Wrist-on with the fancy Withings Activité fitness watch
Smartwatches and fitness watches started out somewhat utilitarian and understated, but watches like the upcoming Withings Activité are bringing real fashion to the party. Unlike the round-faced Moto 360 and LG G Watch R smartwatches running Android Wear, the Withing Activité dials things back to real dials. At first glance it's more watch than fitness tracker, with a simple Swiss-made two-hand watchface dominating the proceedings.
The only indication that something is up comes from the secondary dial, a smaller single hand that traces from 0 to 50 to 100, tracking your fitness progress throughout the day. The design is understated and classic, with either a bright white face with a tan leather band or a black face with black leather.
Both feature a bright polished metal body to the watch, one that tapers back from the edge to accommodate the battery and Bluetooth radio while still maintaining a visually slim profile. This makes the watch stick up a bit on your wrist, but it also makes it appear to be less bulky than the straight sides of the Moto 360. Kudos to Withings for making a fitness band that we wouldn't be ashamed to wear with a suit or dress. The Activité syncs the fitness data it tracks to an app for iOS, though they did not yet have the app ready to show off.
We strapped the Withings Activité to our wrists at IFA 2014 and it was quite comfortable to wear. The calf skin leather is soft and flexible and the watch isn't nearly as heavy its more capable competition might seem to be. We have no complaints with the styling or construction — it feels good and it looks great. We also have no issue with its simple mission of telling time and tracking motion. The only thing that gives us pause is the $390 price tag, but even then you're paying for style and a Swiss timepiece. And that we'll have to wait until Fall 2014 to strap one to our own wrists.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.