Burg 12 smartwatch

Review: Burg 12 smartwatch

If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, the smartwatch is coming. With just about every company out there scrambling to put some technology on your wrist it’s a virtual inevitability that the concept is here to stay. Now all we have to do is define what exactly the concept is, and find a device that can deliver on it. In search of that goal, I recently reviewed the Burg 12—a smartwatch that is also a smartphone. Or maybe it’s a watchphone.


The Burg 12 looks and feels impressive. The one I used has a large silver oval watch attached to a black rubber watchband.

It is heavy, but in a way that makes it feel like it’s constructed of quality materials more than just being bulky.

At over half an inch thick you won’t soon forget it’s on your wrist, and you need to be careful not to bang it on walls or door frames as you’re walking about.

It has two buttons on the left side: one above and one below an access panel that opens to expose the microUSB port. The top button powers the Burg 12 on or off, and ends a phone call and the bottom button is the “OK” button for navigating through the Burg 12 interface, and places a call.

The Burg 12 includes a USB to microUSB cable to charge it. It does not come with a wall charger, so you’ll have to connect it to a PC or use some other USB-capable wall charger. The box also includes wired earbuds with a microphone that plug into the microUSB port so you can speak and hear without having to hold your wrist up to your head.


It might be quicker to list the functions the Burg 12 doesn’t have. It’s a phone, messaging, multimedia playing, voice recording, camera, calendar, FM radio, calculator, touchscreen enabled device with Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology and up to 16GB of microSD storage that you wear on your wrist.

You can add a SIM card to the Burg 12 and use it as a standalone smartphone…or watchphone. It can make or receive calls, and send or receive text messages using its own SIM even without pairing to any smartphone.

Or you can pair it with an iPhone or Android smartphone. It sets up a two-way communication that enables the Burg 12 to make and receive calls, and send and receive text messages on the watch through your smartphone. It can also synchronize the phonebook or contact list from your smartphone to the Burg 12 so you can scroll through and find the person you want to call or message without having to check your phone.

It can play music stored locally on the SIM, or through its FM radio, or streamed from your paired iPhone or Android smartphone. If you don’t want to try and listen to music from a tiny wrist-based speaker, the Burg 12 also comes with earbuds that plug into the microUSB port on the side of the watch, or you can pair it with Bluetooth headphones.

Oh. It’s also a watch. So, it tells you what time it is.

My Experience

The watch was a bit bulky and took some getting used to. I’ve worn an iPod Nano “smartwatch”, Pebble, Moto 360, and Omate X. The Burg 12 is much larger and heavier than any of those. That is partly a function of how solidly it’s constructed, and partially due to it also cramming in the technology to act as a standalone smartphone.

Call quality was good. The person on the other end of the calls I made with the Burg 12 had no complaints and didn’t realize I was talking into a watch. The sound quality of the watch-based speaker on my end was another story, though. I highly recommend using a Bluetooth headset of some sort, or the microUSB earbuds supplied with the Burg 12 for any phone calls—whether from the Burg 12 itself, or using two-way communication to make or receive calls through your smartphone.

The Burg 12 was able to go two or three days on a full charge with moderate use. I didn’t make or receive any lengthy calls using the watch, and I didn’t spend a lot of time watching music videos. I just used it as I would use a watch…or smartwatch. I’d probably still recommend charging it nightly. It also just seems to make sense because I don’t wear the watch to bed so it may as well be charging while I’m asleep.

The camera is pretty bad. Plus it’s on your wrist and pointed at you so it’s not really good for much more than a grainy selfie. I certainly wouldn’t rely on the camera for anything, but I suppose it’s convenient to have a camera—even a bad one—available in a pinch if you really need one.

The touchscreen display sensitivity is poor—at least with a finger. It works much better with the stylus—a tiny collapsible stylus is embedded in the watchband near the buckle. You can also use anything else for a stylus. I used a mechanical pencil tip (without the lead extended in case that’s not obvious) and it worked fine. What I did find as well, though, is that interacting with the touchscreen got easier the more I used it. I figured out that with a little more pressure, and slower, more deliberate motions I could navigate using my finger as well.

