The Burg 16 packs a lot of features and capabilities into a small, slim smartwatch. At under $200 it can also have its own SIM chip so it can make and receive calls and text messages without being paired to a smartphone.
A couple months ago I reviewed the Burg 12 smartwatch. It was a bit bulky and rough around the edges, but all-in-all the Burg 12 was a great smartwatch for the money. The Burg 16 is the next-generation evolution of the Burg 12—a more refined and polished version of a smartwatch that packs a lot of punch into a small, wrist-borne wearable gadget.
The Burg 16 is significantly slimmer, but with less unique style than the Burg 12. The watch body is a simple square—1.54 inches per side with a 240 x 240 touchscreen display. It’s just over half an inch thick and weighs a mere 2.3 ounces. It is designed to be water resistant to a one-meter depth.
At the bottom of the left side is the only physical button on the device. This is the button you press when you want to wake the smartwatch up to see what time it is or access its many other functions. On the middle of the left side is a microUSB port for charging / syncing—no flaky metal door covering it like the Burg 12. The right side just has a small speaker.
The Burg 16 runs on a proprietary OS. It can pair with either iOS or Android smartphones, but when it comes to apps you’re limited to whatever Burg has developed for the device. You probably won’t be disappointed, though, because there is a lot of functionality packed into this little device.
Obviously it has a standard watch option for telling time. There are 12 different watch faces included in an array of styles and colors. You can cycle through the watch face options with a short tap in the middle of the display. It also has a semi-obligatory alarm scheduling function.
Then things get interesting. The Burg 16 includes apps for calendar, calculator, file manager, audio player, FM radio, image viewer, video player, and sound recorder.
As mentioned above, it can be paired via Bluetooth 4.0 with an iOS or Android device. When paired it is able to make and receive calls through the paired device and make and receive text messages as well. It can also play music from the smartphone through the watch over Bluetooth.
Like the Burg 12, this smartwatch has a secret inside. It can also have its own SIM chip, enabling it to make and receive calls on its own without any smartphone pairing. In addition to the SIM chip slot, there’s also a microSD memory card slot inside the watch housing that allows you to add up to 16GB of additional storage.
This smartwatch virtually defines versatility—and I’m not just talking about the features and functions mentioned above. Included in the box with the Burg 16 are two additional watchbands and watch faces in alternate colors, along with a tiny tool used to push the pin out of the way so you can swap the watchbands. It also has a microUSB charging / syncing cable, earbuds with a microphone that plug into the microUSB port, and a Bluetooth earbud with a tiny charger. Suffice it to say the Burg 16 comes ready to be and do just about anything.
It isn’t the “sexiest” smartwatch I’ve tested—that title still belongs to the Samsung Gear 2. It’s stylish enough, though, especially since I can quickly change it from black to blue to white with the different options included in the box. It’s definitely slimmer and lighter than the Burg 12, but still a tad thicker than some of the other smartwatches out there. When you consider all that Burg has squeezed in there, though, and the fact that it houses both a SIM card and a microSD memory card it’s actually almost miraculously thin. It’s comfortable to wear—which is really the most important factor.
The display is decent. It’s an OK size and has good color and brightness. The touchscreen sensitivity is pretty good as well. It takes a little practice to get used to tapping tiny options on the screen—especially with larger fingers—but once you get comfortable it’s pretty smooth. I wouldn’t recommend watching a movie on the Burg 16, but theoretically it could be done if you store the MP4 on the microSD memory card.
The FM radio uses the earbud wire as its antenna, so you have to connect the microUSB earbuds in order to activate the FM radio even if you’re actually listening to it over the Bluetooth earpiece. The reception was adequate, but not great. I don’t consider that a huge deal, though, because I can’t imagine really wanting or needing to listen to FM radio over my smartwatch.
You can’t have the Burg 16 paired with your iPhone or Android smartphone and also use a Bluetooth earpiece for phone conversations. It can only do one Bluetooth connection at a time. If you don’t want to engage in Dick Tracy style speakerphone conversations talking to your wrist you can use the microUSB earbuds / microphone that come with the Burg 16.
Battery life was impressive. I was able to go a couple days before charging, which is plenty of time in my opinion. I don’t wear the device to bed so I actually just make a habit of charging the smartwatch every night while I’m sleeping.
The Burg 16 is a smartwatch that has just about every feature except a kitchen sink, and it comes with a box that includes just about every accessory except a kitchen sink. At under $200 it provides a lot of bang for the buck.
It’s got less potential than an Android Wear device or Apple Watch because its proprietary OS limits the apps that can run on it, and it doesn’t have any of the health / fitness features built in. It won’t count your steps or monitor your pulse.
It is a comfortable, relatively stylish device, though, and the price is very reasonable.