Smartwatches/Bands
The Henlen modular smartwatch switches things up

Making the jump to becoming a smartwatch owner is a tricky decision. On the one hand, the added utility of a smartwatch can make one’s day more organized and efficient. On the other, smartwatches are continually criticized over being more a nuisance than anything, ultimately taking space away from other dumb, but far more stylish, watches.

The team at Henlen Watches felt the same and is now trying to fund its Origin Series of interchangeable smartwatches. A Henlen watch is comprised of three parts: its strap, its body, and its Cell, where all the technology is stored. Each part, including the Cell, is interchangeable between the two models available: the Commdander and the Covert. The former is a more rugged watch (with black or silver body options along with black or tan leather straps), while the latter is a more casual version (with the option of a rose gold or black body along with a chocolate leather or red leather strap). In this way, wearers of the Origin Series needn’t sacrifice the flexibility of multiple styles for a more connected experience.

Of course, a smartwatch needs to be technologically viable: The Cell’s 1.39-inch AMOLED display is made of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass that houses a 1.2GHz Dual Core Processor, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, and a 450 mAh battery good for a little more than a day. And since Henlen watches run their own custom, lightweight Android-based OS, it’s designed for a speedy experience.

The company’s goal when design the OS was for a user to never spend more than three seconds looking for relevant information. To do that, a layered system was created that first shows users more general information before a swipe or two unveils more detail. In addition, it completely separates notifications so that daily notifications aren’t mired by the unpredicatable ones like social media updates.

Another little trick sets either just the phone or just the watch to push users a notification rather than both going off at once — something all smartwatches do by default without much of a choice. $275 gets interested backers one Cell and a body of their choice by February 2016, while $325 gets the same with an additional body for more flexibility. The Henlen smartwatch’s Kickstarter campaign is looking for $100,000 by June 5th, 2016.

When compared to the leading smartwatches, the Henlen does much to address the pitfalls of being stuck to a single smartwatch. By offering not only strap changes but also body changes, its entire aesthetic can be changed — an important trait that appeals to a wider audience. It doesn’t offer anything incredibly compelling on the software front, containing the same heart rate monitor, stop watch, alarm, and music player apps others do. Social media integration is a nice touch, but no word on apps like Uber yet. Users will certainly look stylish with a Henlen watch, but this smartwatch ultimately doesn’t break the mold.