My biggest complaint about the Burg 12 is the little metal door on the side that lets you access the microUSB port. It wouldn’t stay latched shut. Most of the time it wasn’t a problem, but quick movement or raising my hand above parallel to the ground were often enough to make the little door fly open. For any future Burg smartwatch models I recommend they come up with a better way to secure that port cover.

The Verdict

I’m not sure what the “right” price point is yet for a smartphone. At $200 it costs twice as much as the popular and successful Pebble. It also does much more. It’s cheaper than the Moto 360 and the Samsung Gear 2, and the Apple Watch is expected to start around $350 when it launches. Basically, $200 seems like a reasonable price for the Burg 12.

The Burg 12 is solid. I almost want to say it was bulky—and compared to most other watches it is both thicker and heavier—but mostly that made it feel like a quality, well-constructed device. Since I wasn’t sold on the idea of having my smartwatch be a standalone phone able to make and receive calls with its own separate phone number, though, the added bulk probably isn’t necessary.

If you want a device that can pair with your iOS or Android smartphone, and allows you to make and receive calls from your wrist, the Burg 12 is worth checking out. I wouldn’t plan on capturing your child’s birthday party with the Burg 12 camera, or watching The Matrix on the wrist-based display, but Burg gets more right than wrong, and the price is fair for what you get.

196 thoughts on “Review: Burg 12 smartwatch”

  1. I imagine a smaller women’s version is out of the question since this one already has heft and bulk due to all the technology it includes! Sounds like a fun watch though.

    1. Well, it’s not entirely out of the question as a concept. If you visit the Burg website (http://burgsmartwatch.com/) you’ll see it offers a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

      It is, however, out of the question for this giveaway because all I have is the Burg 12 unit I reviewed.

  2. I left one cool thing out of the review. When it’s paired with your iPhone or Android smartphone it can also act as an alarm to guard against a lost or stolen smartphone. You can set it to alert you when the connection is broken, so the Burg 12 can give you a heads up as you’re leaving a restaurant that you left your smartphone at the table, or it can let you know that someone has stolen your smartphone and has now walked out of range with it.

    1. Marcie Dittoe Prock


      I bought the Burg 12 and cannot get it to pair with my android. The instructions have a scan icon which takes me to an app no longer available. Any advice?

      1. one thing with Burg once you buy one the support stops. The battery lasts 1-2 hours, but no support. Verdict buy from Apple or similar that does offer support, PS do not buy from Samsung unless you are willing to upgrade every time a new model is released, as there supoprt stops when the new release happens (maybe Burg are a subsidary of Samsung as same crap values)

    1. That is a fair question. Let me check into that. There is no iOS or Android app involved–it just creates a two-way connection over Bluetooth, so it seems to me it should be possible to connect to Windows Phone as well.

  3. I like the concept of smartwatches being able to link with your phones for such things as easy unlocking. The alarm against a lost or stolen smartphone would be a handy feature. I am looking forward to when the smartwatches are no larger than ordinary watches.

  4. The micro USB port opening sounds like an issue they can easily fix. Would love to get my hands on one to test it out.

  5. Christopher Wunker

    I actually didn’t think a smart watch made sense, but when I see others at work using one I get a little tech envy. I will say the Burg 12 actually looks like a watch from the picture which is a good thing in my opinion.

  6. Can I store small bits of text in it? If yes, is there any security on that? I’ve found it really useful to have a few alphanumerics that I don’t use regularly with me at the odd times that I need them, for example, my checking account number and wife’s social security number. My current non-smart watch allows that, as well as other time-functions, like multiple time zones for when I travel.

  7. I’ve seen similar smartphones and they have digital keyboards but we’re tiny. Also I wonder what apps are available for Da Burg watch? Fitness apps,etc. As for the review- again very thorough and enjoyable.

  8. The price is right! I like the looks of this watch better than any Pebble. I’ve been using a Martian Notifier for several months and have really enjoyed its simplicity. It fires exactly what I need in a smart watch – giving me phone notifications – while also have an attractive design.

  9. I am in so many meetings that the idea of a smartwatch is very alluring. I like the idea of being able to check notifications without pulling out my phone. So regardless, at some point in the future I will get one. Yay!

