to upgrade an old Casio watch.
The only problem I had was that the phone just wouldn’t charge. The box came with an EU USB plug, and a very strange USB cable.
Rather than a USB mini or micro slot, the phone has two recessed contacts on the back of the face. The plug is a sort-of giant clip into which you place the watch.
No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the clip to align properly with the watch – at least, it never seemed to charge.
Bizarrely, the clip completely obscures the fascia – so it’s impossible to see if the device is charging.
Well, what to do when faced with a bit of kit which doesn’t work? TO THE SCREWDRIVERS!
Four small cross-head screws on the back, and a little bit of leverage were all that were needed to pop off the plastic covering.
You can see the two charging terminals on the back. As for what’s under it…
On the left is the speaker, the vibration motor is in the middle, with the large battery on the right. Top and bottom left are the answer and hang-up buttons.
The battery is unsecured and only held in place by the back plate. Let’s lift it up!
The board is held down by 4 more tiny screws. Removing them allows us to flip the board over and see the connector to the screen.
The identification “BP ML E186014 94V-0” indicates that the board was made by a Chinese OEM called Brain Power.
A flimsy ribbon connects to the 128 * 32 OLED screen.
With a bit of effort, it’s possible to prise the entire guts out of the body.
The screen is on the right, just above it is the small mono condenser microphone.
This is at the cheap end of the “cheap and cheerful” spectrum. The screen isn’t very bright, the charging solution is non-standard and finickety, and one of the key-selling points (seeing who is calling) only works with the iPhone.
There’s no touch screen, text messaging, or fitness monitoring. But, hey, it’s about 10% of the cost of the latest smartwatches. Of course, if you can’t get it to charge….