The COGITO POP, along with it's COGITO Classic counterpart, are the followup devices to the popular Cookoo watch from ConnecteDevice. We first checked out both new devices at CES back in January, and were very impressed with the upgraded look and style of both the COGITO and COGITO POP. The new generation devices build upon the same simple notifications and amazing battery life of the original Cookoo, with newer, updated designs along for the ride.
The original Cookoo was a mixed bag for me. I really liked the overall design and feel of the watch — and that I didn't have to charge the battery — but the notifications were sorely lacking. The Cookoo provided simple alerts for things like SMS, email and social networks, but there was no text to go along with it. You know an alert has arrived, but you don't know who it's from or what it is — you still have to pull out your phone to check. This is something I had hoped would be updated on the COGITO and COGITO POP, which it was — but only slightly.
The COGITO Classic is solid from head to toe. It's beefy enough to stand out, but not so much that it's overly heavy and annoying. The metal casing has four buttons around the sides for performing various commands, and the face itself is very low-key and understated, which I like. The included silicone band is very comfortable, though you can swap out with any standard band as you see fit.
The digital display was easy to read in most cases, so I have no gripes there. Navigating around to change the settings was sometimes a pain, but thankfully you won't need to do so very often. Perhaps the biggest bonus of the COGITO is that you don't need to charge the battery. This guy (and the COGITO POP) run on a standard button battery that will give you nearly a year of full use before it needs replacing. A major selling point for anyone that's used a smartwatch with a crappy battery.
While I do prefer the design of the COGITO Classic, the POP isn't all that bad. It's mostly plastic all around, but it still feels very solid overall. Just two control buttons on the side, but it keeps it to a low-profile look. There are various vibrant colors available (hence the POP) so you can choose the one that best fits your personality.
The band here is changeable as well, but I actually found this one to be more comfortable than the Classic, plus the bands match the face of your chosen color, so swapping it out may detract from the overall look. And again, the battery here is a standard one, so you won't have to recharge this little guy and it will last for months on end.
The software is where things fall apart for me. As with the Cookoo before, I had nothing but trouble trying to connect both of these devices with my Nexus 5. It took me countless tries to get connected, and even after I did, I was always worried about the next time. Some software updates have addressed the issue a bit, but it's still a persistent one for me.
The Connected Watch application isn't the prettiest to look at either. It's very basic, but still has most of the features you'd expect to be there. It took a bit of tapping around at first to sort out what was what (the accompanying documentation isn't great). The main screen lets you choose what alerts goes to the watch — phone calls, SMS, email, calendar and the like. You can also see a running list of notifiers, or jump into the settings and tweak a few items. Here too are the camera, and "find my watch" controls.
The notifications are lacking by most standards, which is where these devices fall short for me. When they worked, they worked well, though they don't provide very much information. I prefer the COGITO Classic overall as the notifications are more robust, though not as much so as something like a Pebble. You get short snippets for alerts like phone calls or calendar alerts, but I still found myself jumping onto my phone to get the full scoop. The COGITO POP is a bit worse in that it still only shows you alert icons with no context, so you're left pulling out your phone to see what exactly the alert is. Not really something you want to do if you're using a smartwatch.
Third-party app support is also extremely lacking, so if you don't use all of the native apps on your device, you may not be able to receive some alerts on your watch. Some recent software updates have fixed this, but there are still quite a few apps missing from the list. Aside from just alerts you can control music, find your watch from your phone or your phone from your watch, setup a remote camera shutter, and set alarms. A few added bonuses but nothing that really sets these apart from other devices.
For me, the COGITO Classic and COGITO POP don't really make the cut of top smartwatches for me. While I really do love the overall look and feel of both, the software and notifications aren't up to par with where they should be. Other devices like the Pebble, Toq or even Gear 2 feature more robust options and alerts, and with new Android Wear devices on the way, the COGITO and COGITO POP will quickly be overlooked by most serious smartwatch fans, even at their low price point. That being said, if you're looking for something simple or just want to test the waters, these are still a viable option given the low price point.