Battery life on smartwatches is, in a word, bad. And while most of today’s watches can more or less make it through a day without dying, they’re still a far cry from the months or even years that traditional watches can run for.
What if you never had to charge your smartwatch? That’s the promise of Lunar, a new Kickstarter project that claims to be the world’s first solar-powered smartwatch. Solar-powered wristwatches aren’t a particularly new concept; Casio and Citizen are two particularly well-known brands. Lunar isn’t the first hybrid smartwatch to try and solve the battery problem, either: a company called Sequent took a stab at it on Kickstarter earlier this year using kinetic charging, too.
However, Lunar does seem to be the first to apply solar tech to a smartwatch — or at least, a hybrid smartwatch. The company says that the watch can charge off both indoor and outdoor light, and can run off as little as one hour of exposure a day. (The company also includes a traditional inductive charger as a backup.)
As for the watch itself, it’s a pretty standard hybrid smartwatch, solar power aside. It’ll be able to do basic activity and sleep tracking, offer some limited notification support through a colored LED, and automatically set time zones through a connected smartphone app. Also, given the need for low power consumption for the solar charging to feasibly work, there’s no screen on the Lunar. Instead, there’s just a ring of LED lights located where hour markers would be.
From a design perspective, Lunar doesn’t look terrible either: it has a simple black watchface ornamented with some decorative concentric rings. The case measures 41mm and is made from stainless steel, while the crystal offers a choice of either sapphire-coated glass or sapphire crystal glass. The biggest issue is the giant, off-center “Lunar” logo that dominates the 4 o’clock area of the face, which lends a tacky feel to the entire thing.
Lunar is a first-time company, so the usual warnings to use your best judgement apply. That said, the company does seem pretty far along, promising to ship the first devices by December 2017, which is certainly a good sign (assuming it actually manages to do it).
The Lunar watch is available on Kickstarter for an early-bird price of $138. However, that model only offers the sapphire-coated glass, not the full sapphire crystal, which starts at $169 and won’t ship until 2018.