  10. I like that the Burg 12 will alert you if you walk away from your smartphone (or if it walks away from you!). Now all the smartwatch needs is a web-shooter so you can snatch your phone back from the would-be thief! 😉

  11. This is the Swiss Army of all smartwatches… there’s even a freakin’ stylus built into the watchband! One thing that wasn’t covered in the review was if it was in any way water resistant. I’m guessing no, but then again, BurG has crammed just about every other smartwatch feature into it; I wouldn’t be too surprised! Thanks again for the review Tony!

  12. Sounds pretty awesome! I haven’t worn watches in quite a few years, but I think they definitely add to a person’s style and spunk. This would totally be cool to wear around and increase my professionalism.

  13. I enjoyed reading the review of the Burg 12. Sounds like an awesome and very versatile smartwatch. Certainly too expensive for my budget. So, I’m glad for this chance to win one.

  14. This watch looks good, but I’m interested to see what happens to the whole category once the Apple Watch comes out in a couple months. Still, I’d love to win this unit, it looks pretty cool!

  15. Look Out Mr.Bond the new technology is surpassing Q’s
    Smart watches are another great tool would like to see myself with one some day

  16. This is the smartwatch I’d like to have. I wear watches regularly, so this would be a much more enhanced watch for me to wear with pleasure.

  17. This smart watch has soooo many features and capabilities – why does it not have the brand awareness or why is it not part of the conversation of smart watches? This is the first I’ve heard of Berg, and that was through cnet. Looks like an amazing connected watch and hope to win it!!

  18. I’d like to try a smartwatch. It seems very cool, but at the same time I don’t want to become too hyper-connected. I’m not sure how it will balance out.

  19. This sounds like a really cool watch or whatever you want to call it. Ronco would like this, it slices, dices, etc. Seems to do everything. The part about letting you know if your phone is lost or stolen is really cool!

  20. Sounds like an interesting watch. Pretty decent review Tony. Feedback, I would have liked to see some sample photos from the grainy camera as well as some good photos of the watch that supported the features described.

  21. Not sure why this watch hasn’t been part of the smart watch conversation, but it should be! I have been on the fence about getting a smart watch. I am an Android user and have been waiting for the capabilities of an android compatible smart watch to make me want one. Reading this review makes me want to pull the trigger and get this watch!

  22. Being able to ditch the phone and talk directly into the watch makes this actually useful as opposed to many smartwatches.

  23. I was in a meeting yesterday, and someone asked what time it was. The guy next to me looked down at his “smart” watch, pressed a few buttons, and a good 30 seconds later he had the time. If this thing can tell the time in under 30 seconds it has that other watch beat.

  24. I have been researching the ins and outs of various smart watches and somehow I have missed this one until now. I will definitely beadding it to my list of contenders. Thank you for the informative review.

  25. Sounds interesting, though it might seem they’ve crammed in more than strictly necessary given the complaints about the speaker, camera and touchscreen sensitivity – so much so, it could, perhaps be seen as a ‘jack of all trades – and master of none’. However, decisions shouldn’t be made solely on a single review, so I’d be willing to give it a try, should the prize come my way…

  26. Any information on if you can change the display (color, text size, ect.)? Love the ability of being able to add memory to it. 🙂

  27. It’s a good-looking watch. I’m accustomed to my ancient Timex Ironman digital watch but I’d be very happy to give it a try.

  28. Thank you for this review. I was not aware of the Berg until I read this. If I am able to access each watch function quickly, as I can with my Timex Ironman watch, then the Berg could be a real winner. The review did not give much detail on how quickly or easily the functions are accessed.

  29. I think that devices are good and cheap option to get most common functions with no expensives costs…i like and.i’m thinking buy one if i dont win

  30. I haven’t really been in the market for a smartwatch but the Blug 12 is making me reconsider it. I really like the design more than the other smartwatches I have looked at.

  31. This sounds like a great solution for apple users! Have had a Pebble and a Galaxy Gear in the past and this sounds like a good marriage of both items into a single device while adding the standalone functionality if your carrier supports it. Would love the opportunity to own one!

  32. I like the look of the Burg 12, and the battery life sounds good. What is the specs no the phone? Will it work with Sprint?

  33. I like the looks of this watch a lot better than some of the others out there. I would be excited to win one! However I’m not in the market to BUY one right now.

  34. I would love to own this smart watch, it would help out tremendously at work not only by not having to carry my phone around but when i forget to take my phone as well.

  35. I really like the alarm feature to help you realize you’re either leaving a smartphone behind, or should someone steal it.

