We have to remember one thing when talking about any gadget — just because you may hate it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a perfect device for someone else. While some may criticize smartwatches, or the Omate TrueSmart in particular, I am thinking it may be a good running partner. It is a bit early to get super excited here, however I did take the TrueSmart out for its first run this morning. And at risk of offer the spoiler in the beginning, it seems to have performed rather well.

First though, something needs to be said. As we learned a while back, the TrueSmart does not ship with the Google Play Store. That brings this, my usage from earlier today was solely dependent on having already installed the Play Store on the watch. I will talk about that process in future posts, but suffice to say, the Play Store can be run (rather easily, and with success) on the TrueSmart.

Anyway, one thing you’ll likely learn about me — I am a runner. Because I often run distances that take me well away from my home, I prefer to run with a smartphone for emergencies. Also, that same smartphone provides me with entertainment through DoggCatcher and Audible, and also tracks my runs with RunKeeper. Those apps, amongst others, have all been installed on my TrueSmart.

A bit about the experience from this mornings run though. The watch has an AT&T StraightTalk SIM, and when I set out for the run the watch was fully charged. The SIM was active, in that mobile data was on. Also, Bluetooth and GPS were turned on. The watch was paired with the Jabra Sport Wireless Plus headphones, and I listened to an audiobook that had been downloaded to the watch. The GPS, obviously, was active for the purpose of using RunKeeper.

Bottom line here, the Bluetooth experience was solid and RunKeeper tracked my entire run without issue. Perhaps key here, the battery life. As mentioned, the battery began at 100 percent. The end had the battery sitting at 72 percent, and for reference, this was for a run that lasted 1 hour and 7 minutes. Again, this may not be the watch for everyone, but for the purpose of this post I am looking at the Omate TrueSmart as a replacement to some of the current devices specifically being targeted towards runners.

  • Mikey!

    this is great! thanks, I currently run/workout with a smartphone on my arm, bluetooth headphones and my pebble, one of the best things about this combo is being able to accomplish the normal workout stuff, changing tracks, pausing, checking run stats, etc. from my wrist without having to use my phone through the plastic armband face. but it’s not super comfortable on my arm.

    I would love to eliminate the armband part and operate solely from my wrist. the watch looks bulky, is it comfortable to wear while running, have you tried lifting with it on?

    • Never lifted with it, so, cannot comment on that. The watch is a bit bulky, and also a bit heavy, but I found that I just sort of got used to it with some time. My thought here was it was better compared to the smartphone route, and also comparable to many of the ‘dedicated’ running watches.

    • gigaguy

      I’ve seen talk of apps that actually measure the arm or body movement to count reps. Are you using one of these apps (if so which), or are you just using a logging too like jefit?

  • gerhard

    An app that uses the device very well is IpBike (great for runners too), on Google Play. It has features compared to most training watches in addition to connectivity and such (music in separate app). This is the potential with an open platform compared to closed systems.

    The TS is not bigger than standard GPS sport watches, but heavier and do not fit quite as good (center of mass is higher, less snug fit). But no major disturbance, especially compared to armbands that I cannot use myself.

  • Cal Rankin

    It’s cool that the TrueSmart is a full smartphone in a watch size. If you are running, it seems to be the perfect device for some people where their expensive smartphone won’t be lost, stolen, or damaged. For those who have GSM phones and a provider that does not charge for moving your SIM card, you can easily put your SIM into this and go running.

  • Bobo

    Please can you add how often (and for how long) the screen was turned on?

    • The screen was on 2-3 times during the run, each for just a few seconds (long enough to make sure things were still working properly). RunKeeper gives audio cues, which certainly helps keeping the need for display time to a minimum. I also have the display set to time out after 30 seconds (via the settings)

  • Was this with or without the patch? If with, then which release?

    • Haven’t installed any patches, or special updates, the watch was running build version Omate_TrueSmart_20140120.154604_V2.0

  • scaots

    It really does perform well. Surprisingly quick, capable, and good battery life. I can’t wait for all this snow to melt and slightly warmer weather to try it on a run. That’s why I bought it.

  • jmiranda3983

    When did you put in the order? We’re you a kickstarter backer or was it pre ordered? Curious how long shipping was.

    • I received this one during Mobile World Congress, so, a bit of a unique situation in terms of order and shipment. Though, I was one of the first early birds to back the Kickstarter (for a US model).

  • gigaguy

    I’ve been looking at this to replace current my running watch. I don’t think I can go and order it yet though. Think they are still preordeing.

    • Still pre-ordering, and still in the process of shipping units to Kickstarter backers

  • Jacob Huff

    Robert, can you do an article on how to side load Google play services and Play?

  • yeatsie

    Great review. I got my TS a few months ago, and really dont use it, as the battery life is so short. I was thinking of using it for my main running watch as you have, as it covers the bluetooth music angle, the run tracking with apps like Runkeeper, Runtastic Pro etc.

    I dont yet have a dedicated SIM for it – i just use my home wifi.
    Can i use say the Runkeeper app and the GPS function while i run, without having the data online all the time? Will Runkeeper still track the GPS data?