So far, I’m yet to be convinced I need a smartwatch. The main reason I’d want one is for the notifications, because I often miss phone calls and messages when my phone is in my pocket. Having something that vibrates on my wrist to get my attention would be most welcome.
But that’s not something I’m willing to pay hundreds of pounds for. Get yourself an Apple Watch, and you get all kinds of extras, but you also pay at least £300 for the privilege.
The Asus VivoWatch is less than half the price, though, so is it a more appealing prospect?
For a start, it’s not a smartwatch in the same vein as the Apple Watch. Rather than being an all-singing, all-dancing wearable, it’s more of a fitness tracker, and the features it has are proof of that. In the activity menu, you can track the number of steps you’ve taken, the calories you’ve burnt, total distance and total time – all based on readings from the built-in pedometer. You can also check your pulse rate, which the watch gets from sensors on the back.
Other than that, there’s not much else, apart from an alarm function, a three-axis accelerometer and a UV meter. You can also get information about your sleep patterns, which is combined with your exercise data to generate a score on the ‘Happiness Index’.
All this information is entered into the mobile app, HiVivo (Android and iOS only). Without this, connected via Bluetooth, the VivoWatch is useless, but that’s not an unusual requirement for a smartwatch.
In HiVivo, you can keep track of and share your activity. You can also use this app to see information about the watch itself, such the battery percentage left, and the firmware version. The latter can also be updated here.
Finally, in HiVivo, you can alter a range of settings, such as alarms, step and calorie targets, language and the watch face. You also sync with Google fit, sync to the cloud and set various parameters such as stride length. And you can toggle the movement reminder, message alerts, call alerts and vibration.
None of these things are particularly impressive, but they do mean the VivoWatch is more than able to do its job as a fitness tracker. If you’re looking for more than that, though, then you’ll be disappointed.
That’s a shame, really, because it’s not a bad-looking device, with its simple oblong shape and metal trim. The screen might only be monochrome, with a resolution of 128 x 128, but the touch functionality is responsive and easy to use. The fact it’s also IP67 water resistant is a bonus too. No doubt the charge time (one to two hours) and potential ten-day battery life will also be a big draw for some customers, as will the green LED on the face that lights up when you’re exercising effectively.
But ultimately, the VivoWatch is trying to occupy a space somewhere between smartwatches and fitness trackers, and it doesn’t excel at either. Its smart features are practically non-existent, and it’s too limited as an exercise assistant to beat other fitness bands of a similar price.
That said, it’s certainly competent, and the price isn’t terrible. And its simplicity could actually be regarded as a plus point. If you’re looking for media functions and fancy apps, look elsewhere, but if you want a fitness tracker that also looks good on your wrist, then give the VivoWatch a try. Anthony Enticknap
Not bad but quite limited..