I turned off all the features on this $200 smartwatch, and now it's the minimalist 'dumb watch' of my dreams

My first thought after unboxing the Ticwatch 2 was, “Wow, what a beautiful watch.”

And it is: It’s entirely black with a smooth rubber band, oversized brushed metal face, and a sleek look that’s modern and sophisticated.

I loved my new watch. And then I remembered it was actually a smartwatch, which meant I had to pair it with my phone, tell it my weight — ack — and allow it to hide me for not meeting my step goals.

The prospect of introducing another computer into my life seemed exhausting.

I gave the Ticwatch a fair shake, though. I downloaded the app, set up Bluetooth pairing, and entered a few fitness goals. I dutifully stood up when it told me to, enjoying the subtle, conspiratorial buzz at my wrist. I enjoyed the thickness of the watch face, the weight of it, and even the feeling like it could easily be a very chic house arrest bracelet.

I even kind of liked that it bugged me with Slack messages I had already read on my actual computer. “You’re still learning,” I thought. “One day you’ll actually be smart.”

But in my heart of hearts, I knew I didn’t really want it to be smart. Its intelligence seemed unnecessary — annoying, even — when all I really wanted was to look at something pretty.

So I unpaired it, took away its gesture commands, disabled messaging and calling, and fiddled with the watch face until I found a digital display in a cool, modern-looking layout. In short, I turned it into the minimalist “dumb watch” of my dreams.

Life is better these days. Sure, without its prodding, I’m often not standing up for an hour at a time. And yes, perhaps I don’t feel shamed into walking home instead of taking the subway in order to meet my rigid step goals. I’m not as connected to my emails and messages as I could be, and I’m wearing a $US200 product as a simple digital watch, something that could easily be achieved with a $US22.99 Timex version from Walmart.

My problem was that the Ticwatch did too much. Its frequent need to be charged required outlet space I couldn’t spare, its capabilities neither replaced nor complemented my iPhone’s, and it constantly distracted me by lighting up and begging for my attention. And that’s not a knock on the watch itself, which is a perfectly fine smartwatch — it’s the problem with the smartwatch industry as a whole.

So for now, I’ll keep enjoying my beautiful, dumb watch.

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