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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Are these smartwatches wrist-worthy for you?

Are these smartwatches wrist-worthy for you?

By Kakoli Chakraborty and Abhik Sen
May 09, 2016 14:20 IST
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Huawei has made a foray into the smartwatch segment, while Timex has tried to go off the beaten track.
Kakoli Chakraborty and Abhik Sen look at what these two new watches have to offer.

Almost a year after it was launched globally, the Huawei Watch has finally landed on Indian shores.

Since I liked the Moto 360 (2nd gen) smartwatch, I decided to see what Huawei had to offer.

Huawei Watch

I got my hands on the stainless steel version, with a black leather strap and a sapphire crystal screen. The first thing I noticed was how bulky it was. At a time when most gadgets are getting sleeker, Huawei has decided to go the opposite way.

Huawei watch

Unlike the Moto 360, the Huawei Watch comes in just one size. So, if you're a woman and not a fan of big dials, get prepared to be disappointed.

As with every other Android-based smartwatch, one needs to download Android Wear from the Google Play Store to sync the smartphone with the watch. Pairing is fairly easy and the interface is the same as other smartwatches. It comes with the usual Android Wear apps such as the heart rate monitor and distance tracker.

However, here's what sets the Huawei Watch apart from its rivals -- the absence of the 'flat-tyre' effect. Though I loved the Moto360 (2nd gen), its display had a crescent moon-shaped area on its bottom half, and was devoid of any pixels. But in Huawei's case, you get a proper circular display without any pixel loss. However, it doesn't come with an ambient light sensor, so you need to crank up the brightness according to your need.

The watch, like other smartwatches, runs on a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 512 MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory. It does have an impressive battery backup though. The 300mAh battery lasted for more than a day on full charge, even when I had the brightness on full and kept using various apps.

The charging dock, however, is slightly annoying. It's magnetic, but the pins need to be lined up perfectly for it to charge, which might irk you when you're in a hurry.

Priced at Rs 22,999, the Huawei Watch doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary. With the huge range of smartwatches at your disposal, this one will find it difficult to stand out.

Timex Metropolitan+

timex

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are a dime a dozen these days. But I still like my analogue chronographs. No wonder I was excited to get my hands on the Timex Metropolitan+.

The watch looks like a proper timepiece, but with a few extras. There's the crown, much like those in ordinary watches. It sets the time and if pressed hard enough, activates the Indiglo backlight for a few seconds. Plus, there's one push switch to cycle through the 'activity' functions.

Best of all, it doesn't need to be charged; it runs off an ordinary watch battery, which Timex says is good for one-and-a-half years.

There are three dials: The main dial that tells the time; an orange-tipped hand, which tells the number of steps or the distance travelled; and another with an orange hand, which tells you the distance or steps of your goal in percentage terms.

And there's a smaller dial that shows four modes: 'Off' to switch off all activity tracking; Bluetooth, to sync the watch with the app; 'D' to track the distance covered; and 'S' for the number of steps taken.

I set the watch to 'S' and went for my daily walk. Then I synced the watch with my phone -- which brought me to the barebones app. First, the Bluetooth mode switched off way too early in the watch. And getting the watch to sync for the first time was a tedious chore.

Once this barrier was breached, syncing wasn't a problem. But here's what you get: Steps, distance and calories burnt, and weekly and monthly readings.

Also, I couldn't figure a way to export the readings to any third-party app. But there's something to redeem the app -- the ability to customise the length of your step -- and it did lead to greater accuracy. A caveat: One needs to sync the watch every week.

The Timex Metropolitan+, at Rs 9,995, is a great buy for those who want to keep things simple; a classic watch that can double as a pedometer. The app though has room for improvement.

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Kakoli Chakraborty and Abhik Sen