Burg 16A Smartwatch Review

Does the Burg 16a Neon smartwatch improve on the shortfalls of the last Burg smartwatch offering?

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smartwatch to send texts

The Burg Neon 16a, released in 2015, was the successor to the Burg 12.

The Burg 12 was a landmark in that it was the first smartwatch that functioned as a phone using its own SIM card.

The Burg Neon 16a sought to build upon this and plug the gaps that let the Burg 12 down. 

The primary immediate difference between the Burg Neon 16a and Burg 12 is the shape.

The Burg Neon 16a is square-shaped, not oval, and is much thinner at just over half an inch thick. It’s less protrusive than the Burg 12 and looks more modern in many ways. 

The Burg Neon 16a was marketed at both corporate or business users and active users who might want to replace their phone with a smartwatch when jogging, cycling or going to the gym.

The tag ‘Neon’, therefore, referred to the fact it was available in 7 bright colors. 

The Burg 16a Neon

The design principles followed for the Burg 16a were broadly the same as the Burg 12.

Herman van den Burg wanted the watch to be stylish but powerful enough to accommodate a wide array of users.

Like the Burg 12, this model functions as a standalone smartwatch with a SIM card (without being tethered to a phone via Bluetooth, but this is an option).

It has an FM radio, an MP3 player, and a camera built into the hull, which again, follows the Burg 12’s impressive feature-set.

It is also waterproof to a depth of 1m and weighs in at 2.3 ounces, significantly lighter than the Burg 12. 

Where the Burg 16a improves on its predecessor is its processor and software, which are both much faster and more fluid.

Need a more fitness-oriented smartwatch? Don’t miss our Garmin Vivoactive HR vs Garmin Vivosmart 3 comparison.

Design

The Burg 16a Neon is square rather than oval and this works well as it suits the screen shape which is also a 1.54-inch square.

It looks quite good, modern and the metal chassis evokes a decent build quality. It still feels solid and heavy on the wrist but isn’t as heavy as the Burg 12. 

As mentioned, the Burg Neon 16a comes in a variety of bright colors as well as black and white. This is pretty awesome and breaks the Burg Neon 16a away from an overly corporate image and helps make it more appealing to younger active users. 

The chassis features a more easily accessible micro USB port and the back is fairly easy to dismantle in order to insert the SIM card and Micro-SD card.

The adjustable strap works pretty well and is comfy. These are also customizable with aftermarket colorful replacement straps. 

The Burg Neon 16a also allows users to select from 12 watch faces which all feature different colors and designs.

Overall, more work has gone into the Burg Neon 16a to make it appealing to a mass consumer market. It’s a fun watch to look at and use and though it remains fairly large, the square design helps to keep its profile relatively inconspicuous. 

Functionality

The Burg 12 was let down by a touchscreen which was nearly unusable under many conditions. The Burg Neon 16a doesn’t represent a jump in functionality.

The screen is still relatively hard to use in either bright sunlight or when even slightly damp. The updated software, however, does make browsing the phone’s various apps easier.

You can at least say that provided you’re in a contained environment like an office, you can use some of the Burg Neon 16a’s features without a stylus. 

However, like its predecessor, you’ll likely find yourself relying on a stylus the majority of the time, particularly when texting.

In terms of color and definition, the screen remains 240 x 240 pixels and though the colors are richer and deeper than in the Burg 12, it is still fairly drab compared to phones of the same era.

Features

Burg has tried to pack the Neon 16a with features just the same as the Burg 12 and the results are pretty similar.

Most of these gadgets remain pretty useless. The camera remains 2.0MP – Burg couldn’t have learned from the terrible image quality of the Burg 12.

It remains poor in most conditions and is more or less useless for anything other than snapping a photo to serve as a reminder for something. 

The Burg Neon 16a has an FM radio, which is fairly useful, though it uses earphones as antennae so it can only be used this way.

The MP3 player works fine, so long as you’re content with using shuffle as manually searching the tracks is very difficult. 

The Burg Neon 16a is 3G and WiFi-enabled, though you can’t download apps.

It also lacks an activity tracking mode, which is pretty standard in smartwatches these days. With new health monitoring tech being developed all the time, surely this was a missed opportunity?

In the Box

The Burg Neon 16a smartwatch phone is bundled with a SIM card with $25 credit, depending on the region it’s purchased in.

A 4GB micro-SD is also included, though this is expandable to 32GB. This provides a bit of extra value for the Burg Neon 16a, which is reasonably priced at around $200. 

Calls and Texts

The Burg Neon 16a does make some marked improvements on its predecessor as far as call quality is concerned.

The built-in speaker is much louder and the call quality, in general, is very good. You can effectively have conversations via the speakerphone when the watch is on your wrist layed up on a desk. 

Pros

  • Stylish and modern square design waterproof to 1m 
  • Very good call quality
  • Free SIM card and micro-SD

Cons

  • Terrible camera
  • Touchscreen remains very hard to use

Key Features

  • Can be used independently of a phone with its own SIM card
  • Choice of 12 watch fronts 
  • 7 colors available
  • 2 to 3 days of battery life
  • 3G and WiFi

Bottom Line

The Burg Neon 16a makes some improvements on its rather dodgy predecessor but overall, it shares many of the same shortfalls.

It’s quite remarkable that the camera wasn’t dropped, for example. One area it does excel is call quality, which is obviously very important. 

The Burg 16A is a smartwatch phone with SIM card for making calls on the move. It uses Bluetooth for extra connectivity and can handle an SD card of up to 16 Gb.

It has an adjustable strap and weighs just 4.6 ounces.

It also has SMS and MMS messaging modes. Other features include an image viewer, calculator, calendar, FM radio, MP3 player, and a voice recorder.

It has an excellent 3-day battery life and a USB slot is used for syncing and charging.

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