Matrix Industries announced the original PowerWatch back in 2016 with an intriguing, if somewhat hard-to-believe claim: a watch that used a proprietary thermoelectric energy converter to power the timepiece exclusively from excess body heat. And while the original PowerWatch did live up to those claims, it was somewhat limited in what it could actually do, with the first generation more or less limited to basic fitness tracking.
This year, though, Matrix is releasing the PowerWatch X, an updated version of its predecessor that adds support for smartphone notifications over Bluetooth, turning it into a true smartwatch.
I was able to demo the PowerWatch X briefly at CES, but unfortunately, the prototype I tested didn’t have functional notifications yet, so I can’t say how well that feature works or what notifications will even look like on the device. As for the hardware itself, it’s a pretty chunky watch even relative to other smart watches, although it was lighter than I expected and pretty comfortable despite its bulk.
Matrix Industries isn’t the only company trying to solve the smartwatch charging problem. We’ve seen crowdfunded projects try to use kinetic charging or solar power to try and pull off a similar trick, too.
The PowerWatch X is available for preorder for $249.99, and is expected to ship sometime in Q1 2018 (although no exact release date has been announced).