Saturday 8 August 2015

No.1 S2 Sun - Technical Review

Today, we are going to test out all features of Smartwatch No.1 S2 Sun based on Mediatek MT6260 with proprietary OS system.

Caveat, all what we write right here is related to firmware revision T2 S2 LANGB 20150709.

There're so much reviews online about the Smartwatch S2 Sun, too much has been said about its user experience, but much more remains to be said if you dig deep inside its technical features, in particular with different kind of configurations.

Just some words about our personal user experience before continue.

We have weared this smartwatch for more than 3 weeks and we put it to the test in lots different conditions. If you looking for an every day watch, this watch is for you.
The quality of external materials could seems poor, but with the wristband supplied we walked between some cliffs over the sea, scratched it on the rock and to our intense surprise, we have got no damages!
Absolutely, we think that with all other watches something would have happened. The enamel of this watch is of absolute quality outside, instead skin side enamel isn't so much perfect.

The screen isn't oleophobic or dust free. Anytime you touch the screen you leave your finger on it.
It could be an outdoor problem, unless you don't take with you a napkin to clean it.
It isn't so nice!

Again, another good point of this kind of watch is the wristband replaceable. Into the package you find a good item, but if you want to change it the operation is very simple. With only a tiny screwdriver you can unplug the original one and connect any 22mm wristband you prefer!
Thanks to TinyDeal to have provided a second replacement to those who have purchased in presell, but they would been much more kind with another type of wristband instead of another black metal one (that we love to be clear!).
So, we have chosen to purchase another one wristband that have a mesh band strap (in Italy called "maglia milanese"), much more comfortable for everyday wearing (it fits like a glove).

The back case in black plastic is pretty uncomfortable and it has given a big disappointment. It makes the skin sweat after a while, especially if you are outdoor of under the sun. We know that heart sensor have to be attached to the skin, but that's too much!
Once more, we found (just during this review) an inexplicable crack to back side plastic from a metal pad to the edge. Take a look to the picture!
It's so strange a crack right there, we have no conclusions about that. Only poor plastic... maybe...

An interesting feature is the Remote capture, the number one for selfie lover.
You can connect your phone (Android) to smartwatch and take a picture with a real time preview on watch screen. There is a little delay and it isn't so much practical see the preview and remain in pose, but a bit of practice solves everything.

This about our experience, let's come back to technical focus.

First technical problem, the battery drain.
We know it said so much about it, but the main problem is: What you use it for?

If your problem is to receive all notifications (as notification smartwach) from your phone, the 350mAh battery dead after about 8 hours.
If you shut down the notifications when you not need them (as sport smartwach), apply menu "power saving" function, set up the screen shut down in sleep mode; then your battery will reach up to 3 no stop working days!
This represents an important step, because the better market smartwatches (with Android Wear for example) reach a result like the first one! In any case...

So, we take a look to the settings before talk about the sensors experience.

The user manual of this device is very poor and superficial, this because lots of people like me have purchased the smartwatch in presell.
This condition made the labour of No.1 very difficult. Bring to the market a device like this with a tiny manual has put the device in a poor condition too.

There was a common mistake, all reviewers have tested the device without study in depth its menu configurations. All MT6260 based devices have a very common menu among them, at least as we seen, but in our case we have more features that helps the device to work very well and others that should have been took in special consideration. But let's proceed in the right order...

Follows below a number of menu entries (and sub-entries), as you can read in "Settings" section:

Phone settings
|-> Time and date
|-> Schedule power on/off
|->---> Schedule power on
|->---> Schedule power off
|-> Language
|->---> ...all languages
|-> Writing language
|->---> ...all writing languages
|-> Pref. input method
|->---> ...all input methods
|-> Widget order
|->---> Alarm
|->---> Audio player
|-> Shortcut manager
|->---> ...list of shortcuts
|-> Display
|->---> Wallpaper
|->--->---> System
|->--->--->---> Static Wallpaper
|->--->--->--->---> Image 1
|->--->--->--->---> Image 2
|->--->--->--->---> Image 3
|->--->--->--->---> Image 4
|->--->---> User Defined
|->---> Unlocking type selection
|->--->---> Analog Clock 1
|->--->---> Analog Clock 2
|->--->---> Analog Clock 3
|-> Motion
|->---> Motion Sensor [On /Off]
|->---> Flip to mute incoming... [On /Off]
|->---> Flip to mute alarm [On /Off]
|->---> Wake-up gesture [On /Off]
|-> LCD backlight
|->---> Brightness [slider]
|->---> Time (sec) [slider]

Security settings
|-> Phone security
|->---> Phone lock
|->---> Change password

Restore settings
|-> Input Watch password

From the beginning.

Time and date could be synchronized after the pairing, so no problem with them.

Schedule power on/off we think is a function inherit from a bread firmware used even on some chinese phone. There aren't completely unuseful, maybe, but we live without it.

Language, Writing language and Pref. input method are much more useful in english, we don't translate the menu in italian, because the translation isn't optimized.

Widget order is a mystery, if you understand what this function do, please leave a comment below.

