We first spotted the Kapture audio-recording wristband on Kickstarter back in 2013, and after years of waiting we now have a version of the gadget wrapped around our wrist.

The question is: Is this unique-looking wearable worth the wait?

Read on for our full review of the Kapture audio-recording wristband.

Introduction

The Kapture wristband is capable of recording audio and saving it to your smartphone all within a matter of seconds, which means users can gradually build a library of audio clips to listen back to.

We don’t think the Kapture would look too out of place strapped around James Bond’s wrist, considering it looks pretty darn techy.

Phonecruncher decided to put the Kapture through its paces, getting to grips with a product that has some great potential to bring something new and exciting to the wearable market.

Look and feel

Our review unit arrived in Black with a plastic adjustable strap and in our minds the Kapture doesn’t look as bad as you’d expect a wearable microphone to look.

In fact, we like the appearance of the Kapture, even though some users may find it slightly chunky. The wearable won’t be passing the cuff test if you’re wearing a tight-fitting shirt, so that’s something to consider.

Kap

Kapture: Slightly chunky, very clever.

There’s a solid amount of customisation on offer here which other wearables can’t boast, with customers given the option to choose between different coloured straps and microphone grills.

The plastic strap feels slightly cheap, but it’s comfortable on the skin and looks nice in different colours. Adjusting the strap’s size is fairly hassle-free and an optional clip is available if you’d rather strap the gizmo to your waist, although we think you’d get better audio quality on the wrist.

Kapture doesn’t share the same visual appeal as other wearables, but this is a gadget with a whole different set of glorious skills.

The design of the Kapture makes it very obvious (even to folk that haven’t seen it in the wild before) that you’re wearing some form of audio device on your wrist. Whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you, but it might turn some heads.

We’ll admit that the Kapture wristband doesn’t share the same visual appeal as other wearables such as the Jawbone Up or the FitBit, but this is a gadget with a whole different set of glorious skills.

Kapture

Above: Customise the Kapture.

The green light on the Kapture flashes every 5 seconds or so to show that it’s on, so if people look hard enough at the wearable they’ll know it’s up to something. Tapping the Kapture’s face will cause the light to turn orange to show the action has been detected. Different taps activate different functions, but we’ll come to that shortly.

One minor issue we have with the Kapture is that it’s fairly easy to see dirt and dust gather between the gaps in the microphone grill. You can dig out the dirt with your fingernail without much of a problem.

The issue of privacy

During our time with the Kapture, we were asked on several occasions what we had strapped around our wrist. Often, telling people we were wearing an always-on microphone raised some eyebrows.

It’s impossible to discuss this wearable without talking about the issue of privacy, and the gadget’s maker’s have voiced their opinions on the matter.

Discussing the issue on the Kapture website, they write: “We purposefully designed Kapture so that it’s noticeable. It comes in bright colours, is activated with a tap, and has an LED light so you’ll always know if it’s on or off”.

“You should always let others around you know what’s going on – more often than not, they’ll take it as a compliment what what you heard them say was worth saving”.

Using the Kapture

The Kapture works alongside Android and iOS smartphones and in our experience the mobile app experience is decent at this stage in the gadget’s life.

At the time of our review the app is in its early stages, but already there’s some signs of promise, particularly when it comes to Kapture community features. Whilst the UI is a little rough around the edges, it’s good overall.

Once a user makes a Kapture account to log into the app (you can also link Twitter and Facebook) they’re given the option to navigate through their own saved clips, adjust recording settings (‘buffer’ or ‘standard’) and hear clips from other users.

Kapture app

The Kapture app is pretty good, even in its early days.

The Explore tab was a great, fun distraction, where other Kapture users across the world upload clips and sort them by mood or content. ‘Funny’ and ‘Inspirational’ are our favourites. As the product is fairly new, there’s not too many clips to sift through just yet, but this’ll improve over time.

There’s a couple of tools built into the app that allow users to adjust their recordings. You can trim a clip down to size, name the file and share it around, as well as enhance the sound Filter for ‘improved quality’.

Let’s talk tapping. A single tap won’t do anything (Kapture’s makers note that we often accidentally bump into stuff), two taps saves audio recorded over the last minute, three taps turns the device on or off and four taps prepares the gadget for Bluetooth pairing.

The fact that the Kapture is ‘always recording’ means that you’ll never miss out on that special moment. It’s a fantastic, clever system.

While the Kapture is uploading audio content to your smartphone, it’s not possible to do anything while that process is going on. The orange notification light will remain on while the clip uploads.

Is the Kapture responsive to your taps? Most of the time, it works great. We appreciate the fact that the gadget was fitted with a vibration motor to help you know what’s going on, too. Hearing one of your mates embarrass themselves and then double-tapping your wrist as they slap their forehead in regret is delightful. No other gadget can offer that experience.

If you don’t put enough force into a tap (the Kapture works with both tap strength and rhythm) then you might confuse the wearable and end up turning it off. This is just a slight annoyance but it’s also something that happens less and less over time as you get used to the Kapture.

Here at Phonecruncher, we can see the Kapture coming in handy for both casual use and professional use. Journalists and writers, for example, would appreciate having a home for audio clips.

Kapture

Get recordin’

The fact that the Kapture is ‘always recording’ means that you’ll never miss out on that special moment. It’s a fantastic, clever system.

Audio quality is solid, but don’t expect crystal-clear sound. According to the Kapture team, the wearable’s omni-directional mic picks up sound ‘within a 5-foot radius’, which is respectable. Even when the Kapture was covered by clothing we managed to identify what was being said during playback.

In terms of battery life, we ended up having to charge the Kapture every day or two, which is respectable. If you’re a heavy user / frantic tapper, you’ll likely be charging the gadget every evening.

Our verdict

At the time of writing, the Kapture audio wristband can be pre-ordered for a price of around £100 ($144).

Would we recommend you grab yourself a Kapture? Well, it depends. If you can come to terms with wearing an admittedly chunky wearable on your wrist that is very clearly an audio-capturing device, go for it.

The Kapture offers something different and the mobile app, although rough around the edges, offers plenty to get excited about.

We had a fun time with the Kapture and can’t wait to capture some more memorable moments to listen back to in the future. The Kapture was worth the wait.

Phonecruncher’s Kapture was labelled as a ‘beta unit’. As a result, the user experience may vary compared to the public build of the product.

What do you make of the Kapture? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us at @Phonecruncher.

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