When I buy a gadget, I expect it to work as advertised. This sets me up for a lot of disappointment. Inaccurate GPS trackers, counterintuitive interfaces, and—most frustrating of all—batteries that die well before they’re supposed to leave me forlorn.
Thus it was with much trepidation that I decided to try the Lunar smartwatch ($299). The solar-powered activity monitor launched on Kickstarter last September with a simple promise: never worry about battery life again. But could a small startup crack the all-day-use problems that still plague giants like Apple and Samsung?
In bright, sunshiny New Mexico, where I live, the answer is yes.
The watch needs only an hour of daily light exposure to go on working forever—and the company says artificial indoor light works just as well as the sun. Now, don’t expect the Lunar to replace your training watch just yet. There’s no heart-rate monitor, and in place of a display, a pair of hands tick around a face behind a transparent solar panel. Vibrations alert you to texts and calls on your synced phone, while an LED array flashes when you hit activity targets. But for the convenience of never having to charge again, I’ll take it.