  36. This looks like an excellent smart watch. Call me old fashioned and security minded but I like the analog display hiding the fact there is a smart watch lurking in the background.

  37. The lost/separated feature is something every smart watch should have. I have a Striiv Touch that I like pretty well, it lets me know when I get a new text, incoming call, meeting reminder and keeps track of my steps each day and how much I sleep everyday. The Burg sounds pretty cool too though, I’ll take it if I’m that lucky!

  38. Sounds neat but not something that I’d likely go out and buy. I already have a Pebble, but that was a prize, and while I like it it’s hardly something that I could do without. But then again, I’ve only had it a couple of months now so I really haven’t fully explored what I can do with a smart watch yet.

  39. as a watch person, I like the fact that I does not look like a geek device George Jettison would be wearing. The fact that it has great features is all the better.

  40. Thanks for the great review. I’m interested in trying this watch out, but the problem I’ve had with my Pebble for the last two years is that it really is quite large for my smallish female wrist! someday I hope to be able to combine the best of both worlds something small enough but still easy to read!

  41. This is an excellent review. I feel like I know everything I’d want to know about this watch/phone/camera/FM radio/calculator. Very few reviewers touch on every aspect of such a complicated device. You’ve answered all my questions.

  42. Got a Pebble via Kickstarter and used it for quite a while but it got to the point where there was a new ROM every other week and every other ROM would have control or connectivity problems… it’s now collecting dust on my nightstand. =o(

  43. I don’t love the idea of a teeny stylus being needed. Seems like another me-too product. We’ll see…

  44. I’ve been hesitant to jump into the Wearable Tech pool, but the Burg seems like a great way to test the waters. $200 is a great price, too!

  45. I like the fact thsi has a phone built in, so you don’t _have_ to carry your phone at at all times. Likewise the idea of an alarm to guard against a lost or stolen smartphone. On the other side, another device to feed with a monthly data plan…

  46. The Burg sounds useful to this activist. Dealing with an normal smart phone can be to much on the move.

  47. It looks pretty clean design. Would like to see how it will compete with app integration with the iWatch…

  48. So, I like the fact that’s its a watch looking watch, that it’s a phone (because I’m a big Dick Tracy fan), but it doesn’t seem to do the fitness tracking like a lot of the others. Of course being large than some, who wants to wear to track your sleep?

  49. Nice review. Not knowing much about smart watches I’m curious, does it run android wear or something else? Does it show notifications from the phone it is paired with? How about other features like amber alert/weather warnings?

  50. I have a Pebble and while I love it, I’m looking to move on. Eyeing the Apple watch because right now I have an iPhone 6+, But I have to consider this as well

  51. This is a great review! No punches pulled, no avoidance of potential deficits and design flaws. Every piece of modern tech is necessarily a compromise between features the user wants and what can reasonably be crammed into one device. Nice to see a reviewer cover all the angles without pandering to the manufacturers.

    With that said, this seems like one darn good smartwatch. I still like the Moto360 for style, but considering the difference in price, this is definitely one to look at.

  52. Sounds like a jack of all trades, master of none! I’m currently trying out a Martian Notifier SmartWatch. It doesn’t try to do EVERYTHING, but what it does, it does really well. And, nobody even knows I’m wearing a smartwatch. Very cool piece of tech!

  53. Great review! I like the fact that it looks like a reasonably stylish watch on its own. A “daring” choice these days.

  54. looks cool and sounds awesome. would love to sport one around and not have to reach for my phone all the time.

  55. Beautiful watch. Look like a lot of tech is crammed in there. I like the fact that it can alarm if it is separated from a paired device.

  56. I have used three different smart watches and the battery life is always the problem. I can never remember to charge it every day.

  57. I haven’t looked much at the smartwatch. Why would you want one that can’t make calls or at the least – texts? When the refurbished ones start showing up on woot, i’ll have to make the jump and find out. It certainly couldn’t be worse than this fire phone I’m currently using!

  58. The thing I don’t like about most smartwatches is the size and bulk of them. But to be useful they need to have a decent size screen. But being female i like delicate format.

  59. Wow, the Burg packs in a lot of features. I like large watches if they serve their purpose well. The theft & connection alarms seem useful. Great to see integration of FM Radio, wish more phones and devices would I integrate this. So many devices and apps assume we are always connected to internet or have music loaded. I would like to win and try out this smartwatch.

