I’ve used several fitness trackers, smart watches, and devices that keep a track of the number of steps that I walked during the day, and the number of hours I’ve slept. Some are real smart, some might not be as good as advertised, but the one thing that I’ve noticed is that either they are overboard, or they are too basic. Either by looks, or by price, or by the functionality.
The Xiaomi Mi Fit 2 band does it well with the tracking of steps and sleep, but it doesn’t have the looks that I’d have loved. The Moto 360 that I used for quite a good time annoyed me with the sucky battery life. It’s time to check out something that might act as a bridge. The Timex Metropolitan+ watch! Smart? Enough to count the steps that I walked. Looks? Handsome, truly. Battery? Don’t worry about it for a few months. Ok, this is what the company says about it. How good is it in reality? Let’s check it out.
First things first, it is so welcoming and good to see the traditional watch brands getting to realize that people expect more than just the time display on the wristwatch. It isn’t the first or only brand offering an analog watch with some smartness because Withings and Garmin have been doing something like that already.
Let’s check out some specifications of the Timex Metropolitan+ watch before we discuss the design and functionality.
- Analog watch design
- Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity
- Brass material for exterior case
- 42mm diameter, 13mm thickness, 20mm width
- Indiglo night light
- Water resistant – 100 meters
- Battery life estimated – 1 year to 1.5 year
The design – Just what I like
A regular quartz watch is what you are looking at if you have a first look at the Metropolitan+ watch. For someone who doesn’t want to show off that you are wearing an activity tracker and not just a standard watch, this is a perfect fit. The one that I got to review is the Matte black variant that has a nylon black strap. There’s also a polished silver dial but I have something for the matte finish on any gadget that I use.
One thing that is quickly noticeable is the thickness of the watch. Not many watches have such a thickness, but it doesn’t really seem odd and personally when you know that the watch houses some sensors and a good battery, you will have your mind easily adjusted to it. The watch face is black, with white hands for the hours and minutes, and the red ones for the percentage as well as step/distance indicator.
INDIGLO Night Light is something unique and it can be activated by a push of the crown, and it is quite useful to show the watch face at night for the time. Frankly, it isn’t easy to understand the functionality of the watch and the activity tracking with those percentage and count hands, but that is a one-time learning process that makes it much easier for a longer use.
How’s the strap? While there is nothing so great to appreciate about, the strap just does the job as expected. The watch also features the Quick-release strap where you just need to pull a pin to release the strap and replace it with a new one. The watch has WR 5 ATM resistance and while are not recommended to jump into a swimming pool with it, but it is good enough to handle spills and can be worn without a worry during showers.
The quality of material used, the feel while wearing the watch, and the weight distribution nowhere makes you feel like wearing a thick timepiece. The design is likable, and I’d absolutely adore it for the fact that it doesn’t take away anything from the traditional watch design. I’d already buy it for that reason but the price is not something that you can ignore but the fact that it isn’t just a normal wristwatch will keep you interested.
Software – A smartwatch needs a smart app!
A perfect companion is what would complement the features that are offered by the watch. The Timex Metropolitan+ doesn’t have a display and the hands are good enough to show only the approximates, and the exact details can be known only when you sync the watch with a smartphone. Rightfully, Timex has made an app available for both, Android and iOS devices and the app is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store respectively.
While the app is quite easy to use, the downside is that it is too simple and offers too less than what you’d expect. The Timex Connected app lets you learn about the process, add the metrics and pair the watch. The App Settings also have the options to check and update the firmware of the watch and even do a factory reset. Even the sensitivity of the activity tracker can be set to low, medium, and high.
The app shows the following stats – No. of steps walked, distance walked, no. of calories burnt, and the hours of sleep.
The app shows up comparisons or a weekly or monthly timeline where you can easily see how’s the week gone when it comes to the steps walked. For the sleep tracking, there’s deep sleep, light sleep, awake time, and the efficiency of the sleep. There is no community or a friend zone as such where you can share your stats and compete or motivate each other. It is more like a replication of what you’d have seen on the watch and only because the Metropolitan+ doesn’t have a display, these steps are shown in the app.
The watch can keep a history stored for only about seven days, so you’ll have to sync the watch with the app once every week to give the app all the tracked information before it gets refreshed. Once the data about steps and sleep is synced, the calorie burn is calculated.
The functionality – How well does the watch track things?
As said above, this is a simple tracking unit with no special sensors that the other high-end smartwatches have. There is no GPS, no heart rate tracker, and no other advanced ones except the sensor that will look for the movements and count the steps.
Given the fact that you can change the sensitivity of the band, you can do a test trial run and see if things are working fine for you with the default settings. But for me, the sensitivity set to Medium was just perfect and almost accurate. With any step counter, we have a 10 percent +/- as no tracker can do the count perfectly as there is unnecessary hand shakes that can sometimes result in overcounting, and some situations where you might have taken a few steps but the tracker fails to count them.
I’m not sure and cannot be very sure about the functioning and accuracy of the sleep tracking system, because how can one do it? Even if I had to compare it with some other band that tracks sleep, I cannot call one better than the other. Nevertheless, the stats shown here are convincing in a way when we talk about the total number of hours slept.
In the end, how’s the battery life? Not something I can judge with ease because unlike the junk of smartwatches that require you to charge them every other day, the Timex Metropolitan+ is said to be lasting for over a year and you don’t need to charge it even once. The downside here is that you will have to get the battery replaced when it gets finished, but that happens once in over a year.
A fitness tracker that not many would want to have, but a smart wrist watch that every regular watch wearer would want to have. When it comes to software, Timex Connect doesn’t impress a lot, especially because of the lack of any interaction, but the hardware is what impresses a lot and I’d happily ignore the Withings Activite and other alternatives that are heavy on the pocket, even though the Timex Metropolitan+ isn’t a very affordable option. At Rs. 10000, the watch is very much a recommended smart time piece.
The biggest reason to have this as an activity tracker is the battery. You don’t have to worry about charging the watch. Call me an old-school guy for liking it over the likes of Moto 360 or LG G Watch, but those display-heavy units kill the battery each day and I don’t like to keep charging a watch.