I’ve worn a smartwatch ever since my LG G Watch arrived (which I’ve subsequently replaced with a 1st gen Moto 360). Both of these wearables, and wearables in general, have solved a challenging problem that I didn’t even know I had. My phone spends a lot of time on my desk, on my nightstand, or on the dash of my car. I don’t like to be “one of those guys” that has his notifications turned up so the whole office hears when you’ve got an email, need to head to a meeting, or are getting a call. Unless my phone is in my pocket, it’s unlikely that I’ll know when I need to look at my phone. That’s where wearables come in.
My smartwatch vibrates, lights up, and alerts me with notifications coming from my phone, without ever having to look at my phone – regardless of where why phone is (as long as it’s within range). But smart watches aren’t for everyone, and they’re not for every situation. They’ve got to be charged at least once a day, they’re fairly bulky, and don’t even get me started about how expensive they are. And I’d generally advise against wearing it at the pool or taking it in the shower.
That’s where Ditto comes in. Santa Monica-based Simple Matters basically said “hey, what if we had a wearable that didn’t have a screen and didn’t need to be recharged?!” The Ditto was born.
Ditto is a little, black, pill-looking thing that weighs only 8 grams and measures 22 x 37 x 10mm. It’s powered by a replaceable coin-cell battery that will give you anywhere from three to six months (yes, months!) of use before you need to pop in a new battery. You don’t have to worry about any recharging – whether wired or wireless – or cords of any kind.
Just like Android Wear, Ditto ties into your phone’s Notifications system. When a notification comes in the app tells Ditto to vibrate. You can pick which types of notifications get sent (and from whom), and even the vibration pattern of those notifications. That’s pretty much it! Clip the unobtrusive, thumb-sized device onto your pocket, waistband, or even your bra strap, and whenever a notification comes in you’ll get a discreet vibration.
The only thing missing from this “anti-gadget” is a loop to hook it onto your key ring. When we reached out to Simple Matters to find out why this was overlooked we were told they had explored a variety of different attachment options, but, since Ditto needs to be worn close to the body so you can feel the vibration, it wasn’t included at launch time.
That’s just silly! The vibration motor inside the Ditto is impressively strong! Setting Ditto on the table and triggering an alert make it jump all over the place! Hopefully a keyring loop becomes a standard at some point in the future.
“Ditto is the anti-gadget, designed to free you from dependence on your smartphone. With no buttons, lights, or gimmicks, Ditto simply alerts you when something important is happening, so you can put your smartphone away and enjoy the moment, confident that important messages will get through.” – Bob Olodort, Ditto inventor and co-founder of Simple Matters
Whether you want to know immediately about every notification, or if you’d rather unplug and only be notified when the important people in your life are trying to get ahold of you, Ditto lets you do it.
To be frank, Ditto’s not for everyone. If you’ve already got a smartwatch, you’re probably not going to buy a Ditto – though the two do play nicely together. The device itself looks a little a little funky, and we had to brush off more than one “is that a vibrator in your pocket or…” joke during our review period. The overall utility of Ditto is limited, but if you’re looking for something that will notify you when the important people in your life are trying to get in touch with you – even if you phone isn’t on you at the time, Ditto might just be your solution!
Ditto works with iOS or Android; is available in black, white, and clear; and is available for purchase from Amazon, The Grommet, and directly from SimpleMatters.com for US$40.