Fact Checked

What is a Wrist Cell Phone?

John Lister
John Lister

A wrist cell phone is effectively a watch with a built-in telephone. As well as being promoted as a "must-have" gadget, it can reduce clutter in pockets and limit the risk of losing a phone. At their launch, the leading models of wrist cell phone were relatively expensive compared to a standard phone with the same features.

The first wrist cell phone from a major manufacturer was the LG GD910. It was particularly notable as it could handle the high-speed HDSPA connection which has a theoretical maximum data transfer speed of 7.2Mbps, faster than many wired broadband services. It also came with a Bluetooth® connection, which means the user could make phone calls with an earpiece/microphone rather than having to hold the watch to their face.

An earpiece may be used with a wrist cell phone.
An earpiece may be used with a wrist cell phone.

The main rival following on from the GD910 was Samsung's S9110. It was billed as the thinnest ever wrist cell phone at just 11.98mm (0.47 inches) thick. Its other key selling point was that it supported Microsoft® Outlook synchronization, meaning users could easily receive and reply to e-mails.

There are some major drawbacks to using a wrist cell phone. The biggest is that the screen size is much smaller than most smart phones. with the initial LG and Samsung models both having screens less than 5cm (2 inches) in diameter. Another problem is that this small size meant there is no room for separate keys, so a touchscreen is used. Some users may find this too difficult for typing messages, particularly considering that they will have to use only one hand unless they take the watch off.

Wrist cell phones cannot make video calls in the style of the TV show and comic strip Dick Tracy. This is because the processing power needed to make video calls requires hardware too bulky to fit inside a wrist cell phone. Whether firms pursue a video wrist phone may depend on how well existing wrist cell phones sell.

A cheaper but far less stylish alternative is a jogging cell phone holder. This uses a combination of straps and a casing to attach the phone to a wrist. Most manufacturers offer a range of styles to cope with different types of cellphone such as flip phones or those with a touchscreen across the entire face of the phone. The main use of such a product is to keep the phone handy while out running, though it can also be a way to avoid having to rummage through pockets or bags to answer a call. Some manufacturers also market their holder as a safety tool as it allows people instant access to make an emergency call if they are attacked or physically threatened.

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Discussion Comments


I think there are many problems with wrist cell phones that will prevent them from ever being a commonly used technology. A major issue is battery life which is short for wrist cell phones because the battery is small. The other issue is that it is almost impossible for people with large hands to use. It's also strange to talk into a wrist cell phone and using the internet is again, not possible.


@ZipLine-- I have actually seen a wrist cell phone model with a larger screen and separate keys to dial numbers. So I don't think that all wrist cell phones are difficult to use. If consumers show interest, I'm sure manufacturers will keep improving them to make them easier to use.


I bought a wrist cell phone out of curiosity last year but ended up returning it after just a few days. A wrist cell phone definitely looks very cool and interesting. But unfortunately, it's difficult to use because of the screen size as the article said. I had a hard time using the tiny touch screen of the cell phone which came with a tiny touch screen pen. I had a hard time seeing what was on the screen and the screen was not as sensitive as it should have been.

So my experience was a disappointment and I returned the phone and lost some money because of the re-stocking fee. I don't think wrist cell phones are going to replace regular cell phones any time soon.

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    • An earpiece may be used with a wrist cell phone.
      By: Artur Synenko
      An earpiece may be used with a wrist cell phone.