Shortcut manager allows you to choose what kind of function leave in the main short screen, it's much more useful because... right... you have only two choices at your disposal, but in most occasions it's enough (for example in sportwatch configuration).

Display, you can choose the face watch and the background, but not only from the list of standard backgrounds, you can choose any picture 240x240 px (take in mind this measures) as your watch background. There is a particular image aspect you have to consider for a perfect fitting of background, but no fear... we made a template psd file that you can follow to make the background of your dreams.
Another nice feature we learned is the personalization of boot/shutdown animations. Yes, you can!
The smartwatch allow you to read any gif files. You can choose your prefered gif file from the file manager app and set up it as boot/shutdown animation. Make the gif file is main problem, but after this step you can personalize your watch as you wish. We leave an example of our animation below.

Motion allows you to set up the Motion Sensor to Wake-up your smartwatch or to Mute Incoming Call and the Alarm. We think that these ones are only a battery drain features. If you don't need these feature, we suggest to switch off the Motion Sensor.

LCD backlight allows you to set up the backlight of the smartwatch, in most cases a low level is enough because the screen is pretty bright, under the sun might be necessary to increase the bright until max value. A low Time to switch off the screen is a good solution for battery drain.

About Security settings and Restore settings. Do you remember what we have wrote about common firmwares of MT6260 based devices? We think that's a leftover of a preview firmware or a bread firmware MT6260 based.
In this case, No.1 have took a working firmware and they have applied all the changes they wanted, but have also forgotten some menu entries around :D
Is it an error or something of wanted? Mah... Anyway, we think a smartwatch doesn't need these features inherited.

We continue with the questions about Sensors Experience.
Not every sensor is good, someone isn't a true sensor too!

There are an heart rate sensor and two icons to calculate the heart rate.
The Heartrate function and the ECG function.
Both active the sensor on the back to calculate the heart rate, but they work differently!
The Heart Rate function estimates heart beats in a short time.
The ECG function estimates heart beats in real time for all the time in which the function is tuned on.

The result could be pretty different, in both cases you have to stay in place until the functions are working. In any case, the better results is given from the ECG function that estimates the heart rate much more painstakingly. The animation of heart rate signal, might be only an animation that doesn't correspond with the true rate.

About Temperature Sensor and UV sensor.
The thing that's good is that the sensor doesn't work if you don't wear the smartwatch. A point to the temperature sensor!
The thing that's bad is that the temperature measured seems be anytime almost the same.

So, we think at two possible solutions.

The first one is: the temperature sensor is a joke or a pure animation.
The second one is: the temperature is an indirect estimation, that's the temperature is calculated with an estimation algorithm associated to heart beat variation.

A confirmation of this behaviour is the flickering of heartbeat sensor during the measurement, that in any other situations could seems strange, but in this case explains because a cooling or warming forced on watch back side doesn't produce a temperature variation.
Instead, If the watch resting on a reflective surface (which simulates the skin), white in color for example, the calculation is shown.

Also in this case No.1 has attempted to squeeze the greatest number of information from its sensors.

UV sensor is absolutely a joke and of bad taste! We are absolutely sure about that, because the measure is directly dependent from Time and Date. It's a joke, or a simple statistics if you want, but not a measure! A faux pas for No.1!

The last sensor is... the Camera.
It's a 0.3MP camera with an only purpose... we think... takes pictures for the background.

Do you remember what we wrote about the definition of background? It's the photo definition too.

We think it can't be a coincidence! If you expect a camera to shot a video in high resolution, it isn't the right thing you can expect from this device. Even because the internal memory is limited just to 506 KB, just enough to store some pictures and nothing else.
If you wish to match the background of smartwatch with your jacket, it's the right watch for you!

About Bluetooth function.
The smartwatch got a bluetooth 3.0 on board, that sometimes takes a break. It's pretty normal to lost the signal and everytime it come back, it isn't too much stable.
On Android the MediaTek App edited for this device is pretty good, but the idea to listen the music on watch speaker we think it's a bad idea.
In pair configuration there are two entries, phone audio and media audio, but forget you to disable one of these entries if you want the watch works properly.
In Fact, you can disable an entry, but if you do that any multimedia functions will not work properly.
For example, if you disable media audio, then you cannot answer from phone or make a wireless call.
To work properly all audio sources have to be accessible!

We are at the end. Our last considerations.

We think at this point we've already talked about smartwatch enough. It'd be very nice to have more choices with the face watches, but to change those you have to edit the ROM file of firmware. This is a difficult operation without original binay or a method to read the file in the right way.
The firmware is proprietary, if it was an Android firmware it'd be much more simple.
If you have any news about that, please leave a comment below.

We conclude with two Zoom Videos focused on the Pedometer and Heart Rate functions, both made to prove our considerations in comparison with other measures took with the Xiaomi Mi band in the first case and the Medel Blood Pressure Monitor in the second one.

We think that any consideration have to be proved to be serious consideration.
We hope that these tests will avoid any doubt.

See you next time!

Files on GitHub.

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