I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so excited to review a prodcut as I was when I received the Witti Dotti to review. I bugged my poor Editor, Matt, for weeks to get it. And then, that day finally came. It arrived on my doorstep. With great anticipation I opened the box. Never use a knife when excited. Thankfully, I did not cut myself.
So what is it?
The Witti Dotti, in its basest form, is a cube with an LED screen that is capable of displaying notifications from your Android device via Bluetooth. It’s very evident that Witti approached the Dotti with pixel art in mind. The screen consists of 64 LEDs that act as pixels. Each LED is capable of displaying an array of colors.
This is where the Dotti gets interesting. On the Google Play Store, Witti has a companion app for the Dotti, called simply, “Dotti.” With the Dotti app you can create your own custom pixel art for the device, choose what notifications to have the Dotti display and not to display, and a host of other things.
The Dotti feels solid. The outer casing is made form a tough feeling plastic that has a semi-smooth texture. There’s enough texture to the plastic to make you feel confident in your grip when you’re holding the device. The LED screen is bright, vibrant, and feels of high quality. There’s a glossiness to the screen that compliments the device quite well.
The Dotti’s LEDs shine spectacularly. You can see this device, very clearly, from across a room if you need to. The back of the Dotti houses a micro USB port for charging it. Under the plastic next to the micro USB port is a tiny LED that indicates when the Dotti is charging and when it is fully charged. I found the back of the Dotti to be quite peculiar. It has a warped pyramid effect and I am not really sure what the reasoning behind that design choice was. I think it has something to do with the Witti branding, as a whole. Regardless, the Dotti is a solid feeling device that feels high in quality.
I was a bit shocked by the Dotti’s size. I expected something much larger, but the reality is a device that measures in at H 65 x W 65 x D 31 mm. The official specs are:
- Color: Artistic White
- Bluetooth: v4.0 BLE
- Wireless Range: 15m (49ft)
- Charging Input: Micro USB
- Weight: 82g
- Dimensions: H 65 x W 65 x D 31 mm
- Battery: 720+ Hours in notification mode, 5+ Hours with continuous light
- Application: iOS7 (or above) or Android 4.3 (or above)
After spending a decent amount of time with the Witti Dotti, I began to ask myself, “What in the world is the point in this thing?” It took me quite a while to find an answer. Ultimately, the Dotti is a novelty. It’s not meant to fill any particular need in your life. It’s just a fun chunk of plastic that can display your Android device’s notifications. I hate to admit it, but when I first started using the Dotti, I was a bit disappointed. Over time though, the little rascal grew on me and I began to find uses for it. Let me start with the most practical use.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’re sitting at your desk jamming to some tunes while you’re at work. Like you do every day, you put your phone on vibrate (or silent) so that it does not disturb your coworkers. You have a history of missing texts and other notifications because of this. Well, no more. When a notification hits your Android device, the Dotti will begin to flash an icon that corresponds to the type of notification you’ve received. The Dotti is equipped to display unique notification icons for many, many third party apps including:
- Facebook Messenger
The most unique use I found for the Dotti was not even my own idea. One day, while messing around with the Dotti, my wife said to me that it would be great for someone who is hearing impaired. This was a stroke of genius. I absolutely cannot think of a better target audience for the Dotti than those who are hearing impaired. It would be a great tool for them to use to help avoid missing text messages and other notifications. I think Witti should explore this idea further and possibly tailor a model of the Dotti towards that function. If they market it that way, a person may even be able to get their health insurance to cover the cost.
The not so practical
Outside of it’s intended function, the Dotti has some not so practical (but still fun) uses. It has an animation function that will flash Space Invader looking aliens every second or so. It also can serve as a great nightlight. There is a built in clock, but it’s very difficult to read so I would not recommend using it. There’s a battery indicator to show you the current charge on your Dotti, and there’s even a built in “Dice Game” that’s not really a game at all. You just shake the device and it displays a random number of dots (like you would see on a standard six sided die).
It’s not all fields of roses
Unfortunately, the Dotti is not without it’s flaws and disappointments. My first qualm with it is its price. $69.99 is just too much to ask for this thing. It is just not practical or useful enough to justify that price. I don’t care how good the build quality is, something this novel is not worth more than $20-$30, and that’s pushing it.
Second, the Dotti app is atrocious. It’s very basic, not necessarily easy to navigate and doesn’t seem to really compliment the device at all. I was especially disappointed in the art function of the app. I thought the 64 pixels would go a lot further than they did. My dream was to do an 8-bit Megaman head to display on the Dotti, but I just could not accomplish this with the Dotti’s color palette and limited pixel density. You are able to make basic designs like smiley faces and Pac-man, but this feature ultimately felt like a waste to me. Witti could have done so much more with it.
Finally, the battery life is terrible. I can get about a day out of it in continuous light mode, but with a 3-4 hour charge time, you begin to ask yourself “Why bother?” If you want to use the Dotti to display pixel art or run the animation function, the 3-4 hour charge time for barely a day of use just doesn’t seem worth it.
*I cannot verify the claim that the Dotti will last 720+ hours on notification mode, as my time with it was spent in continuous light mode.
The Witti Dotti is a neat device. It’s fun and novel, but not terribly practical. The build quality is excellent, the LED screen is bright and vibrant, and the product overall just exudes quality craftsmanship. However, the $69.99 price tag is a turn off. Nothing about this device justifies that price. If you are able to find a Dotti for less than $30, I’d say go for it. You’ll enjoy it. But if you have to spend more than $40, I’d recommend you pass on it until you can find a better deal.
At the time of this writing, Amazon.com has the Witti Dotti on sale for $39.99