Exercise and video games tend to lie on opposite sides of a coin (unless you are into Just Dance and Wii Fit), so when I received the Fitmate from Zakk, I was unsure what do with the device. Finally I decided to review the hell out of the smart bracelet, and it hasn’t left my wrist for the past 5 days.
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Fitmate is a smart bracelet fitness tracker created and sold by Zakk. The Fitmate was launched in India May 2017 with their flagship device called the Fitmate Z1. The device can be bought from Amazon and/or from the Zakk website.
Fitmate Smart Bracelet
Lets talk specs first. The Fitmate sports a 0.91 inch O.L.E.D. Display with a 128*64 resolution. The display is back-lit and features a touchscreen which understands simple gestures such as swipes, presses and long presses. The device is able to monitor Steps, distance, calories, Sleeping cycles, and Sedentary habits (how much time you spend sitting). The bracelet connects to your phone through Bluetooth 4.0 and is compatible with iOS 7.0 (or above) and Android 4.3 (or above). Unfortunately it does not house any WI-Fi connectivity. The bracelet has a GPS built in as well, which is handy once you have synced it with your phone using its native app. The device also boasts a 75 MaH battery which is charged through a USB interface. The battery easily lasts 10 days at a stretch even with frequent usage. Finally the device is splash proof and water resistant, making it fit for medium underwater usage (think swimming).
The problem with fitness regimes for me has always been concrete goals. When you play cricket, you either win or lose there is an instant reward for your effort, running, weight-lifting, crunches and sit-ups don’t work like that. Its hard to see effects of your efforts daily, and a one bad day could effectively ruin a week’s worth of discipline. Another thing about working out is that while you may monitor all that you do in the gym, its hard to take into account whatever activity that you do outside it, which may increase our decrease your everyday fitness index. For someone who plays a lot of strategy games and has a bit of O.C.D, this will never cut it. I am used to see my hard work increasing my reputation, my rank etc. incrementally, in other words I want my effort to level me up. This is where Fitmate has helped the most.
The device captures every aspect of my daily activity. It doesn’t matter if I am in the gym or running across a mall doing grocery shopping, or running between the wickets while playing cricket. All of them count, and all my steps and calories are accounted for in a fairly accurate manner. On the other hand, the device has sedentary reminders, which alert me if I have been sitting on my ass for too long in the office or in the front of my PS4. It reminds me that I have been stationary long enough and need to move around a bit. Finally, it compounds all that information and compares it with a pre-set goal and gives me a fitness index, the higher the score the better I did that day. It has essentially helped my gamify my fitness.
Of course there is more to the Fitmate than just fitness (as weird as that may sound). The Fitmate is a great notification companion too, in fact it shows you the advantages of wearable tech. The bracelet can be pushed notifications from your phone which includes Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter apart from the usual S.MS and Phone calls. You can’t respond to any of them through the band, but you can read them. Which means you can read the O.T.P messages without taking your phone out of the pocket. You can check if the Whatsapp is a forwarded joke or whether you should really come out of that meeting to pick up the phone. Plus since most notifications are now buzzing on your wrists, you can safely put your phone into silent mode, or even keep it connected to a charger and not hover around it checking its screen every 5 minutes. The Fitmate can also help locate your phone, so you don’t have to frantically search for it every time it slides between the cushions on your sofa, a real life saver for someone who leaves his phone behind on every desk he can find. Believe me it just works.
There is something to be said about the gesture on display though. There is currently no setting for an always on display and the wrist jerk reaction that should turn on the display work intermittently (I would say around 7 times out of 10). This is a little inconvenient especially when you just want to check the time. While you can swipe across its screen to turn it on, its not the best option sometimes (say when you are driving). Maybe make glancing a little better.
The swipe functions too are a little hazy. I sometime just keep swiping randomly until I reach the desired screen. The press and long presses thankfully are much more clearer and a little vibration lets you know that your selection has been noted.
Finally the looks. I am not a fashion expert but everything about the Fitmate screams sporty. Its slick, the strap is made out of rubber, and the display itself seems sturdy. Its made for outdoor and on the move usage with little to none fragile parts. This is not to say it can’t be worn in a formal event though. So while it may not match up to the grandeur of a Omega round dial, the Fitmate definitely showcases the technophile side of you, and would give you plenty of water cooler moments to discuss its feature among your friends.
Priced at just INR 1,990 the Fitmate offers much more than the Fast Track smart bands at roughly the same price, and almost everything that the Fitbit offers at a fraction of the price. Its a great device for people looking to dip their toes into the smart watch pool. On the other hand its an excellent contender for your money if you are looking to buy a smart watch and don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket. If you have any curiosity regarding how a smart watch would work, or if you are looking to replace your current smart band, I would highly recommend that you pick Fitmate up.
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