Ameya DalviAug 14, 2022 10:09:10 IST
Price: Rs 3,499
The budget fitness watch segment in India is quite crowded with a multitude of brands vying for a spot on your wrist. Watches priced under Rs 4,000 typically try to woo consumers considering a fitness band by offering features like a larger screen, additional sensors and more fitness modes for a small premium. Noise has recently thrown a couple of new options into the ring that hopes to make an impression.
We got our hands on the Noise ColorFit Pro 4 which offers some interesting features. After having used it for close to two weeks, it is time to tell you what impressed us and what needs to improve.
What we liked about the Noise ColorFit Pro 4:
Lightweight and comfortable to wear, multiple colour variants
The Noise ColorFit Pro 4 design is fairly generic with a standard rectangular frame and a physical button. The good part being the frame has a matte finish and doesn’t attract fingerprints or smudge marks. The Teal Blue variant that we got for review had a golden frame that may be a tad too jazzy for my taste but I am sure it will appeal to a younger crowd. And if it doesn’t, the company offers several interesting colour variants to choose from.
The polycarbonate shell makes the watch extremely light (24.2 grams) and the silicone straps do not cause skin irritation even after wearing the watch for an extended period of time. Given that the straps have a standard 22 mm width, they can be replaced with any third-party straps of the same width. The IP68 rating makes the watch dust and water-resistant, but not swim-proof. You can wear it outdoors in peak monsoon without worry; just don’t dive in the pool wearing it.
Simple UI with crown scrolling
The watch design may not be eye-catching but it does have one interesting element. The solitary physical button on the right edge has a tiny crown that serves multiple purposes. When pressed, it can turn on the screen or display the preloaded apps or also act as a home button when on a different screen. The crown can be used as a scroll wheel in different menus or to cycle through all the installed watch faces when on the home screen; a nice touch.
The user interface is simple and lag-free. You can swipe down on the home screen for settings and swipe up to check notifications. Swiping left or right takes you through the widgets like daily activity progress, heart rate, sleep data, SpO2 level etc. Swiping right on most screens (other than home) takes you to the previous screen, and as I mentioned, you can jump to the home screen from anywhere by pressing the physical button.
Direct calling feature
The Noise ColorFit Pro 4 also has calling functionality and you can place calls and have conversations directly from this watch courtesy of a built-in mic and speaker; you also get a dialer on the watch screen. Of course, the watch needs to be synced with your phone to route the call through. Similarly, you can answer or reject incoming calls on the watch too. The call quality is serviceable at best in a quieter place as the speaker isn’t too loud. It’s a cool feature to have nonetheless.
Sharp and lively display
The display is easily the standout feature of this watch. The Pro 4 has a 1.72-inch TFT-LCD display with a resolution of 356 x 400 pixels. Thanks to the 311 PPI pixel density, the screen is quite sharp and the colour reproduction is pretty good too. The company doesn’t mention any scratch-resistant glass or oleophobic coating on the screen, but I couldn’t spot any scratches after two weeks of usage. But smudge marks are visible on the screen and one needs to wipe them off periodically.
The company states a peak brightness level of 500 nits for the screen, and it is sufficiently bright indoors near the halfway mark. When outdoors under bright sunlight, you may need to push it closer to the maximum for better readability. Long story short, we did not face an issue with screen quality or brightness throughout the course of our testing.
Auto-detection of certain workouts
The Noise ColorFit Pro 4 can supposedly track 100 different workouts but they are mostly different variations of walking, running, cycling, free training and a few sports. The good part is the watch can auto-detect certain workouts, and prompts you about them. For instance, after using the treadmill for about 5 minutes, the watch asked if I was in the middle of a workout and to choose one from 3 or 4 options. Post that it also factored in the data from the first 5 minutes that it was tracking automatically. That’s quite smart!
