Despite my fairly extensive history reviewing and even developing wearable tech, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a device that elicited more of a “Thinking Face” emoji than the Wristcam. A dual-camera watch band that connects to and works with your Apple Watch? Hmmm.
The premise alone had me intrigued. After all, it’s not hard to imagine the possible advantages of having a capable camera on your wrist. In my mind, I was picturing a sleek, James Bond-esque gadget that was equal parts portable webcam and spy shooter.
The reality didn’t quite mirror the fantasy.
For starters: While the Wristcam is lightweight, easy to install, and, aesthetically speaking, has a nice clean footprint, it’s not what you would call “sleek.” Don’t get me wrong: It’s not obtrusive or gaudy, but it’s not invisible, either. It’s a question of perspective, really. It’s either the smallest, most inconspicuous action/vlogging cam I’ve ever seen, or it’s the chunkiest watch strap I own. As with most things, my judgment is ephemeral and largely based on the outfit I’m wearing at the time.
Honestly, it’s not bad. It’s definitely better than I imagined given its size limitations. Can the Wristcam compare with the latest iPhone camera? No, don’t be ridiculous. But is the tradeoff in quality worth not having to lug my novella-size iPhone 12 Pro Max around with me? In a lot of circumstances, I think so.
And that’s just the photo quality aspect of it. I was actually more impressed with the video. Again, the picture quality wasn’t at the same level as my iPhone, but Wristcam goes where smartphone users fear to tread: the water (or any other action-adjacent environment). Its ruggedized shell is water and dust resistant, making the Wristcam a functional action camera you can wear on your wrist—without any kind of bulky attachment or adhesive mount. A couple of years ago, I took an action cam with me on a mud run. It worked fine, but it was such a chore to use. What I wouldn’t have given to have Wristcam back then.
The action-cam appeal was all well and good, but the biggest appeal of the Wristcam isn’t even at its final form: live video messaging. Right now, you can use the Wristcam to record and send live video messages to other Wristcam users or anyone who has the Wristcam messenger app on their phone. It’s not “live” the same way that video teleconferencing is live. It’s more of a video walkie-talkie kind of thing. But as someone who uses video messaging apps like Marco Polo all the time, I was very much into it. The videos were nice and clear, and I like communicating with my friends and family that way. Also—and this is just a hunch—I get the sense that actual “live” video conferencing through the Wristcam is coming sooner rather than later.
Now, would I recommend the Wristcam? It depends. As someone who reviews consumer tech, Wristcam falls into that category where I definitely don’t want to return it, but I’m also not sure if I’d drop $300 to buy it. I love the video messaging aspect of it. I wish everyone would get on board with this trend, and if they did, then I’d tell you to get one, absolutely. Also, if I knew for certain that live video conferencing was on the way, then again, I would say get one and don’t look back. But I can’t guarantee either of those things, so I’ll hedge my recommendations by saying that Wristcam seems like a great solution for Apple Watch users who don’t like being tethered to their phone’s camera or for those who want an action cam they don’t have to mount on their bike helmet or strap to their chest. Also, it’s just cool. Not sure that it would pair too well with a Tom Ford suit, but using it did make me feel like James Bond, and, honestly, what else is there?
Are you ready for the Wristcam? Engage with us in the Comments section, below