The US $100 and below segment of the market for wearables is seeing a lot of competition from smartwatch and fitness trackers companies. NuBand is one of these companies that makes affordable trackers.Last month we reviewed the Amazfit fitness trackers, since then we were trying to get our hands on a more affordable fitness tracker, meet the NuBand Flash HR, a $100’ish fitness tracker. But, does it deliver what promises? Is it worth it? Let found out in this hands-on review of the NuBand Flash HR tracker.
Inside the Box:
So, let’s get right into the unboxing, NuBand Flash HR fitness tracker comes in a small retail box. On the back of the box we have some more features and specs on the band. It also shows an image of the application that we need in order to store the data and its compatibility with iOS 8.0+ and Android 4.4+.
Inside the box, you will find the band held inside a plastic container along with the instruction manual, and that’ it, no Micro USB charger, which at first made me think that they forgot to include it in the box but more on that later.
Build and Appearance:
NuBand Flash HR fitness tracker sports a unibody design. So, the tracker is attached to the band itself in case you need the charge it. It has a good design with a minimalistic and sporty look. So, you can wear it with most of the outfits.
It comes with an OLED screen at 16 x 40mm, the screen is bright enough in daylight but I found the big bezels around so annoying and I wish the screen was a bit bigger. The silicon band comes with a dimension of 18mm x 15mm. The clipping part of the band consists of around 11 holes and a metal/steel lock. The metal part of the lock consists of 2 pointers that lock inside the holes, which makes fit perfectly for slim to healthy hands. There no buttons on the tracker, everything is done using gestures on the screen. So, in order to turn on the tracker you need first to make sure it is charged and then click and hold on the screen and voila!
The Flash HR is also splash proof. I’ve worn the band and have washed my hands many times and there doesn’t seems to be any malfunctions so far. Though I won’t take it deep underwater as they warn us not to take it more than 10 meter deep in water.
Overall, the band is really lightweight that if you have a habit of wearing watch, you won’t even feel it there. It doesn’t look or feel that premium in the hand and compared to what available in the market I believe you can get much more from that price point.
Performance & software:
Once you get the band before you start using it, first you need to charge it and that where it gets tricky, remember when I mentioned that the box doesn’t come with a USB charger, well that right! When you need to charge tracker, you pull off the screen from the strap and the USB port will be revealed in one end, you can then directly connect it to a PC or a charger break with a standard USB port, and that is a smart and elegant way to hide the charging port.
Now, let talk a bit about pairing, this is the part I hate more on any Bluetooth enabled devices, pairing issue with the phone. Although I didn’t find any issue with the previous wearables I tested before but I am going to give this one an F for phone pairing. So, after downloading the App, enabling the Bluetooth and start searching for the band, the search takes a lot of time as well as the pairing process specially at first try. there is no notification message on the band after the paired is done successfully, though there is a small wireless like icon on the top of the screen which indicate that the band in connected. And sometimes the app doesn’t recognize the band and it makes me restart the app one more time just to pair with it.
Browsing around the tracker, as mentioned before it doesn’t have a dedicated button to turn it off/on and everything is done by gestures. So, the turn on the screen you need to hold and click or just lift your wrist and it will automatically turn on. From there you can go through your steps, burned calories, distance and the heart monitor by just tapping on the screen. Swiping down will get you on the main screen which is the clock, and from there swiping again will get you to: your message notification, you can access them by tapping and delete by tap and hold, more on that, the way the notifications are displayed is a big bummer and sluggish too, you get only up to 8 notifications displayed and most of the time I don’t find it useful or helpful, each time I needed to pick my phone so I can read the messages. Next there is the training screen which has only one activity so far which is running -they said that you can track tons of activities and they promote it as a multi-sport tracker but so far only running is available- starting the activity with allow you to track, the distance, the heart beat and the burned calories, a stop watch is included as well. Then you get the setting menu, where you can customize the clock in main screen, turn on the disturb more, factory rest and turning off the tracker.
So far it seems like the tracker is bad and it’s going to be used more like a standard watch and that’s true! the software running inside is outdated and there isn’t much that attract you to it. The tracking activity is really bad and isn’t accurate at all, starting from the heart monitoring, I tried it many time and I got different results, way off the one with the other trackers. Sleep monitoring not reliable at all, I literally get random sleeping and waking times when I’m syncing with the app. The only thing that you can rely on is the distance and the step counter. Speaking of the Android App, it looks ugly! A lot of charts and data are displayed which makes me more confused, the design is outdated like really outdated. I think they should work more on the software side of both the tracker and the app.
The battery timing on the Flash HR is amazing, probably that the only good thing I really like about it. It just takes about 1:30-2 hours to charge from 0%-100% and lasts more than 7 days. Which means you won’t have the trouble of charging the band again and again in short periods. Though, the indicator in the screen itself doesn’t show you the percentage of the remaining battery so each time you have to go to the app in your phone so you can check it out.
Should you buy the NuBand Flash HR tracker? Well the answer is a straight forward No! As far as my experience went with the tracker for the last weeks, i used it mostly as a normal watch to check the time. Most of the data showcased by the app are irrelevant and inaccurate including sleep time, heart monitoring, burned calories… the software is sluggish and need a lot of improvement as well as the companion android app. And for a price of a 100 USD I believe you can get much more than that, compared to the Amazfit Arc , the Flash HR tracker has no spot in the fitness tracker market.
I was provided the Nuband Flash HR as a review sample. Head over Nuband website to know more about their products.