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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

i'm Watch Review: i'm Sad, i'm Angry, i'm Confused, i'm Fail

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Remember the Iraqi Information Minister? He was that guy during the first Desert Storm that would get on TV and make those awesome declarations about how the Iraqi army was doing. With jets streaking overhead, bridges blowing up, tanks being obliterated and US troops holding hands and hopscotching into Baghdad, good ole Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf kept a stern face and proclaimed such awesomeness as:

"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."

"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all!"

"I can say, and I am responsible for what I am saying, that [American troops] have started to commit suicide under the walls of Baghdad. We will encourage them to commit more suicides quickly."

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."

"[US Troops] are most welcome. We will butcher them."

"We will welcome them with bullets and shoes."

This was a PR man that stuck by his guns and knew how to stay on point even in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary. This is a guy that could have easily told a million Gizmodo readers that Windows Millennium Edition was *the best* operating system ever. He would have stood before the Apple masses and proclaimed Maps the single greatest app *ever* created. The X-Box Red Ring of death? A powerful feature that would make other gaming systems cower before its awesome, unholy might!

While many have suspected that he was writing PR for Bose for years – his Wave Radio ads were truly some of his best work – but now, I actually know where he ended up after leaving his post in Iraq.

He has clearly been hired to head up the PR for Italian “smart” watch (those quotes are applied dripping in cynical sarcasm) manufacturer, I’m Watch!

A little background on I’m Watch. I first heard about it from The Darryl Wilkinson before we headed off to CES. The Darryl forwarded me an e-mail saying that if you registered and attended the I’m Watch presser, you would be given a $400 watch. Sweet, right? The watch runs a version of the Android operating system and is said to do all kinds of cool things – display text messages, tweets, Facebook updates, e-mails, let you make and receive calls, display weather, be a music player, have an app store AND be a fully-functional watch. And, you know, FREE!

So, The Darryl and I waited in a line that was just a couple of notches below one of those riots you see outside Palestine where people are chanting and chucking rocks and gas-filled bottles at each other for fun. Except the mood in this line wasn’t nearly as festive and the temperature was like magnitudes hotter.

There were basically two things keeping us there. 1) The overwhelming, all-consuming greed and jealousy that one of us would get some bit of swag that the other didn’t and then have to endure the shame and roasting for the rest of eternity and 2) This Ukrainian girl:

She stood right next to us and we chatted her up for like an hour. Once again, the Darryl -- who is always quick to point out that he majored in Russian in college – was unable to say anything in Russian when meeting someone who actually speaks Russian (something about only remembering the dirty words...).

So, we finally received our watches and…it was a colossal letdown.

The thing about I’m Watch is that you desperately *want* to love it. If it worked even *halfway* like promised, it would be awesome. It is big – like dwarfing my already large-sized Rolex diving watch big – but it is kinda cool looking in a techie, my giant watch totally isn’t compensating for anything kind of way.


The strap is a thick rubber available in different colors that looks like it would be at home on a Panerai diving watch (an Italian watch design that totally rocks, by the way), but the large hole in the side of the watch where you charge it makes it not in the least bit weather resistant. I’m sure even a brutal humidity would give I’m Watch I’m Fits.

However, as much as you want to love the I’m Watch – and believe me, you WILL want to –it is unfortunately, it is as one reviewer eloquently put, “A $400 brick of failure that straps to your wrist.

Fortunately for us, sadly for I’m Watch, he didn’t stop there. He went on to espouse in his review:

This thing is garbage. I got this first thing in the morning at CES, and I would have thrown it in the trash to save bag space if I didn't have to write about it later. It all feels like something you would find in a shady back alley in China instead of a $400 device. I'm Spa has a full range of these things all the way up to a white gold and diamonds version for $20,000. Yes, twenty-thousand dollars. It's slow, it freezes all the time, the apps aren't useful, setup is a huge pain, and you look like a complete dork wearing one. I got this for free and I still feel ripped off. I can't even give it away because there's no option to wipe my personal information off of it. I guess I'll just run a power drill through it and throw it out. What a waste.

The I’m Watch’s real power is its ability to captivate and transfix you, making you invest *hours* into getting it to work under the veiled guise of maybe, just maybe, this will be the time that the 150+ meg firmware update will fix the troubles.

