This looks like a scam off the bat. Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive in and look at why we thing the Sgast walkie-talkie bone conduction headphones is a campaign you shouldn’t trust.
Powerful upgrade to the world’s first full-duplex walkie-talkie bone conduction headphones, Sgast comes with a walkie-talkie function which doesn’t need to rely on any software. 300 meters walkie-talkie range, 5 channels for multi-way group chat without network, and 100% IPX8 waterproof that make it great for any outdoor activities.
It’s interesting to note how the Sgast calls this new product an upgrade to the world’s first full-duplex walkie-talkie bone conduction headphones.
So it is not a first, but an upgrade over the first. Either they are confused or just poor with copywriting.
Is it innovative?
I loved bone conduction headphones. Yes, loved. Then I realised the drawbacks of bone conduction headphones and went back to my trusty earbuds.
I have two problems with bone conduction headphones. The biggest issue is that the benefit of it being an open-ear design is also it key disadvantage. The open design that lets you listen to the surrounding sounds and be aware of your environment. It helps improve safety in some situations.
But when you’re in a place with significant background noise, such as wind noise when you’re cycling or skiing fast, the ambient sounds will drown out whatever audio you’re listening to.
The usage scenarios depicted in the campaign page and video are not realistic at all. This makes me wonder if they truly tested the product and understand its pros and cons.
With dual microphones to focus on the sound of your voice, separating it from other voices nearby. Smart noise-reduction to filter out distracting background noises. Making sure your message isn’t muddied by motorcycle traffic, wind and other background noise.
The description above does not make sense to me at all. If there’s background noise from the wind or the your motorcycle engine, chances are you won’t be able to hear messages coming in.
At least the microphone can pick up you saying, “I can’t hear you. Can you repeat that? Do you hear me?”
The second issue with bone conduction headphones that irks me is the lack of bass. Bone conduction works by vibrating your bones to create sound in the inner ear. This means it works for treble and mids, but not bass. Many bone conduction headphones deal with this by producing bass using an audio driver. This makes the audio sound slightly better while forgoing the purity of having a bone conduction-only headphones.
There’s no right or wrong with this, but I just feel that if I want something with more bass, I would use a different type of headphones and not bone-conduction ones. In any case, since this is meant to be a walkie-talkie, you don’t need the bass.
Enough about the product, let’s look at why we call this a scam.
The team photo looks suspiciously like a set of stock photos. The names of the team members are also generic without any last names.
The campaign creator’s name is 張美盈, a female Chinese name and looks like none of the team members presented. We might be wrong and it could well be the Chinese names of Lynn or Jenny. But my honey belly tells me I’m most likely right.
So I did what we Critical Bears do, I trust my gut. I found Sgast sending out press releases with Lynn Chan as the media contact. I searched her number and found the real Lynn on WeChat.
This is definitely not the Lynn we are seeing on the team page. Misrepresenting the team on Kickstarter is a straight red flag.
We did not find any information on the brand Sgast. There is also no mention of their company. We also didn’t find any trademarks or patents. Regular readers will know that this is often a telltale sign of a scam campaign. Such paperwork leaves a trail that would expose a scam team and they tend to avoid it.
That said, the team had a brief description about the company.
Sgast Technology creates waterproof solutions in technology. Based on our decade-long experience with waterproof sport products, we’ve noticed that traditional walkie-talkies suffer from severe limitations: only one person can talk at a time, heavy and conversations are not private. Our team decided to address this issue by developing an all-in-one solution to help people enhance their outdoor teamwork and enjoy water sports. Let’s take the action sports to the next level!
They claim to be a company that creates waterproof solutions. This means they don’t lack expertise in walkie-talkie communications or headphones. It is not a big issue if they have the right partners and suppliers, but something for backers to take note.
At the very least, they are transparent about what the company does.
Is it worth it?
The walkie-talkie market is very mature. There are many options in the market that just works without trying too hard to be innovative. Check out some options on Amazon that use a single earpiece to let you hear the communications while still being aware of your surroundings.
The alternative is to get a Bluetooth-compatible walkie-talkie set and connect your headphones or earbuds.
Is it a scam?
Our gut feeling says it is. Still, we want to assume good faith despite the number of scams we have come across so far. This might well be a campaign that is badly handled.
Otherwise, why would Lynn Chan put her contact number on the press releases?
Check out the campaign video. My favourite part is at 1:58. Enjoy!