  60. How does the small size affect the cellular reception; given that there isn’t much room for an antenna of any size?

  61. I would wear a standalone phone-watch if I’m hiking or exercising, but I wonder how water resistant it is? Definitely I would use a bluetooth headset, I can’t see myself wearing a wired headset. But I can tell that as a smart watch I love the metal casing and the real watch feel to it.

  62. Very complete review. My only experience with a Smartwatch is with the MetaWatch. Disappointed with the battery life.

  63. Based in your review it seems that functionality and physical build are really good. My issue with smart watches is the looks, specifically how cheap these plastic bands are.

  64. William Pfundstein

    I’m very much in interested in a smartwatch. So much that I was going to purchase another very favorable brand by the end of the week. After reviewing your article I was taken in by how The Burg 12 can go a few days on a full charge, plus act as an alarm for my smartphone that I’m tired of carrying in my back pocket. So now I’m hold off on the purchase hopefully to win The Burg 12. If successful, my friends will definitely be seeing me sporting around this new smartwatch whether I win or not.

  65. Thank you for a just stating the facts about the watch and not trying to sell it!!! Now I have lots to consider smart watch or fitness band…..Both are feature rich but this is a game changer!!

  66. Tony thanks for the great review, the BURG looks like a contender it’s definitely something I’ll keep my eye on.

  67. This seems like a great option for a smartwatch. The features on the Burg 12 might be just what I am looking for.

  68. Great review. I’m looking for a smartwatch that will track my fitness (GPS and HRM options a plus) and have a decent battery life.

      1. Will look into it, but not sure if the Gear S will work with my SGS4 Google Play Edition, since it doesn’t have the stock Samsung bloatware.

  69. Smartphones have made wearing watches passe…now retro becomes cool again…especially when you’re old enough to have been an excited techgeek kid wearing a (then) new tech Casio calculater watch. Burg 12 loose SD door/cover DIY fix: I would use a jewelers fingertip drill to install a tiny rubber plug either in the door side or facing body panel, thus holding the door shut via rubber friction/compression. Heh. Geeky enough?

    1. Between the “g” and “i”. Or, Typing lesson 1: an easy right index finger left reach on standard qwerty keyboard.

  70. I like the look the best, seeing it’s a watch first and smartwatch 2nd. I like it’s sleek rugged look to it. As a smartwatch I like the addition of an SD card and the price isn’t bad for one that looks like a watch and not just a square screen on your wrist.

  71. I fancy myself a traditional “watch guy,” but I really dig the aesthetic appeal of this smartwatch. I imagine I would fall in love with a device that marries the traditional look with future functional.

  72. I think the best people for these are the ones like me who are always dropping their phone when pulling it out of something to answer it, also some water and shock proofing would help it.

  73. I think this is the first smartwatch I would buy. It looks like a regular watch and doesn’t call attention to itself.

  74. Sounds great. I’m torn between this and the Samsung Gear S. Both are phones and therefore don’t require you to lug around a phone to the gym or while out jogging, which is great for phablet owners. The gear s has a sports function which integrates with the app on your note or S5 which is great and maybe better than the Burg 12 offering. Decisions Decisions…

  75. I’m pretty excited about all the focus going on wearables at the moment. While I think a true Dick Tracy wristphone is probably a ways out there, yet, I think smart watches are starting to reach a tipping point. Another year or two and the Burg 12 capability will be doubled and size probably halved, and that’s a good thing. While no one has ‘the’ smart watch idea quite down yet, this is a pretty good start.

  76. I really like the look and function of the watch. There are always going to be pros and cons to things, but I think this one is something I can lean on the pros alone.

  77. This is a really stylish watch. Inductive charging and bluetooth headphones or headset would forgo the need for the usb charging/headphone port. Being able to talk into it is a plus, but don’t think I would need it to be a standalone phone with browsing or email capability.

  78. I like the look and the functions. Too big for my wrist, but I’d like my “beau” to try it out.

  79. I’ve been keeping my eye on smart watches. I’m intrigued and will probably end up getting one at some point…

  80. Does this work with BlackBerry 10? I know that BlackBerry now has the android runtime and can run 90% of android apps but I do not know how they have the watch setup.

