Withings Activité Pop
Eight-month battery and a third of the price of the Apple Watch
£119 Manufacturer Withings, withings.com
Requires iPhone 4s or later, iPod touch 5th generation or later
Now that the Apple Watch is out you might think the time is up for any other smartwatch maker. But there’s room for more than one approach and Withings’ Activité Pop is one of our favourites. Indeed, in many ways, the Activité Pop is a far, far better option than an Apple Watch for some.
It looks for all the world like a regular watch. (It also comes in blue and beige, both of which look terrific.) But behind the dial are some smarts that track your activity and sleep, and communicate with your iPhone over Bluetooth 4.0, to let you monitor them, get advice and encouragement and, if you like, compete virtually with friends.
Because it uses Bluetooth 4.0, it has to be paired with a recent device, but its power-efficiency means there’s no perceivable impact on the iPhone’s battery life. Data is sent in the background when certain conditions are met.
This power-efficiency also means Withings claims the Pop can run for up to eight months on a single CR2025 watch battery – quite a contrast to the Apple Watch’s single- day battery life. It’s also fully waterproof (unlike the Watch) and will soon be able to track swimming. Activity data is shown in the excellent accompanying app. It’s especially great if you use other Withings trackers, but it also feeds data into Apple’s Health app.
It vibrates subtly on your wrist to wake you in the morning. There’s audible noise, but it’s quieter than other ‘silent’ alarms we’ve tried. Because the display is comprised of physical hands rather than a digital face, the time is always visible – and so is the dial showing your activity, motivating you to move more often.
You could buy its big brother, the Activité (£320), but apart from different styling, the only differences are that the pricier model has a sapphire (not glass) screen, a leather strap and is made in Switzerland. Christopher Phin
The small inset dial shows progress towards your activity goal.