Back in 2014 a company called Rufus launched a crowdfunding campaign for a wrist computer called the Rufus Cuff. At a time when the Pebble Steel was pretty much state of the art in the smartwatch space (and a year before the first Apple Watch was announced), the Rufus Cuff was… a very different take on wearables.

With a 3.2 inch touchscreen display and an Android-based operating system, it was big, clunky, and more of a Pip-Boy than a watch.

But the biggest problem with the Rufus Cuff is that it never actually shipped. After raising close to half a million dollars, Rufus failed to deliver anything to backers of the Rufus Cuff Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

Now, six years later, Rufus is back. And surprisingly the company is actually promising to send devices to folks who backed that campaign six years ago.

Rufus Cuff (4.3 inch commercial version)

At some point in time, Rufus seems to have pivoted from a consumer-oriented company into one that provides wearables for commercial and government customers. Products include a version of the Rufus Cuff that, for example, warehouse workers can strap to a wrist to keep track of inventory, a Rufus Ring barcode scanner that you wear on a finger, and a Rufus ScanGlove with a built-in barcode scanner.

After shafting crowdfunding backers for the past six years, the company is now promising to deliver  Rufus Cuff hardware to the first 500 backers starting this summer.

The good news is that the hardware has been updated with a faster processor, more memory and storage, a bigger battery, and slightly less outdated Android software. There’s even now support for connecting to 3G and 4G LTE as well as support for GPS and a heart-rate sensor.

But I wonder how many people who spent $229 or more to reserve one of these things six years ago still wants a wrist-computer in 2020.

Here’s a run-down of the updated specs if anyone cares:

  • 2.9 inch display
  • 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS
  • 3G/4G LTE
  • 5MP camrea
  • Mic & speaker
  • Metal watch housing
  • IP67 water resistance
  • Android 7.1 Nougat (w/Google Play Store)

Rufus has started notifying backers via email. A scan of recent comments on the crowdfunding campaign says some of those backers remain skeptical.

Some imagine that the “new” model is just a rebranded Lemfo LEM T, which is a 4G-enabled Android 7.1 watch with a 2.86 inch display. A 3GB/32GB model sells for around $190, and the rest of the specs seem to line up with what Rufus is promising.

thanks Nick!

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  1. I just received my Rufus Cuff, Fter approximately 5-6 yrs waiting.
    Now just need some help getting it to synch to phone

  2. “Some imagine that the “new” model is just a rebranded Lemfo LEM T, which is a 4G-enabled Android 7.1 watch with a 2.86 inch display. A 3GB/32GB model sells for around $190.”

    I received my Rufus and that is what it is, rebranded Lemfo LEM T very very disappointed. This pretty much puts a nail in the coffin for me on kickstarters. I know I paid a pretty good amount at the start for a Rufus like mid 2’s then to find out it is a $190 rebranded Lemfo. Well on the bright side at least I got something for my money 6 yrs later,then nothing at all. Bottom line the watch has no value for me as a user, gave it to my little cousin and said Merry Christmas.

  3. You know what Brad, every couple years or so I’ll be sitting at a desk somewhere and I’ll think to myself “whatever happened to the Rufus cuff?” I’ll Google phrases like “Rufus Cuff scam” and nothing would come up. I’ve been doing that since 2015. This is exhibit A on why you should absolutely not back tech Kickstarts (with the exception of something like GPD or some other mfg that uses crowd funding as a pre-order system).

    1. To be honest, there was a big technological leap from 2014-to-2016 at least for smartwatches:
      – Proper submergible waterproofing (IP67, IP68, IP69K)
      – 14nm lithography, and using more efficient processor/SoC (eg QSD 429)
      – More efficient displays (Samsung’s 10th-gen AM-OLED, as seen on the S7)
      – Slight increase in Li-ion battery density (eg Gionee M2017 vs Honor 6 Plus)
      – Android Operating System (from 4.3/4.4 to the much better 5.1)

      …that would lead you to a 2016 Gauntlet (or smartwatch) that can last you slightly more than 2-full days of use, compared to 2014 Model that would struggle to last a full 1-day of use. And the 2016 version could be more compact and durable, both important properties for this form-factor.

      Maybe Rufus Cuff should have taken the money in 2014, and instead created a 2016 Model, and released that in 2016. They were only half-way right, but for all intents and purposes, it seems they have merely shafted paying consumers.

    1. You can’t, there’s no more small phones :'(

      The best you can do is a 2016 iPhone SE, Smartlet wrist strap, and Jailbreak it to have proper Landscape support.

      On the Android front, you can go old school and try a Samsung S2 with Custom Roms. Try something newer like the Sharp Aquos R2c (good like finding), or the Sony XZ1c (pricey) but it may be a tad clunky. Many other options are big, even the Meizu 16Xs is simply too large.