Less than a quarter after HTC launched its Re connected cameras, the Taiwanese smartphone maker is branching out to wearable devices with the HTC Gear. The Grip is a smartband meant for people who are looking ahead of a basic band and are serious about tracking their workouts.
First impression video of HTC Grip:
In other words, the HTC Grip will try and plug the space being vacated by Nike’s Fuel band. As HTC’s Jeff Gattis says it is designed for athletes and meant for people who are committed about tracking their workouts. They clearly don’t want to compete with the large basic, also-ran, band segment.
So the smart band will come with a sophisticated rugged rubber design. It will not have buttons that can get tangled in your clothes, except for one flat one beside the 32x160px screen. It will be waterproof, though HTC does not recommend using it while swimming.
There will be two major differentiators when compared with the other smart bands in the market. This one will come with GPS that can track your route and routines and has outdoor and indoor modes. The other big advantage will be HTC’s new tie-up with Under Amour. The band will work with the Under Armour Record app to help users make sense of their data. The Record app is arguably most comprehensive app of its kind at the moment. But the band will not sync with any other fitness apps.
The Grip will also do all the regular smart band stuff like show text and mail notifications, let users accept or decline calls and control music. The battery will last two-and-a-half days without GPS usage. With GPS, it will run for five hours. There is a battery saver mode built into the device as well as options to adjust the brightness. While the band will come in three sizes, it can be adjusted using links for larger wrists.
We got to fiddle around with an earlier version of the band, which was not in its final black and lime green version. However, the band seemed quite comfortable to wear, though it is a stiff one. The software was stable and the UI easy to navigate.
The app will initially be available only in the US this spring and will sell for $199, a pricing that has premium written all over it.
HTC seems to be building the Re as a brand of connected devices as the promotional materials for the Grip will have the Re logo in it. This also suggests there are more devices coming in the space.
The Grip can work independent of a smartphone and auto sync with the device when back in range. HTC says they chose to not include a heart rate monitor as the results were still not accurate enough. “We do not want people to make good decisions with poor data,” said Gattis.
First impression: The Grip is definitely a top-end band, but most probably irrelevant to a market like India. One of the best things about the band is the Under Armour app, with which users in India have no connect. It would be better for us to wait for a different, maybe more affordable, version.
Specs: 1.8- inch 32x160p PMOLED mono flexible display with capacitive touch | RTOS platform | STM32L151QDH6 processor | 16MB Flash memory with 8MB SRAM | 100 mAh rechargeable battery | Hub (STM32F411), G-sensor, Gyro, Compass, GPS, Light sensor | Bluetooth 4.0 | USB charging cable | vibration notifications | IP57 Dust & water resistant | shock resistant