The watch is such an #EpicFail that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why it is such a fail. First, the battery life is abysmal. And not just the watch’s battery, but it acts like a cancerous vampire leech onto the devices you tether it to. Connecting it to my iPhone one day drained a fully charged iPhone5 in under 2 hours. And not just a normal battery drain, but one of those deep-cycle battery drains where you had to have the phone plugged back in to power for like 10 minutes before the “Dear God! Why haven’t you been charging me?!?” icon comes on. The watch itself is lucky to make it through a morning to evening day if you use it at all. Even not being used, it generally won’t make it a 24 hour period just being in standby off a charge.


Second, because of the anemic battery issues, you can’t just glance at the watch and get, you know, the time. You have to push a button and then pray that the stars align for the watch to wake up and show you the time. To be fair, when it did turn on and not lock up and had the battery to display the time, it seemed to be fairly accurate. Especially since it was synching from my iPhone and pulling the time over the Internet…

Since the dawn of Dick Tracy, who hasn’t wanted to have a watch-phone? I mean, glance down at your wrist, see who is calling and then have a conversation? The coolest, right?! That was the bit about the I’m Watch that really seemed the most promisingly awesome. I mean, sure, it has to be tethered to your phone via battery destroying Bluetooth, but, dammit, that is a price I’m willing to pay for a phone on my wrist! Except, the phone is SO deplorable that it is beyond unusable.

Don’t even think about talking to Siri using the watch. She returns a list of nonsense and #$^W$%&#%&*#$%^@#$^#  symbols that basically mean, “WTF did you just say to me?!?” I couldn’t get it to work with Siri no matter how close/far I had it to my mouth or how slowly and distinctly I spoke. Beyond just being unusable as a phone, the watch totally intercepts phone calls when you aren’t trying to use it! It then hijacks the call with its horrible, impossible to understand speaker and even worse microphone. If you get within Bluetooth range of the I’m Watch, it will suck in your phone call tractor beam style and take it over, basically ending your conversation.

From I’m Watch: “Note: the call quality and stability depends on many factors such as: the environment in which the Handsfree call is performed (the call quality is better in environments with low noise), the phone you're using, the distance between the phone and the i'm Watch, the position of the phone relative to the i'm Watch, the phone's network signal strength, and the presence of other disturbing electronical devices.”

Then there is the “app store.” You might think that with a “smart” watch you could access an “app store” directly FROM the watch, but you would be clearly doing too much thinking and not enough I’m Watch using. To access the “app store” you need to log into your I’m Watch account from a computer. Only then can you download one of the many (48 currently) useless apps that are available.

Things like calculator, battery, currency converter, an IQ test, a metronome, world flags, etc. There is a compass, but comparing that to other compasses proved that if you were in a desert with an I'm Watch relying on the compass to guide you to safety..well, scratch that. The battery would be dead and you wouldn't be able to use it. But IF the battery worked, the compass would lead you tantalizingly close towards North -- flirting with the kind of occasional accuracy that some may say equaled the 1 in 4 chance of actually guessing north -- to make you think you might have a hope of being rescued, but in actuality, it would be leading you straight into a punji-spear lined pit. The apps are all pretty lame and worthless especially considering that the only way you can actually use the I’m Watch is to already OWN a smartphone that, you know, does all this and more and better.

Then we get to things like Twitter, Facebook, SMS and email.

I was imagining that you could sit discreetly – say at a super boring meeting or something – and just look down at your watch and subtly check messages and tweets. I could never get the SMS part to work. Well, that’s not totally true. I got 3 totally random text messages that appeared for no rhyme or reason. I could never figure out why I got them or how to replicate the process. It will show you the first bit of an email – like who it is from and the subject – but not let you read the whole thing. For Facebook you could see that someone did something but not what it was. The Twitter app actually worked pretty well, showing mentions and your timeline and DMs.

So, without any more diatribe from me, here is the latest PR message that I received from the I’m Watch Information Minister last evening. My comments in parenthetical italics below…The images were from their message, the comments, not so much...

i’m Watch, the world's first Smartwatch entirely made in Italy has now turned two years old.

(This reminds me of a story…I was going to buy a car when I was 18 and I was considering getting an Alfa-Romeo. I pulled up to a mechanic in my German-made VW and asked him what he thought of the Alfa. The guy took a look at my car and said, “You have a German car. Do you like that all of the gauges and dials work?” “Yes, of course,” I said. “Would it bother you if they didn’t work or just bounced around all over the place or you had to spend hours tinkering on the car?” “Yeah! That sounds terrible.” “Then don’t buy an Italian car.”)

