The Withings Activité is a classic French-designed and
Swiss-made smartwatch with a
battery life of “a full year” according to the manufacturer. Its
classic analogue face will likely appeal to those whose
appreciation for technology extends beyond the digital.
As well as a traditional set of hands, there is a second dial
that demonstrates the percentage of your daily activity you have
completed to let you visualise your progress at all points
throughout the day. It works in conjunction with the Withings Health Mate app so you can
develop a wellness and fitness plan and track your progress month
after month — currently that means the watch is iOS-only in terms
Smartwatches are still so new
that there are no hard and fast rules and no fixed set of
expectations yet when it comes to how they should look and what
they should be capable of. And thank goodness for that because it’s
forcing tech companies to to be more creative and to take a trial
and error approach to what they put into market.
It’s also made space for smaller companies with different
specialities to try their hand at competing for a slice of the wearables market, which is estimated
will become huge. Withings has taken a unique approach to
smartwatch design with the Activité, mixing analogue
with digital in a subtle and clever way that caught our attention
as soon as we spotted it at IFA in
Like the Misfit Shine, the
Activité doesn’t just monitor your steps — it can detect different
types of exercise including swimming and will adjust accordingly.
The Activité can also monitor your sleep and vibrate gently to wake
you up. If you want to double check when your alarm is set for, all
you need to do is tap the responsive glass twice and the hands will
move to show you.
Even though it looks analogue, the watch is controlled by a
digital mechanism that is linked to your phone, meaning that when
you switch timezones it will automatically update itself
accordingly. It also means of course that it will always display
the time very precisely.
We got up close and personal with the smartwatch and can confirm
that it is indeed a very classy timepiece. The soft calf-leather
strap and the round, flattish face are a winning combination, and
we were even more pleased when we heard that the straps are
Smartwatches won’t be one-form-factor-fits-all in the way
smartphones are. There will be some who love having a full-colour
screen tacked onto their wrist, and don’t mind charging it every
day for the privilege, but there will also be people who would
happily forgo a screen in favour of a long battery life, allowing
the likes of Withings and Android
Wear to succeed simultaneously.
The Withings Activité will go on sale later this month for less
than $500 (£306).