Burg 12 Smartwatch Takes an Ambitious Shot at Stardom

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You have to give the folks behing the Burg 12 smartwatch credit for their ambition. They came up with a device that looks to make phone calls, receive text messages take pictures and tell the time — all for under $300. It doesn’t necessarily fire on all of those cylinders 

From the company founded by lifestyle designer Hermen van den Burg, the watch’s main claim to fame is the ability to make phone calls from the wrist, ala Dick Tracy. Mind you, this device hit the market before the Apple Watch and manages to make its calls with its own interior SIM card.

The Burg 12 also looks to take photos and videos, record voice memos and messages, organize tasks and contacts and send and receive text messages. 

More than half an inch thick, the Burg 12 feels solid on the wrist — maybe too solid as it also can come off too bulky and heavy. But, the build quality feels solid enough.

Related: Smartwatch Makers Look for Their Niche

To work with its touchscreen, the Burg 12’ includes a telescoping stylus that slips out of a hole just under the watchband’s buckle. It extends from about one inch to just over two and is tipped with plastic tip. The stylus seems tricky at first as the fingers tips fumble with what amounts to a small, slippery metal rod. With accurate and reliable fingerprinting proving very difficult on the Burg 12’s small screen, the stylus does become useful.

The watch uses an OS unique to Burg that proves easy enough to use. But, the 1.5 inch square (240 by 240 pixels) touchscreen can be foggy and slow to respond.

On the phone front, the good2GO SIM inside the Burg is capable of using the AT&T network. Once that introductory SIM is used up, users can swap in another prepaid good2GO or switch to native SIMs from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or other manufacturers.

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The smartwatch accepts micro USB headphones with an inbuilt mike for phone calls. That makes an improvement over the onboard speaker. With headphones, audio quality is tinny with some hiss.

One thing the wearer won’t have to worry about is the battery life. Even while testing so many of its functions — good, bad or otherwise — the phone stayed in use for a full two days before demanding a recharge. That’s the longest straight use period I’ve come across in a smart watch.

With a price under $300, the Burg 12 looks to max out its functionality at a low price point than its bigger name competition. Unfortunately, the only functions that really work easily are the phone and the actual timekeeping. Unless you’re desperate to talk through your wrist, a smartphone can do that.