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Withings Activité: A practical smart watch


Mar 24 2015

The Withings Activité watch has traditional looks with modern smarts

Image courtesy Withings ©

Withings Activité: A practical smart watch

The Withings Activité just might have the right combination of function and form to make it a winner.

2015 is perhaps the year of wearable smart-devices.  The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas in January was awash with wearable tech.  It seems everyone is coming out with sports tracking devices and watches.

But with wearable tech now firmly on the production radar, manufacturers will have to lift their game to give consumers practical devices that add value rather than just being tech-bling.  Too many smart watches have had very short battery lives, and consumers already have more than enough devices in their lives to keep charged without worrying about their watch.  After all, most of us did away with wind up watches a good few decades back.  Having to charge your watch every couple of days seems like a step backwards, and the tech benefits would have to be significant to overcome this nuisance factor.

But in steps French company Withings with the Activité.  A simple, elegant device that looks like a watch, adds in some smarts, water resistancy and a good battery life.

In fact the specs on this watch are quite impressive.  Withings claims a battery life of at least 8 months and water resistance to 50m (5ATM).  The watch case and dials (yes they are real mechanical watch dials, not a display) are swiss made.  The housing is in stainless steel with a scratch-proof domed sapphire glass.  The leather strap is of French design and the overall package looks neat.

The tech is also elegant.  For example, tap twice on the glass and the dials will spin to show the alarm set-time, then spin back to the current time again.  And if you travel a lot, you will like the automatic time correction as you change time zones.  The watch takes its cue from your smart phone's time setting.

The health and sports tracking functions also impress.  The watch has a prominent motivational dial which displays your progress towards your activity goals.  Other things like sleep monitoring could also be useful.

The watch works in conjunction with compatible Android or Apple smart phones.  The Withings website states that a firmware update for the watch will be available late April to allow for swimming data to be monitored.

The watch is priced at €390 on the Withings website.  Those who want the functionality without the higher price tag may chose the Withings Activité Pop, which uses less expensive materials and is priced at €149.95.

Activité collected two innovation awards at this years CES; one in the “Fitness, Sport, and Biotech” category, and one in the “Wearable Technologies” category.

So in conclusion, if you are looking for a watch with a more traditional look but want the smart tracking features of a smart watch, you may want  to consider the Activité by Withings.