Smart to Watch Out: The Future, Pt. 4

Trust me on this one: You’d be smart to stay away from smartwatches. At least for now. Really, you should steer clear of first gen. junk altogether. There are some exceptions to this rule, of course — a few choice benefits to early adoption, namely looking cool and being rich (as you need indispensible amounts of “cash monies” to be a true EA). Early adoption is not a game for the faint of heart or for the poor of bank account balance. If you’re an average 99-percenter, don’t start mortgaging your house just yet for that solid-gold Apple Watch, and don’t sweat the fact that you’re not. It takes two (or three) generations to make a thing go right in my and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s experience. More if you’re Microsoft.

All Watched Up

The truth is, behind all my overt smartwatch bashing, was an impatient little tech junkie who really, really wanted to believe. All I needed was a solar-powered smartwatch that could do everything my phone could while still maintaining a degree of analogous charm. But I was also willing to settle. I was willing to compromise at one-day battery life, a reasonable app library, standard fitness features (pedometer, HR monitor, and the ability to manage food intake), a clear complexion (no obvious pixelage) and a non-hideous face. So, similar to the features you should look for in a significant other. But apparently, that was still too much to ask. While Samsung’s rose-gold Gear 2 watch seemed like the obvious choice (paired with my Galaxy S5), it turns out that was just because of the rose-colored glasses I wore that day. The thing completely consumed my petite wrist. And had bad ratings. And looked really stupid. Not nearly enough analogous charm. But not to fear, Moto’s 360 watch seemed just as promising, if not more so — nice screen, Google Now, and, unlike the other non-Apple options, some style. Unfortunately, the battery life did not meet price tag expectations. And yeah, I know Apple has a watch now, too, but refer back to my first gen. rule and S5 phone. So I gave up on smartwatches. At least for the time being.

Time Is Money

But I still had a hole burning in my shallow pockets. A hole that only a pocket-sized wearable could fill. And so I took up surfing. I surfed high and low across the sea of internet until I found it — a wave of relief within an ocean of fierce and finicky fitness trackers: the FitBit Charge HR.

The FitBit Charge HR was clearly the best overall tracker (without encroaching on smartwatch territory). So I went to the store, picked up the HR, and took my first step toward fitness. My husband — the straight character in this sitcom scenario — stopped me with, “You’re getting the $150 one?” I briefly thought about our bank account balance, said, “No, no I’m not,” as if this was never my plan to begin with (and with the dignity of a thousand pure-bred stallions), then picked up the $70 UP24 instead. And THEN took the first step toward fitness (after I got home and charged the thing for two hours).

Up You, FitBit

Although some could say that I settled, I have #noregrets and consider myself #blessed (I can’t even use that hashtag ironically without gagging). I like the design more than I thought. I was originally very opposed to the thickness and lack of time-telling abilities, a.k.a., a screen, but the app really is the best in the biz. And, as I had read, the UP24 has one of the most comprehensive sleeping apps out there and gives you everything you need without the useless fluff that lets companies get away with charging more (see FitBit Charge HR’s caller ID feature, pun somewhat unintentional).

My 4:11

The UP24 lasts two weeks on one charge, excusing the complete lack of screen, and has a robust app that lets you track and monitor your weight, food, steps, mood1, exercise, and allows third-party apps to sync with the Jawbone’s UP app. While Fitbit’s Charge HR is widely considered the best overall fitness tracker on the market right now2, I would argue that the Up24 is a better overall value. You pretty much have to spend twice the price if you want the HR monitor, and they’re still too finicky at this point to justify that price jump. Ironically, downgrading is an Up-grade. Or, you could always just wait a second for the second-gen Apple Watch. But you and I both know that you won’t. It’s 2015, an age that can be defined by Amazon Prime Dash and Netflix. Who even waits for stuff anymore?

Honorable Mentions

The Misfit Flash gets the best budget tracker ribbon (but only if you have an iPhone and a cool $35) and its sexy sister, the Shine, is the chicest option (you could make an argument for Withings and FitBit’s Tory Burch line, but neither is practical for working out, and Withings’ Activé products are actually smartwatches).

  1. This is by far the strangest feature.
  2. ForbesTom’s GuideGizmodoWearableThe Wire Cutter, etc. Pssshh, Forbes. What do they know?

Want more? Check out the other blogs in this series:

Wireless Is More
Syncing in the Rain
You’ve Arrived

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