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MSN Watch Review

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Hey buddy, wanna buy a watch?

Ideally, it would be one that's more accurate than a Rolex for less than $100. It would be great if it also gave you a daily weather forecast. Of course, it has to be waterproof. The standard features have to be there as well: Stopwatch, alarm and calendar.

But there's more! You also want to get news headlines on this special watch. Be the first to know when a tornado is coming or when your local nuclear power plant is having a meltdown.

So is there such a chronological wonder? Yes, and its name is the Suunto N3. Yes, from the land of Nokia and truly bad food comes a watch that exposes the Guccis and Movados for the mere bracelets that they are.

Speaking of nuclear, I wasn't kidding when I said this watch was accurate: You get the precision of an atomic clock on this thing without all that pesky radiation and resultant chemo treatments.

You may wonder how this watch does its magic, or if it needs an internet connection. Nope. It actually gets all its information from a rather old technology: Radio. That's right; inside the watch is a tiny FM radio receiver that listens to a signal Microsoft piggybacks onto normal radio signals and decodes it to get the weather, news and atomic time. Free!

Mine tells me it's tuned to CHFI. Oh well, as long as I don't have to listen to it, then it can tune to Q107 for all I care, as long as it gets the data.

I found mine at Future Shop for $99. Interestingly, it even comes with a charger - a very cool charger. You can plug it into a wall outlet, or into a USB port for power.

The wall adapter part is interesting because it has a USB port that can power the other USB devices you may have (if you're a geek) such as lights, fans and coffee warmers. Since it's rechargeable, you can use that bright back light all you want.

It can take a licking, too. I've knocked it around quite a bit since I got it but it has always faithfully told me about the latest airline crash without a hitch and the sapphire crystal has kept it scratch-free. I wish I could say the same about my similarly priced Swatch.

Ok ok, there has to be a downside I can hear you say. And there is. First is the battery life. They didn't throw in that charger just out of the goodness of their hearts - you'll need it. This watch needs to be charged once a week. Secondly, it's a good thing chunky watches are in style because this is certainly one of them. It's not heavy, but it is big. It stands out both literally and figuratively, but fortunately not in a geeky calculator watch kind of way.

One thing that scared me before I bought it was that this thing had an operating system written by Microsoft. It even has ctrl-alt-del. For you non-techies this means that if you hold down these three buttons at the same time on this watch it reboots.

Now think about this for a moment - why would you want to reboot your watch if not to recover from a crash? A watch that crashes doesn't sound like progress to me. Well, after using it for the past few months, I'm happy to report I have never had to use it. Seems that Microsoft must have included the reboot option out of habit. From their previous efforts, I don't blame them - but this just seems to work.

Hurry up and buy yours before they wreck it with version 2.0.

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