Hands-on: Ditto is a tiny wearable with a refreshingly minimalist focus

ditto2
Credit: Jared Newman

In a wearable market where everyone’s desperate to stand out, Ditto is happy not to.

By design, the thumb-sized wearable doesn’t do much. It has no display and no lights, no fitness tracking and no app store. All it does is pair with your phone and vibrate for notifications from your favorite apps and contacts.

The idea is that you can wear Ditto discretely—clipped to your waistband or bra, perhaps—and get alerts for things that really matter. The companion app lets you choose which apps or contacts make Ditto buzz, and assign a distinct vibration pattern to each one. Ditto can also wake you without disturbing a partner and remind you that you’ve left your phone behind, buzzing as it falls out of Bluetooth range.

Ditto launched a Kickstarter campaign last November, but we were able to see it up close at CES. It’s even smaller than it seems in pictures, and it has a clever clipping mechanism built in, with a slight raised edge that you press on to open the clip. Ditto also includes a rubberized wrist strap in its $40 asking price, though the device’s utilitarian color options (black, white and clear) don’t really lend themselves to fashionable wearing. The battery is a standard coin shape that needs replacement every four to six months.

ditto3 Jared Newman

Ditto’s companion app lets you choose which apps and contacts will trigger a buzz.

The companion app is straightforward enough, letting you tap on each listed app or contact to set up their vibration patterns. Though the app couldn’t yet program vibrations for all third-party apps, we’re told that’ll change by the time Ditto launches later this quarter.

Why this matters: While Ditto isn’t as full-featured as your average smartwatch, that’s the point. It’s an alternative for people who don’t want another screen to keep track of, but still need a little extra nudge for important notifications. In our brief hands-on time, Ditto appears to be living up to its admittedly minimal promises.

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