How an Italian manufacturer beat all large smartphone producer by two years, and created a 60 billion dollar market.

(The Darryl and I speculated on what this 60 billion dollar market could be. We decided that it was either the about-to-explode, incredibly lucrative and in-demand I’m Watch repair market, the I’m Watch parts recycling market, or the huge boon in traditional analog watches when people figure out what a hunk I’m Watch is.)

i'm Watch was invented by two young Italians and a team of engineers back in 2011.

Their invention completely transformed the watch concept. The innovative technology of this new product is patented.

(Apparently they started taking people’s money back then and just, you know, didn’t bother to send them any product or communicate with them. Here’s another excerpt from a review: Another review titled “I waited 7 months for THIS?!“Let’s just get this out of the way: the i’m Watch is a terrible product and one you should avoid at all costs. Forget all the issues with questionable selling practices and product delays that have enraged purchasers (Blue Sky i’m SpA took people’s money for over a year without shipping a product), many of which accused the i’m Watch of being some sort of scam. Forget it’s stupid name. Instead focus on the complete lack of functionality that makes it next to useless…[and] as it stands now I can’t recommend the i’m Watch for anyone. “)

Two big news will happen in April. Number 1, i'm Watch will make its first move into the large distribution stores of Media World and Saturn in Italy.

Number 2, with the launch of the i’m Watch Jewel line at Baselworld 2013, this smartwatch rises to the sector of high-end, luxury watches for the first time in the world.

(If you have the money to invest in a multi-thousand dollar jewel line I’m Watch, I implore you to look at the bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn. It is in AWESOME shape and I will give you a rock-bottom deal on it! Also, a Nigerian Prince has like $50,000,000 mill that he owes your family. I can send you the deets…)

The really first smartwatch for iPhone and Android, i'm Watch, is entirely made in Italy and has been literally transforming the watch concept over the last two years boosting a new market segment and a new estimated business sector of approximately 60 billion dollars according to Citigroup's analysis. Therefore, some of the prime multinational companies have recently started to evaluate the idea of launching on the market this transformative technology designed and produced by i’m. Two years after i’m Watch first release, they have tracked the possibility of a new business, whilst this little technological jewel (protected by three revolutionary international patents) keeps on building-up supported by the ruthless corporate activity in the field of research and development.

One of the most trivial belongings has turned into an extraordinary breakthrough device out of the brilliant idea of a far-seeing engineer, Mr Manuel Zanella, and the architect-designer, Mr Massimiliano Bertolini. At these days, finding something undiscovered is a nearly impossible venture. This invention appears to be even more a "once in a lifetime potential".

(The “once in a lifetime” is you getting one that works exactly as promised...)

As one of the world's most powerful market leader reinterpreted cellular phones, i'm Watch reinvented watches. “Knowing that large, international, smartphone producers are working at similar products as ours, makes us really proud, because that means they deem our Italian technology as a new business frontier. Multinational companies have already a consolidated consumers' market which will fit even better the smartwatch concept; i’m S.p.A. does not fear the competition and is honored by the fact that this little jewel of leading-edge technology has been made in Italy implementing an unmatched technology” – states Massimiliano Bertolini.

(Apple declined to comment for my story or discuss any iWatch rumors, but Steve Jobs is believed to have rolled over in his grave, cursed violently for several hours, then actually called up Tim Cook using an I'm Watch tethered to an iPhone7 and said, “This thing is total sh--! SH--!!! If you make anything like this I will haunt you and your family for generation upon generation!”;)

In the third millennium, i’m S.p.A. launched on the market of mobile technologies a never-seen before, trendy, and multitask gadget with unequalled performances that is bound to become a milestone in the history of time measuring devices.

(Wikipedia: “A gadget is a small tool such as a machine that has a particular function, but is often thought of as a novelty. Gadgets are sometimes referred to as gizmos”)

i’m has reinvented the watch shaping it into a “smart” item with unmatched, amazing performances for such a small item. Whilst watches used to be limited to "telling the time", nowadays smartwatches are a new generation of devices interacting with smartphones in order to receive calls, text messages, e-mails, notifications, music, agenda, weather, photos and any other app you could want or invent directly on your wrist, including the newest i'msport app that can be used to monitor your workout sessions.

