Hands on: Samsung Charm review

A wearable that favours the ladies

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

A sleek little wearable, but will it be enough just to track steps and show notifications in today's increasingly powerful wearable world?

For

  • Compact design
  • Loads of options for wear

Against

  • No haptics for notifications on smaller Charm
  • Needs more holding modes

One of the biggest issues that wearable brands are facing these days is how to stick them onto the human body without it looking like you're a massive tech nerd.

Smartwatches sort of address the issue, but they're still mostly behemoths on the wrist compared to your day-to-day timepieces. So how do you create something that will give you the fitness data many people crave, but somehow stay invisible?

Samsung's new wearable range aims to solve that problem, going down the modular route that many other manufacturers have taken.

Samsung Charm

The 'Samsung Charm' (the name of which I only gleaned from the companion app, with Samsung representatives telling me there was no name yet) is a small device that can be clipped in and out of different jewellery-styled holders.

You can stuff it in a cufflink, wear it around your neck, or even have it as a ring if you want to get the maximum fitness data but still want to look stylish with it. Well, sort of stylish... this thing isn't tiny.

Samsung Charm

There are two versions of the Charm, with the aforementioned model being more multi-faceted than the bracelet version, which is a larger module that adds wider functionality.

Samsung Charm

The smaller charm seems to be pretty compact though, given that it's supposed to be able to track steps (and presumably sleep), and deliver notifications when they come through.

Samsung Charm

Sadly, the smaller module can't buzz to let you know when something has come in that requires your attention – it'll just flash a notification light to let you know it's time to get your phone out.

The larger bracelet version can do all the haptics though, so if you're looking for something a little more functional then that's your option.

Samsung Charm

While there were cufflinks on offer to show how man-friendly the Samsung Charm is, this felt again like a wearable aimed at women, with the necklace and ring configurations, and the slimline design of the larger bracelet version, looking very much like female jewellery.

If you're thinking this seems a lot like what Misfit is offering then, well, you're not too far wrong. The smaller Charm module moves around just like Misfit's does (although it's slightly more compact, thus making it more applicable for things like rings) and the bracelet version mirrors very closely the new Misfit Ray – although given that both were launched at the same show it's likely that's just coincidence.

Early verdict

I was only able to pick up the bangle version of the smaller Samsung Charm, so I wasn't able to see how easily it flitted in and out of different holders. It didn't seem overly clunky though, and while it would be on the large side to wear as a ring, it wouldn't look ridiculous.

The key question here is how accurate its tracking information would be, given that it can be placed at different locations on the body – would you get the same step-tracking information with the device worn on your finger as with it around you neck, for example?

It would be nice to see more male-oriented options for wearing the Charm as well, to make it properly unisex – I really like the idea of shoving it in a pair of cufflinks.

There's no word on pricing or a release date – this seems like only a concept at the moment. But it's a cool concept, and one which suggests the bigger players are thinking about how to get wearables more seamlessly into our lives.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.