The walks and runs are tracked with reasonable accuracy for a watch without GPS. Expect a 5% margin of error that is standard for the segment. You also get all-day heart rate monitoring with a frequency ranging from 5 minutes to an hour. This watch also has a SpO2 sensor to track your blood oxygen level. It does a fair job if you wear the watch tight enough. The readings are a point or two lower than over-the-counter oximeters, so don’t take them too seriously.
Decent battery life
To be honest, the battery life of this watch is one aspect that we neither liked nor disliked. The company touts a battery life of one week for the Noise ColorFit Pro 4, and we managed to get six full days out of it with a standard load. The good part is that it doesn’t over-commit, but six days for a watch without GPS is not a flattering figure. Several fitness watches in this price bracket easily manage to go past the 10 day mark comfortably. Again, though 6 days is not bad, Noise should look to aim higher.
What we did not like about the Noise ColorFit Pro 4:
Elementary companion app with very little data analysis
Before you start using this watch, you need to install the NoiseFit app on your phone or tablet and sync the watch with it. The app is a bit too elementary with very little analysis of the collected fitness data. It’s like the same basic info available on the watch is presented on a bigger screen. It does show you daily activity progress, previous workout data, heart rate chart, sleep data for the previous night and last measured SpO2 level.
Other than workout data, I don’t think it retains older data as you do not get any weekly or monthly analysis or reports. Yes, I am aware this is a budget watch but the competitors are doing a better job at similar price points. Also, I feel the watch has an extra gear but the shallow companion app holds it back. Something for the company to think about.
The calling feature is buggy at times
While the calling feature is good to have, it can be erratic at times, especially for incoming calls. The app pushes the incoming call alerts to the watch fine and you get options to accept, silence or reject incoming calls. At times, it would simply refuse to do anything despite tapping the buttons on the watch screen. This is something that the company can fix in their next software update if they wish to.
Certain features could have been implemented better
Similarly, there are a handful of features that could have been implemented smartly, for instance, sleep tracking. The company has taken the trouble to compute and provide the breakup of the quantum of deep sleep, light sleep and REM sleep, but it can store results only for the previous night. And I am not even talking about checking it on the watch, but I think it simply erases the older data at the stroke of midnight, and it is not even available in the app.
The other issue is with stress monitoring. It is great to see this feature on a budget watch but it doesn’t seem to track it automatically. There is also a dedicated widget for it on the watch but it wouldn’t do much. I had to manually take the measurement from time to time, which is of little use. The idea of having this feature is to monitor your stress levels throughout the day, and if it doesn’t do it automatically, it is almost pointless.
Just one slot on the watch for the watch-face of your choice
The company claims that there are over 150 watch faces for the ColorFit Pro 4, and that’s probably true. There is a more than decent spread to choose from, and I did happen to find half a dozen that I would have liked to use. My excitement ended there as this watch lets you store only one watch-face of your choice on the watch in addition to the pre-installed options that you can’t delete. Every time you transfer a new one from the app, the last uploaded face gets replaced. Also the upload speed is quite slow with each watch-face taking over a minute to get transferred to the watch.
Price, verdict and alternatives:
The Noise ColorFit Pro 4 can be purchased for Rs 3,499 with a one year warranty. The price is reasonable for what it offers, and it does have a couple of cool features like a sharp display, calling and crown scrolling. At the same time, there are certain shortcomings that are hard to overlook. The overly basic app does it no favours either. To make life tougher for this Noise watch, this is a competitive segment and you get better alternatives under Rs 4,000.
Our top pick in this segment is the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro that can be picked for just Rs 500 more but it packs a lot of extra and useful features. You get built-in GPS, twice the battery backup, 5ATM water resistance that makes it swim-proof, and most importantly, the Zepp app that is head and shoulders above NoiseFit in terms of features and data analysis.
For similar features as the Pro 4, but with an even bigger and better display, you can also consider the Boat Watch Primia that we recently reviewed. You get an excellent round AMOLED display if you prefer that form factor, and the watch has a higher style quotient too. With the availability of better options at a similar price point, the Noise ColorFit Pro 4 is a little hard to recommend.