Review: Get Notifications on Your Wrist without the Expense of a Smartwatch

While I appreciate my Apple Watch, it does introduce hassles like daily charging and extra heft, not to mention the price tag. There are more affordable smart watches and fitness bands but they often have their own drawbacks. The folks at Simple Matters think they have an alternative. The Ditto ($39.95) is a lot more affordable and it really shines when it comes to battery life. The Ditto ships with a button-cell battery that is rated to last from three months to as long as six months. They say it never needs charging, but that's a bit of a stretch because the battery does need to be replaced, eventually. Still, that is a huge difference from a device that needs to be charged daily or even weekly.

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Of course when that battery does die, you'll need to buy a new battery, so that's a bit of a setback. The lack of a charging port, however, does help make the Ditto waterproof, suitable for showering and swimming. You can wear the Ditto on your wrist or arm thanks to the included neoprene band, or just clip it to your clothing. The vibration mechanism is strong and should alert you even in noisy conditions. You use their free, companion app for iOS or Android to determine what types of messages to get a vibration for. You can also set a Do Not Disturb time period. 

Pros

  • Affordable alternative to smart watches
  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Wearable/clippable

Cons

  • Only provides vibrations
  • Needs a special battery
  • Smart watches are becoming more affordable

Final Verdict

If a smartwatch is too much for you, or you want to be alerted even when swimming the Ditto from Simple Matters is a low-cost, waterproof notification device with a long battery life.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.