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Nex Evolution a modular smart band

Adam Swimmer, Postmedia Network

, Last Updated: 4:05 PM ET

Smart bracelets and watches are still gadgets that are bit on the fringe.

While a number of people may have a Fitbit or Jawbone UP for when they work out, most of them probably don’t wear them the rest of the day. But a new product from Mighty Cast may change their minds on that.

Connecting to either an iPhone or Android device through Bluetooth, the Nex Evolution is a unique take on the traditional smart bracelet. On the surface, it may look similar to a lot of other smart bands. It can alert you to notifications from your phone (through vibrations and colourful light patterns), count your steps and so on.

You can also configure the band to light up when friends are nearby.

But the Nex Evolution actually offers far more variety.  It comes with five programmable modules, which allows you to assign specific functions to each of them.

With the accompanying Nex app, you can assign two hacks, as they’re called, to each module (one accessible from a double tap, the other through a long tap). These vary from music and camera controllers to games to hacks that interface with other devices in a smart home.

Once you access a given hack you want, the five modules then can serve as additional functions for that hack. So, for example, if you use the music controller, the five modules serve as buttons for playing music – play/pause, next track, last track, volume up and volume down.

These modules are also removable so you can swap them out for other modules you’ve programmed, or share them with friends.

And the Nex Evolution is aesthetically pleasing. Unlike many bands, the wearable is small, non-obtrusive and its snap-on strap makes it easy to put on and take off. Though, personally, I would prefer if the Nex Evolution had a screen of some kind – that would at least show the time, so I wouldn’t have to wear a watch as well.

Overall, it’s an interesting concept but at the moment it’s a little limiting. This may be partially because I was using the Android version Nex app which was released after the iOS one, but the number of featured hacks available is a little limited.

Also, the module “buttons” in some hacks work better than others. Going back to the music controller, while playing songs and advancing tracks works fine, adjusting the volume is a little awkward because, instead of just holding down the button as you would on a phone, you have to tap it multiple times to increase/decrease it in increments which can get annoying.

On the other hand, the camera controller app works quite well. You can very easily take photos and record videos on your phone from the band – even ing.

The Nex Evolution comes in white and black, is water-resistant and has a battery power of up to 3 days.

It can be purchased through thenexband.com for US$ 79.99.

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