Fashion technology aimed at women is a mixed bag, ranging from the sleek Ringly smart ring to the ugly Intel-powered MICA bangle and techie timepieces like the Huawei Watch Jewel. While other devices like the Netatmo June UV-sensing bracelet certainly look the part, they’re pretty limited when it comes to what they can do.
Designing a wearable gadget that’s both useful and good looking enough to actually wear out in public is no easy task, so has Elemoon got it right?
Essential reading: Best smart jewellery
Price when reviewed:$399Check current price
The Elemoon smart bangle is packed with LED lights that can produce different colour and patterns to match your outfit or you mood.
The device first surfaced back in August 2014 when the Kickstarter project went live, with the first samples eventually arriving with backers in 2015, after several months of delays. We got our party frocks on and headed out on the tiles.
The Elemoon arrived in a translucent 3D-printed spherical container that looks like a mini Deathstar – an immediate win in our book.
We were pleasantly surprised at how good the build quality was when we first laid eyes – and hands – on the bangle itself. The chic design means that the Elemoon actually looks like a piece of jewellery when it’s powered down, making it one of the few fashion wearables that we’re happy to wear.
There are four colour combinations to choose from, with buyers given the choice of a black or white LED panel, and a silver or gold finish. You’ll also get to choose between the standard size, which measures 68 x 25 x 56 mm and weighs in at 57.15g, and the petite option which features 65 x 25 x 50 mm dimensions and tips the scales at 56g
We opted for the standard white on silver bangle which fits well and is comfy to wear.
Aside from the metallic underside and edging, the bangle sports a plastic panel covering five rows of 15 LED lights. There’s a tiny power button on the inside which is a bit fiddly to use, but that’s probably for the best as it means that it won’t accidentally turn off the Elemoon when you’re wearing it.
Elemoon: Smartphone app and features
Like most wearables, Elemoon syncs with a dedicated smartphone app over Bluetooth. It’s currently only available on iPhone.
There are no instructions in the box, just a card directing you to elemoon.com where there are a series of handy tutorial videos. These are great but some straightforward written instructions on initial setup would be handy, too.
The app is pretty straightforward but needs some polishing. The troubleshoot and FAQ sections on the app are currently empty, and there are lots of bugs that need to be sorted.
A double tap on the bangle will bring up the time, like a digital watch and tapping twice again make it disappear again. You do have to make sure that you tap in the right spot, in the centre, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly.
Activity tracking means that you’ll get a daily record of your steps, which is handy. However, while the app has a default target of 10,000 the option to change it doesn’t work – a bug that will hopefully be fixed in a future update.
Tapping the bracelet three times, should fire up the ‘find your phone’ feature where a red question mark will appear on the wristband and your phone will make a noise so that you can find it. This didn’t work when we tried it, we got the question mark, but nothing from our phone, so we’d hope to see that fixed in the next update as well.
Elemoon: Patterns and notifications
The Elemoon’s superpower is LED-lit patterns and there’s a selection of presets to choose from, some scrolling and some static. It’s a simple idea, but really effective, especially on a night out.
You can match the patterns to your outfit by using the aptly named ‘colour match’ function, which prompts you to take a snap of a garment or use any photo from your phone’s library as a source. The patterns will then be altered to match the new colours.
It’s a cool feature, but it’s easily confused. It work’s well if you take a snap of something with just two or three colours, but patterns or pastel shades appear to be more difficult for it to translate into LED lights.
You can assign patterns to different contacts on your phone so that you’ll know if one of your faves is calling without looking at your handset. This works well enough, though it’s pretty basic considering what other wearables offer. The maker tells us that it’s currently working on expanding the range of notifications to include social media apps.
The Elemoon app also enables you to create your own patterns, though we ran into another bug at this point that only stored one line of the LED pattern that we’d concocted.
Confusingly, we got an alert that brought up the words “oops” and “back” written in LED lights on the bangle. There’s no explanation anywhere as to what this means, but we’re guessing that it was alerting us that we’d strayed too far from our smartphone (even though we were only a few metres away).
Elemoon: Battery life
The battery life depends on how much the LED lights are on and the bad news is that you’ll run out of juice after a few hours if the lights are on the whole time, depending on which pattern you’re using.
The makers have come up with a clever workaround, which is a blank pattern called battery saver. When this is the synced pattern, the bangle is still powered on but with nothing showing on the panel. A double tap will still fire up the time and the tracking and notifications will still work. We found that the battery lasted a few days like this.
The bangle gets a little too hot when fully lit up for extended periods of time, so the battery saver mode was a good alternative and offers a more subtle look when you’re out and about and don’t necessarily want to draw attention to yourself with a bizarre disco bangle.
The Elemoon takes 1.5 hours to charge fully, and you’ll know it’s ready as a blinking green will appear, along with two short vibrations. Likewise, if the battery is low – under 30 per cent – then a red heart will appear.
The USB charging cable features a clever little magnetic connector that hooks up to the port on the inside of the bangle, though it could do with being a little longer.
We really, really like the Elemoon but it needs refining if it’s going to make it as a must-have wearable. The design is great, the fancy LED patterns are inexplicably mesmerising and it even functions as a watch. We’re happy to wear it on one wrist and an Apple Watch on the other, but in it’s current form there’s no way it could replace a smartwatch. The Elemoon developers have stuck to just a few features for starters and there’s nothing wrong with that if they plan to expand on the initial offering. However, even with just a few functions, there are still quite a few bugs that need ironing out, especially given the price tag. At the moment, Elemoon is a nice piece of jewellery with an awesome party trick, rather than a hugely useful wearable, but if the makers can iron out the kinks then they may just have a hit on their hands.
- Attractive, jewellery-like design
- Cool LED lighting concept
- Personalised call notifications
- Poor battery life
- Limited notification options
- App has lots of bugs that need ironing out