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The PowerWatch 2, a smartwatch that draws enough body heat to never need recharging, is officially on sale in the US and UK – and it’s shipping out to folks who preordered.

The smartwatch – or more accurately, a robust fitness watch – is available on the PowerWatch online store. The standard PowerWatch Series 2 comes in a black steel finish with silicone strap and costs $499 / £499, while the Series 2 Premium with silver finish and stainless steel bracelet runs $599 / £599. At the top of the list is the Series 2 Luxe, which packs a titanium finish and stainless steel milanese bracelet for $699 / £699.

The startup Matrix Industries first revealed the smartwatch at CES 2019 as a successor to the original PowerWatch that uses the same thermodynamic technology to stay on without the need to recharge. The new version refined the design to shore up deficiencies compared to other modern smartwatches, but given it doesn’t run watchOS or Wear OS, it won’t come with the litany of apps available to those platforms.

Otherwise, the improvements on the original PowerWatch are very welcome: a sharper 1.2-inch display, removal of the clunky crown, addition of haptics and GPS/heart rate, and slimming the overall width slightly from 50mm down to 47mm. It also has a solar strip on the outer rim as a redundant power source should the thermoelectric capabilities fail.

A watch for fitness fanatics and outdoor enthusiasts

That price tag is certainly high – for the price of an Apple Watch 5, you’re getting a smartwatch that isn’t smart enough to display texts, emails or other shortcuts. It’s not nearly as sleek or attractive as an Apple smartwatch or, say, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. But the PowerWatch 2 isn’t meant for beauty or multitasking.

Instead, the PowerWatch 2 is for a third category of smartwatch owners: fitness fans and outdoors folk. Its rugged setup with 200m water resistance, GPS location and activity tracking make it a promising solution for consumers who need smartwatch functionality in active situations that would endanger other wearables.

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