  81. The size of the watch does look big and bulky, but sturdy at the same time makes it look like a good investment.

  82. I like the looks of the watch. I think the fact that it acts as a stand alone phone is a nice feature as well. I also agree that the $200 price point seems reasonable. I think a lot of the other smartwatches are overpriced.

  83. I don’t own a watch. Was waiting for a high quality piece, and the Burg 12 looks like it could be it. If I don’t win one I’ll definitely put it at the top of the list.

  84. Not really convinced as to the technology, still seems too bulky for my taste. I’m sure that it has it buyers.

  85. I need all these widgets and apps for my exercise regimen which is particularly important to me currently as I’m recovering from a quadriceps tendon tear and operation.

  86. I am amazed at how far these smart “watches” have come in such a short period of time. And now, at last, we have one that looks and acts much like a watch, which is what I’m used to seeing on my wrist, but has so much more to offer. The Burg 12 suits me and my lifestyle to a “T” and I’m looking forward to being the proud owner of this device.

  87. Hi Tony Bradley. Really enjoying the articles as a longtime IT Consultant. As for smart watches, I have this in mind to investigate, and your articles are getting me thinking about this.

    I currently have a MyPhone Agua Cyclone 5″ smartphone from the Philippines of Chinese manufacture, running Android 4.2.2.

    I do charitable work here in the Philippines for the poor people, and there about 50 million in that category. I travel a lot trying to get the registered charity (Americans insist on calling it a Foundation, for some reason) up and going. My smartphone is my number 1 tool for my work, writing emails, documents, even spreadsheets (with some difficulty and frustration), accumulating contacts to help later as money becomes available, and of course communications.

    I have been in the IT Industry for over 40 years, and your articles are helping to fill a big void for me to keep up with the rapid march of technology, as my head is buried each day in more mundane, and often desperate, circumstances. I am caring for a Facebook friend I had never met until 2 January, who has Breast Cancer, and just had her breast removed on Friday last. She had no money to do the testing, operation, or post-operative treatment. I am doing that out of my Australian Disability Support Pension, which means I live super cheap, but that is what I have chosen, and happily.

    The responsibility and pressure to get things perfectly correct to help the poor people is something that I keep uppermost in my mind. These poor people have little education, little food, appalling housing, and for them life is a struggle. I aim to change this one family at a time. They are relying on my knowledge and wisdom, to not make mistakes that we are all capable of, and they have hope in their hearts and eyes for the first time in years. Your articles are helping to provide that information, particularly of current trends and developments, and I do thank you for it. Thank you.

  88. Impractical. I would need convincing. The tethering aspect (lost or wandered off leaving cell phone behind) is its only saving grace. Unless you’re 12. Then this is a BIG DEAL of a watch. But honestly the rest of the bells and whistles don’t seem to be anything that long term would be deemed an irreplaceable asset. Just not enough longevity.
    Just my two bits.

      1. james carrasco

        Yeah, I matched him , but I can not see anything, contacts, or calls. I think we need an application. Can anybody help me.

      1. Hi John I have been try in to reach U about the the app burg 12 I txt u got no response can.U plz send the app sir..thnkz

  89. I have bought one of the burg watch phones it is the 13 and I love it one of the best gadgets I own next to my Bluetooth headphones and my galaxy S6 Edge with which the watch works flawlessly. I also only paid 20 dollars for it from someone that needed cash but I would have easily paid 200 maybe even 300 it is worth the cash and it’s not that bulky and I got a 64 gig SD card in it and all my music on it. I believe anyone that buys this will be satisfied. IMHO

  90. Hi,I have the burg 12 and.I can not get it to work as far as Bluetooth two way for txt sending or receiving message s and when.I put in sd card it doesn’t read it, can Sumone HELP.! Plz contact me 313 742-0170 or emAil tokkyoent@yahoo.com hope to here from sumone thnkz

  91. Looking for a standalone for my 10 year old, just for phone calls and texts, really. Would this be the one?

    1. Meh. I mean, it was pretty good for what it offered at the time and at that price. It is not an awesome smartwatch by today’s standards. I don’t think it’s even still being manufactured–but you can find them online pretty cheap. Honestly, I would not look for a smartwatch as the standalone device for your 10yo to make calls or text from.

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