For the most part, smartwatches in 2014 featured poor design, decent performance and an overwhelming sense of tediousness. Withings wants to change the model for smartwatches, by offering an experience extremely close to a normal watch. The Withings Activite is the first smartwatch to fit the normal watch aesthetic, and it does so by removing a lot of the smart capabilities.
The smartwatch has an activity tracker inside, capable of monitoring steps and sleep pattern, but it does not feature the touch-screen or active notifications available on Android Wear and the Apple Watch.
Design wise, the Withings Activite is handmade in Switzerland, the epicenter of great watch designers. It features a rather large watch-face and two dials, one for the time and the other for activity measuring.
The watch-face is locked in place with a metal frame, and Withings has added a lovely leather band. Customers can choose between black and silver for the watch-face color.
Withings Activite last for around a year on one charge, much better than the one-day battery life on most Android Wear smartwatches. It is also waterproof up to 5-meters, better than most Android Wear watches.
It brings a completely new idea to the drawing board, one a lot of people have been asking. Why do I need a smartwatch, when I can buy a much better looking watch and use my phone to track health and fitness?
Withings offers a well designed $390 watch with some of the smart functionality built in, offering the best of both worlds. Now its time to see if the market wants a well built watch with smart functionality.