This week our intrepid reviewer gets his mitts on the NHJ wristwatch TV from Firebox.
Even Batman needs to watch the news now and then, and if you need to accessorise a black Kevlar ensemble with something that picks up all five terrestrial television channels there’s really nothing more appropriate than the NHJ Wearable TV. This thickset little article, around the size of a pager, comes with a heavy-duty black rubber wrist strap, making it the first practical wristwatch TV outside the realms of science fiction (Seiko did make one a few years back, but it required a separate tuner the size of a hardback book).
The picture is surprisingly sharp, if a little contrasty on the 280 x 220 pixel screen. I couldn’t find any way of adjusting brightness or contrast but on the upside the lack of adjustability makes for a very simple-to-use device: the entire interface consists of one ‘mode’ switch and a pair of increment/decrement buttons that double up as volume and tuning. Channel-hopping is achieved by stepping between all the available broadcast channels, which is bearable, if not particularly 21st Century. You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that there’s no remote. The tuner, in case you hadn’t guessed, is analogue – meaning that this device is good in the UK for about seven more years. Not ideal, but that’s better than Tony Blair.
The aerial is concealed within the headphone cable, which is a neat touch, although I did briefly wonder whether I was somehow irradiating my head with high-frequency RF or, worse, Emmerdale. The headphones are a surprisingly good-quality set, and the package is also bulging with a variety of international power adaptors and a battery-powered ‘docking station’ that extends the one-hour internal battery life to a more movie-friendly 4 hours. It’s a shame that the internal power pack couldn’t be teased out to 90 minutes or so because I’d imagine one of the key markets for this little item would be live sporting events, giving you the best combination of stadium atmosphere and close-up TV coverage.
Overall, if you’re the kind of person that allows themselves, against their better judgement, to bedragged off to depressing camping holidays, or perhaps if you have ever considered attending a Formula One race (and I’m guilty on both counts) this is a handy little device to have around. Bear in mind, though, that the same money would also buy you a no-brand 28″ telly in any high street. It depends who you want to be – The Royle Family or Dick Tracy: I know which I’d choose but, then again, around me if a girl don’t wear fur, she don’t wear nuttin’. NHJ Wearable TV, £129. Available from Firebox.