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The wearable market in India is going through some exciting times. There are products in every price segment to meet the demands of consumers who are willing to give technology a chance to lead a healthy lifestyle. Among the diverse fitness-centric products, smartwatches and fitness bands are easily the most preferred wearable products.
You can get a health band with a price tag of as low as Rs. 1,000 and a smartwatch that will cost you as high as Rs. 40,000. For instance, Apple recently announced Watch Series 3 LTE (GPS + Cellular) that offers a host of features at a price tag of Rs 39, 080.
That said, the upper range price segment in the wearable market is mostly dominated by Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, etc.; whereas the ultra-affordable and value category price bracket is largely captured by the likes of Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei and Garmin, Fitbit respectively.
Things might get change with the fitness band we are going to talk about today. We are talking about Smartron tband. Priced at Rs. 4,999, tband is a premium category fitness band that brings some new features onboard for fitness enthusiasts who are also a bit price-conscious. It targets a very specific consumer category who wants a premium looking wearable with top-of-the-line design and features, but at the same time also wants to keep a close check on the pricing.
Smartron tband sports an OLED screen and comes equipped with features like electrocardiography (ECG) and blood pressure monitoring, which were never seen in this price range and even in wearable devices priced considerably higher. Plus you get a companion app which is fairly easy to use and offers a host of features.
Besides, tband does the usual job of tracking your steps, calories you burn and how well you sleep throughout the night. All of this sounds good on papers but does it translate to a valuable real-life performance. Let's find out more about the fitness tracker in the following review.
Design: Premium look and feel with the comfortable wearing experience
While the design of tband is not very original, it is still one of the best and premium looking fitness band at its respective price-point. The company offers the tracker with a standard 18mm Black color silicone band, which you can swap with the bundled Brown color leather band offered in the box at no additional cost. Both the bands offer a comfortable wearing experience and look good on the wrist. I mostly wore the tracker with the Brown color band as its leather finish and color makes the overall look a bit more suitable for professional environments.
The tracker's main unit sports an OLED screen with a Chrome finish chin that works as a touch pad to access all the functions. The chrome finish is also provided along the tracker's boundaries and on the stainless steel buckle that adds a premium touch. The tband design is not all about looks; it is also durable and comes with IP67 certification. What this means is that the tband is water-dust resistant and can be worn in challenging weather conditions and workout scenarios. However, Smartron makes it clear that the band is not designed to work while submerged underwater. You cannot use it while swimming as when subjected to pressurized streams of water, the band can get damaged.
Nevertheless, some other good things about tband's design are its lightweight and good build quality. It's a premium looking fitness tracker with a comfortable wearing experience.
Display: Crisp OLED Display
Smartron tband features a 0.96-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 128x64 pixels. The crisp OLED screen displays important information such as time & date, battery life, current temperature and Bluetooth status. The Black and White OLED panel displays information brilliantly indoors; however, it's slightly difficult to read the information under direct sunlight as the screen is not very bright. The display is not touch-enabled, which is another drawback. Smartron has placed a Chrome finish chin at the bottom of the display, which serves as a touchpad to access all the features of the tracker. The trackpad is not very consistent and it often requires multiple taps to register an input. Instead of the half-baked touchpad, a full touchscreen would have added more value to the overall package.
Nevertheless, the whole operating process works on taps. You can tap once to activate the screen, tap again to move to next screen, hold to start a fitness activity or measure your blood pressure. A double tap on the first screen starts the pairing process. You can also enable wrist detection feature as the band comes equipped with a 3-Axis Accelerometer. When enabled, the feature activates the screen when you tilt/lift the wrist to check the time and other important information.
Performance: Some never before seen features at a reasonable price-point
Smartron's tband has some unique features. The band can monitor your ECG and Blood pressure levels, which are not easily available at this price-point. To monitor important information from the band itself, hold the trackpad for 120 sec to find out HRV (Heart rate variability), Fatigue level and stress level. Hold the trackpad for 30 sec to find out your blood pressure level. The fitness band also shows an ECG graph on the companion app. Apart from ECG, BP and sleep monitoring features, tband also comes with the ability to continuously measure heart rate as well as resting heart rate. You can enable the feature within settings to allow the band to monitor your heart rate every one hour. You can sync the health data with Google Fit, which is a bonus feature.
The band can monitor your sleep and shows the information on the main screen of the companion app. The sleep tracking process is quite efficient and useful if you really want to lead a healthy lifestyle by relying on a wearable accessory. The fitness band allows you to record exercises; however, the feature has very limited use as it does not allow you to specify the type of exercise. It can be largely used to record a sprint with useful insights like distance covered, time taken and heart rate measurement during the particular physical activity.
Besides, the band does the usual tasks to track steps, calories your burn and display calling and messaging notifications. What comes as a disappointment is the band's inability to display notifications from WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and emails. I have recently reviewed Lenovo HX03X Spectra fitness band which costs Rs. 2,200 and can show all such notifications on its colored display.
Feature-rich companion thealth app
The tband works with a companion app- ‘thealth'. The free to use application (Android and iOS) works as a centralized hub to display all your fitness related information and tracker's general settings. The dashboard of the app offers an overall Health Index score which is derived after monitoring your activity tracking, calorie count, sleeping patterns, stress and fatigue levels as well as Blood Pressure and Heart Health.
Smartron tband offers inactivity reminders and you can customize the time slot from within the settings of the app. The band will vibrate if no activity is detected for a longer time period. Additionally, tband also comes with DnD option to suppress notifications in a set time frame. The thealth app also offers a dedicated tutorial section to help you get started with the fitness regime.
Battery life and Compatibility
Smartron tband is powered by a 100mAh Lithium Ion battery unit, which delivers a surprisingly good battery backup. I mostly kept the band connected to my smartphone and the battery lasted for 3-4 days on a single charge. The battery life can vary depending upon your phone's notifications frequency, screen usage of the band and customizations of band's feature sets like activity reminders, wrist detection for the night, etc.
As far as compatibility is concerned, tband is compatible with both Android (5.0+ ) and iOS (8.3+) devices.
tband is a good step from India's first global technology OEM- Smartron to build the company's ambitious tronX Health ecosystem. The fitness band creates a new category of wearables which are priced reasonably and offer a premium design with some never before seen features. The band is durable and is combined with a feature-rich intuitive companion smartphone app. However, it's not perfect and misses on some important features which Smartron shall ideally address in the second installment of its tband fitness accessory.
If you can adjust with an inconsistent trackpad and non-availability of certain notifications on your wrist, Smartron tband serves as a good overall fitness band to deliver a holistic health and fitness information. The tband is available exclusively on Flipkart starting at Rs. 4,999.