- BLOCKS is finally selling its modular smartwatch for $259
- The main body comes with a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen and a quad-core processor
- Six modular straps are available including GPS, LED flashlight, and extra battery, for $35 each
The world’s first customizable smartwatch is finally on sale for $259, but quite frankly, it could be a huge hit or a complete disaster.
BLOCKS unveiled its modular smartwatch all the way back in 2015, and while it managed to raise $1.6 million on Kickstarter in no time, the constant delays raised concerns that this ambitious project may never come to fruition. After a long wait, however, the company is finally ready to put its money where its mouth is, it seems: the BLOCKS smartwatch is now available for $259 through the company’s official website.
The watch itself looks not dissimilar to the LG Watch Style: it’s simple, if not boring. The main body is comprised of an anti-glare always-on 1.39-inch AMOLED screen, and the device is powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, and a 350 mAh battery. The main body also comes with built-in mic and speaker as well as Android Oreo pre-installed. Now, it’s the things that don’t come with the main watch that are interesting. Given that this is a modular device, BLOCKS is offering additional features in the form of detachable wristband pieces.
For example, you can spend extra money for an environmental sensor (temperature, air pressure, and humidity), heart rate sensor, LED flashlight, smart button (shortcut for apps), GPS, and extra battery. The exciting part, and what makes modular devices particularly desirable, is that future development is set to bring even more features like fingerprint scanner and gesture controls among others.
The BLOCKS smartwatch seems to be a solid smartwatch overall with unique customization features, so why do I say that it could be a huge hit or a complete disaster? First, the BLOCKS smartwatch is expensive. The main body costs $259, and for each modular wristband you add, you’ll be paying an extra $35. The total price of your smartwatch with the six available straps – most of which are commonly-found features in modern smartwatches anyway – comes out to be $469.
The total price of your smartwatch with the six available straps comes out to be $469.
Not only that, as evinced by LG and Motorola, average consumers are not quite ready for modular electronic devices yet. LG quickly abandoned its modular ambitions after the miserable G5 sales, and Motorola isn’t doing particularly well either with its unique yet prohibitively pricey Moto Mods. The idea of having a modular smartwatch seems attractive, but when considering that most smartwatches come with advanced sensors, GPS, and app shortcuts in a more affordable and attractive package, the BLOCKS smartwatch suddenly seems… overpriced.