Right now, it seems like everyone is making smartwatches, but nobody really wants to wear one. Sure, they’re useful in the gym, but all that ugly screen and silicone will undoubtedly get a few glares when you wear it to a business meeting or out on a date. So joining the difficult quest to create a smartwatch that people will actually put on in public, Withings decided to go back to the basics. And it has definitely succeeded. Crafted by a team of Parisian designers and Swiss watch-makers, the Activité is classic, elegant and yet still an impressive health tracker.
Inarguably the prettiest pedometer on the market, the watch is available in black or silver stainless steel 316L, with a traditional analog display. Along with the initial watch face for telling the time (an essential feature other smart “watches” seem to lack), a smaller sub dial displays your daily activities and targets, covered by an “unbreakable” scratch-proof sapphire glass which doubles as a touchscreen. A french calf leather strap confirms this smartwatch as both a sartorial statement and a fitness tracker, with an exchangeable plastic strap for swimming.
Activité’s health monitoring capabilities accentuate its refined, minimal exterior, containing both an accelerometer, daily objectives and sleep tracking. If measuring your steps, swimming, distance, calories, heart-rate and blood oxygen levels wasn’t enough, the watch also has some interesting sleep offerings. It can tell you the best time to go to sleep and the length of your light and deep sleeping states, as well as the ability to customize your daily objectives shown on the sub dial such as distance walked or calories lost. A vibrator will provide you with little buzzes when you complete each objective, or to wake you up nicely in the morning. And of course, no Smartwatch would be complete without an app to accompany it: Activité streams all its data back to the Withings Health Mate via low energy bluetooth.
Rather than thinking outside the box, Withings stayed firmly inside the box, and just filled it with lots of useful additional extras. Blending the past with the future, the technology has been dissolved into a natural device, which benefits both the exterior and the interior. Using standard long-lasting cell batteries, Withings smartwatch stays powered for up to a year, and remains waterproof for up to five metres. Functioning as both an elegant watch and a fitness tracker means you can wear your Activité all day, everyday (and look good while you’re at it).
Works only with iOS. Available this fall from Withings for $390. It seems beauty and brains doesn't come cheap.