Hands-on: An activity tracker for watch fans
There’s only so many gadgets you can wear on your wrist before you start looking silly – a fact resident TrustedReviews wearable expert Michael Sawh can verify. The answer, obviously, is to combine two into one. That’s what the Withings Activité does.
But where the cheaper Withings Activité Pop appeals to the masses, the Withings Activité aims for the discerning watch fan as much as the gadget fiend. I’ve spent a day with it so far and while its £320 price tag is eye-popping, there’s no denying this is a quality wearable.
Most of that high price tag is accounted for by two words: ‘Swiss Made’. The Activité may look similar to its cheaper cousin, but it’s made in a famed watchmaking region of Switzerland. Withings even names the village, Le Locle, just in case you didn’t believe it.
This is reflected not just in the hidden quality of the watch mechanism, but in the materials used. The crystal – that’s the glass bit over the dial – is made from sapphire, so it’s basically impervious to scratches and very strong. The case, meanwhile, is a light and classy stainless steel and the strap is French stitched leather.
It all sounds expensive and it feels it, too. You’re paying for quality
and that’s exactly what you get. It’s a supremely comfortable watch that
wouldn’t look out of place at formal occasions.
Related: Best Activity Trackers Round-up
The core features are basically the same as the Activité Pop, though. It’s waterproof down to 50m and it tracks your steps, runs and sleeping patterns continuously. The battery lasts for an impressive eight months and a spare, as well as the tool to prise the case back off, is included in the box. It will also track swimming in future, but that’ll come in an upcoming software update.
The smart, analogue watch face is the same, too. The Activité comes in two colours: white with blue accents and a brown leather strap, or black with orange accents and a black leather strap. You also get a Silicone strap in the box for when you want to hit the gym.
The main dials… tell the time – who knew? The smaller one tells you how far you’ve progressed with your daily step goal. It’s a neat, classy arrangement.
The final key feature is the silent, vibrating alarm that’s set using the Health Mate app by Withings. I won’t go into depth on the Withings app right now, but it makes a good first impression.
It’s very easy to set up the Activité with the app on startup and the watch uses Bluetooth 4.0, so you don’t have to manually pair it over Bluetooth – it automatically connects each time you launch the app.
The only glaring omission at present is the lack of Android support for the Activité, though that’s due to be fixed in a few weeks. It works fine on iPhone, however, and even includes support for Apple’s Health app and Touch ID security.
Most people will go for the £120 Pop version, but the Withings Activité makes a decent first impression. It’s stylish enough and premium enough that you’d feel comfortable wearing it on formal occasions, where the cheaper Pop would look out of place. Few, if any, activity trackers can claim the same.
We’ll be publishing full reviews of Activité watches in a week or two, but let us know what you’d like to know in the comments.