(I can only guess that “telling the time” is in quotes because the chances of the I’m Watch actually telling you the time are far down the list of concerns of a “new generation of devices.” Time is an outdated concept. When you have I’m Watch, time doesn’t make you, YOU make TIME!)


i’m Watch is the outstanding result of a purely Italian project that broke through the frontiers of the international market. The largest smartphone producers have been overseeing i'm Watch success and know what this technology can bring in terms of new challenging business. This is also the reason why they are presently trying to come up with similar solutions.

However, this won't be any new discovery, as the original technology has already been invented and developed in Italy two years ago and is now covered by three patents.

(Three! Count them up, bitches! That’s three, not one, or two but THREE patents! No one else holds that many! I triple guarantee you!)

We are proud to announce that i’m Watch is exclusively Italian! Made-in-Italy design and technology without precedents for such a pocket-size device. i'm Watch is the perfect match between the most innovative Italian engineering and a unique, unmistakable style. High-quality materials and excellent manufacturing standards make it comfortable, durable and attractive to see and to wear. i’m Watch is much more than a watch.

(Because nothing says, “quality, long-lasting, and never has any reliability issues” like a Made-in-Italy stamp. And I’m saying this as a person whose last name is SCIACCA!)

i’m has obtained invention patents to ensure the original Italian design and make this smartwatch a real Made-in-Italy: “We have patented our intellectual property, as we knew this was bound to be a worldwide success. Our patents also represent a protection for our team of very young, Italian engineers, developers and designers, who have been working with us at this exciting and history-changing project at our premises in Vicenza what we love to call the Technology Valley of the Italian North-East” - explains Manuel Zanella.

(Did we mention we have three patents?!? Cause we do! Suckas!)

Categories: March 2013, Reviews, Rants

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Reply DW
11:02 AM on March 28, 2013 
Of all the horrible ways I have attempted to ruin your life, infiltrating the i'm Watch into your life has got to be the greatest, most insidious yet. The i'm Watch is like being addicted to heroine and cocaine - but without the highs. Yes, the i'm Watch gives you all the downsides addiction with none of the soaring happiness that comes with speedballing. You want the i'm Watch to work. You really do. And you spend lots of time trying to figure out why it's not doing what the i'm Watch folks (and their awesome, totally detached from reality PR department) says it's supposed to do. Sure, I got the i'm Watch for free, but I've paid dearly in hours (and hours) of my life that I'll never get back trying to get the damn thing to work.

Anyone who's ever said, "Even a broken watch is right twice a day" must now retract that statement as the i'm Watch has proven this age-old maxim totally incorrect and out-of-date. (I think that's one of the three patents...)

According to the i'm Watch website: "What your smartphone was missing before is finally here." Leave it to the Italians to create a watch that is time-consuming and makes your smartphone less useful.

By the way, the i'm Watch is on sale until March 31 for $299! Save $100!
And guess what? There's another firmware update. (This is #3 since I was afflicted with the i'm Watch.) And, of course, you have to download the huge update file (only 168 MB this time) to your computer, mount the watch as a drive on your computer, transfer the file to the watch, blah, blah, blah. It's all so convenient and time saving...
Reply John Sciacca
11:14 AM on March 28, 2013 
(This also from The Darryl...)
Dear Customer,

We would like to thank you for purchasing i'm Watch. Your satisfaction is our first priority so we are working in order to improve our products and services.

Please help us better understand your opinion and needs answering the survey at the following link: i'm Watch Use and Satisfaction .

Because we threw out your responses to our previous survey, we'd like you to try again.

In order to assist you better, we've limited the answer choices to "Good", "Gooder", and "Goodest", plus "Here's my credit card number. I want two more i'm Watches sent out Next Day Air".

Should you fail to fill out our new survey, rest assured we will complete it for you in the manner most complimentary to ourselves.

Thank you in advance for your stellar review.

Kind Regards

i'm Staff
Reply katzha
6:01 PM on July 18, 2013 
As an i'm Watch owner, I enjoyed your chillingly accurate review. However, I was disappointed by your overly generous evaluation. You obviously never tried to figure out the hilarious music app.
Reply Paul
6:42 AM on July 31, 2015 
I'm desperate - how do I remove my personal data (contacts, etc) from the watch before I sledge hammer it?