When the Withings Activité was announced in June of last year, it was a thing of beauty: a fitness tracker made with the same sophisticated looks and craftsmanship as a Swiss watch. But instead of trying to look like a watch from the future, it hugged the aesthetics of the past while secretly packing some impressive motion-tracking technology. The only problem with the Activité? The $400 pricetag.
But this year, Withings latest Activité watch brings the price down. Way down. Meet the Activité Pop, a $150 watch/activity tracker that manages to shave almost $250 off the price of the former by ditching its fancy Swiss pedigree. This very well could be the first smartwatch with true mainstream appeal, because it’s the first smartwatch that is actually a smart watch, and not just a computer you strap to your wrist.
There have been a few sacrifices in the transition from the Activité to the Pop. Sure, you’re losing the band made of high-quality French leather from Tanneries Haas, the stainless steel watch case, and the crystal made of unscratchable Sapphire glass. But outside of the craftsmanship–which will be a dealbreaker for some–the Activité Pop is pretty much the same…and in some ways, better, if only because it’s much more affordable while managing to be just as full-featured and stylish.
Like the original Activité, the Pop looks just like a normal analog watch, with the exception of a small hand that tracks your movement throughout the day. And it still runs on standard watch batteries, which means that unlike most smartwatches, which are lucky to get eight hours of use without a charge, the Pop will last up to eight months. Inside, the Pop has a Bluetooth radio, and with the help of the Withings Health Mate app, can connect to your iPhone and keep tabs on all your activity, whether your sleep, steps, runs, and swimming activity–all without having to wear some ghastly blinking, neon pink health band on your wrist.
I’ll admit it: Withings has my interest with this one. The Activité was gorgeous as far as activity trackers are concerned, but for $400, it cost almost $100 more than the most expensive Android Wear watches. At that point, I’d rather buy an actual mechanical watch; something timeless that won’t grow obsolete in a few years, and could potentially be handed down to my kids.
The Activité Pop, on the other hand. is entering Swatch territory: it’s an upper-tier impulse buy that you won’t feel too bad about if you replace it in a couple years. And even if you stop using the activity tracking features, it’s traditional looks mean it’s more likely to stay on your wrist than most other fitness bands. Heck, I even like the aesthetic of the Pop more than the more expensive Activité.
Best of all? The Activité Pop is available today. You can purchase it in black, blue, or gray from bestbuy.com on January 5, 2015 in very limited quantities for a MSRP of $149.95. If you miss out there, don’t despair: Activité Pop will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide and online in March 2015.