The market for analogue watches that also offer fitness tracking and basic smartphone notifications is becoming increasingly crowded. Misfit, which is already known for its stylish range of wearables, is the latest entrant with its Phase smartwatch.
The Brand has revealed a classic looking timepiece with a simple design. The 41mm case is crafted from cutting-edge materials including satin aluminum and stainless steel. You can easily interchange different 20mm strap styles via the quick-release spring pin.
Equipped with a three-axis accelerometer, the device automatically tracks steps, distance, calories, and light and restful sleep. It then wirelessly sends all this information to your smartphone where you can see detailed graphs of your activity.
You can also view your daily progress on the always on watch display. Simply toggle to activity mode by pressing the mode button on top right, and the watch’s hands will move to show your daily progress (in terms of percentage). Some of the other analogue watches include a smaller, second dial, which strikes us as a more convenient way to show daily progress.
There is also another button on the device that can be customized for a variety of functions. This allows you to play and pause music, take a selfie, control smarthome devices, and more.
Vibration alerts will notify you of calls, texts, alarms and custom app notifications. Interestingly, you can set the hour and minute hands to point to specific numbers on the watch face to indicate who is calling you. There is also a small hole at the bottom of the display which shows different colored discs depending on the type of notification. You can customize these to your liking in the smartphone app.
Don’t worry about charging the device. Just like most analogue smartwatches on the market, it features a non-charging, replaceable coin cell battery that lasts around 6 months. The watch is showerproof and swimproof to depths of 50 meters.
Companies that offer rival hybrid-timepieces include Garmin, Withings, Fossil, Mondaine and Alpina. Withings has recently debuted its Steel HR smartwatch, the first analogue device with a built in heart rate sensor.
CCS Insight forecasts that 53 million fitness trackers will be sold this year, rising to 165 million in 2020. The market research company expects that growth will primarily be driven by a rise in smart analogue watches. Traditional watchmakers, which have seen sales decline in recent years, are expected to focus efforts in this area as they try to cling on to their share of the global market.
“Our research indicates the next wave of growth will come from smart analogue watches”, said George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight.
“Compared with full-touch smartwatches, these offer the convenience of a traditional watch but with added smart functionalities such as activity and sleep monitoring, all delivered with six- to 12-month battery life”
With so many smart time pieces around, it is difficult to get too excited about the Misfit Phase. There is little to distinguish it from the pack and it is also slightly more expensive that some of the rival options. If you are a fan of the minimalist looking design and are after basic fitness tracking, it might be an option worth considering. If not, you might want to pass on this one.
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