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Why don’t more smartwatches have a flashlight?

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Acer’s new wearable seems unimpressive, but it’s got at least one useful thing

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Acer announced a lot of new products today: powerful gaming laptops, fancy monitors to go with them, and even a 360-degree camera that can make voice calls. One item on that list was the Leap Ware smartwatch. Now, I don’t want to be mean without giving this thing a fair shot, but my initial impressions weren’t the best. The watch’s proprietary software felt sluggish, the display is fairly dim and difficult to read, and the design itself won’t appeal to everyone. But the Leap Ware does have at least one clever trick in its feature set: there’s an LED flashlight built in.

The product demo tables were outside in the Manhattan daylight, so I couldn’t get a good sense of how bright the LED gets in the dark. Acer says it’s good for things “like unlocking your front door late at night” and can be used as a safety measure if you’re running outside at night. But integrating a flashlight inside at least some wearables is an idea I can get behind. Sure, there are practicality obstacles. Smartwatch batteries are tiny. What if you wear your watch on your right wrist?

Acer’s Leap Ware smartwatch.

And yes, pretty much every smartphone has this function nowadays, but you don’t always have your phone in your hand or in your pocket when you need a quick beam of light to help find something — like last night when I was lying on the floor trying to find my Apple TV remote underneath the couch. I’m not sure Acer’s watch flashlight would’ve been powerful enough to illuminate the abyss down there, but I like the idea. It could work in tighter spaces, and I’d probably use the thing more often than I’d make calls from my wrist. There’s potential, even if we only reserve this feature for the wearables that own their ugliness.

I didn’t say everything about this watch is perfect.