Review: Archon Touch, a new fitness tracker for those on a budget

Archon Touch

Archon Touch
7

Design

7/10

    Ease of use

    7/10

      Use of information

      7/10

        Motivation

        7/10

          Pros

          • Accurate step count and other metrics
          • Very low price
          • Good battery life

          Cons

          • Screen could be more responsive
          • Only provides basic tracking

          Archon is a high tech company based in Hong Kong. Its product range currently extends to three devices: the Archon Touch fitness tracker, the wireless bike meter and the wireless skip rope.

          Designed to help users maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst keeping them connected, the Archon Touch is a smart wristband which tracks basic fitness, monitors sleep patterns and partners with both Android and iOS powered smartphones to provide real-time notifications.

          Essential reading: Wearables that won’t break the bank

          Archon kindly sent us a device to try out. We gave it a 7 day test run.

          Design
          Ease of use
          Use of information
          Motivation
          OverviewView technical specs

          Design

          The tracker features an OLED screen and a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) wristband, which is available in six different colors. Although the device fits squarely into the budget fitness tracker niche, it does not feel cheaply made.

          The display, which automatically shows time, date and battery status, can be manoeuvred left and right with swipe actions to scroll through to a pedometer reading, distance travelled (Kilometres), calories burned, sleep mode activation and screen flip.

          The wristband battery charges via a proprietary charging cable and USB in around 2 hours, providing 5-10 days of power in standby mode and roughly 4-6 days of moderate use. A warning when the battery is low helps prompt you to charge the hardware.

          Archon Touch has a IP67 water resistance rating, which means it is shower and rain proof so you can keep going come rain or shine.


          Ease of use

          The device is fairly easy to setup. Download the Archon app directly from the company’s website, Apple Store or Google Play. Charge up your tracker and pair it via Bluetooth to the smartphone app.

          Upon set-up the Archon Touch asks for your personal data such as height, weight and strength. This enables the app to translate the measurements it records into accurate data. If you want to customise your interface for a more personal app experience, you can choose a theme for the home screen and set a profile picture from your image library.

          The device tracks steps, distance, calories and sleep. Navigate the display to scroll through the various metrics. The screen is easily readable, however it takes a while sometimes before the device registers your touch, so you may find yourself tapping more then once at times to prompt the screen to react. The latest update has added an auto sync feature, which means that you no longer need to manually initiate a sync between the wearable and app.

          The device defaults to a daily goal of 10,000 steps and will vibrate when you achieve this goal. If 10,000 is too much or too little, you can tweak the setting according to your preferences.

          You will also feel a vibration whenever the Touch loses Bluetooth connection with your smartphone. While this is useful in that you will never forget your phone, it does become a bit tedious after a while. You can, however, switch this option off in the settings.

          The tracker also has a sleep mode function that monitors the quality of your sleep. Archon Touch can identify light sleep, deep sleep and awake sleep cycle and record them. In order to activate this, before going to sleep you need to navigate to the sleep screen on the wearable, and tap and hold for 3 seconds until you see the confirmation icon. Every day after 6am in the morning, the device automatically detects from your movement if you are awake and switches from sleep mode back to normal mode. For added ease, you can adjust the tracker so that it automatically activates the sleep function at a pre-set time in the evening.

          The wristband also alerts you to incoming calls and messages, displays caller ID, social media messaging, emails, calendar events and reminders. You can tailor which notifications you would like to receive in the settings or choose to switch this function off altogether. You will get a vibration alert and basic info on the type of notification, but to read more you do need to switch over to your smartphone.

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          Use of information

          The Touch provides basic fitness data including steps taken, workout intensity, calories burned, distance travelled and sleep. We strapped on the tracker for 7 days, whilst at the same time wearing on Apple Watch. This is how the two compared.

          Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 08.51.16

          As you can see, rather impressively the Archon Touch almost perfectly matched the Apple Watch in terms of the average number of steps taken during the week. While the readings differed on individual days, they were never widely out of sync, and more importantly over the long-term the differences evened out. In terms of other metrics, distance travelled was lower on the Touch, while active calories were higher.

          Taking everything into consideration, we were impressed with the quality of data churned out by this low cost device. And the fact that it almost matched the data produced by a fitness tracker that costs more than 10 times as much.

          You can view all your metrics on the smartphone app which breaks down your level of exercise into clear bar graphs, showing you your level of exercise intensity so you can see when you were the most active. It also shows the percentage achieved of your set targets. Switch to sleep monitoring and the app will not only tell you how long you slept for but also whether you were sleeping lightly or deeply. All of these pages can be shared on Facebook with one simple click.


          Motivation

          As mentioned, the device defaults to a 10,000 step goal. If you need a little extra push, the Archon Touch lets you set your own fitness target, and congratulates you when you’ve achieved it. Gradually increasing your step goal over time is a simple but effective way to increase your fitness intensity over time and to continually challenge yourself.  You can also set up a goal for the number of sleep hours.

          For fitness enthusiasts, the app includes a game centre which offers a more thorough, and intelligent objective menu. Either by distance, steps or work out intensity, you can motivate yourself to reach predetermined goals within a period of time of your choosing.


          Overview

          The verdict

          This is a low cost fitness tracker that sports a slightly retro look, but does not feel cheaply made. The Archon will provide you with rudimentary fitness data – steps, distance, calories and sleep. And it does this well. The quality of the data seems to be pretty much on par with more established brands.

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          Archon Touch
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          While the Archon Touch does not feature the bells and whistles that you might find on a Fitbit or a Jawbone tracker, retailing at below $50 (£30) it does come at a much lower price. For those just starting out and wishing to see what the fitness tracker craze is all about, or for those on a budget, this is a perfectly decent device that will provide you with basic information on your daily activities.

          View technical specs

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