Lenovo is known for its powerful laptops, affordable tablets and extremely efficient desktops and workstations. Of late, it has also become a recognisable brand for smartphones, sold under the Lenovo brand as well as Moto brand. Now the company is pushing into the wearable markets. In India, it launched its very first fitness trackers — HX03 Cardio and HX03F Spectra — in April this year.
While the Lenovo Lenovo HX03 Cardio with its 0.87-inch OLED display and intelligent alarm clock is priced at Rs 1,999, the Lenovo HX03F Spectra with its larger 0.96-inch TFT display, IP68 waterproof design and real-time heart rate monitoring is available for Rs 2,999.
This review is for the Lenovo HX03F, the more versatile of the two fitness trackers. Although, before anything else let me say this: This is a feature-rich fitness band, but it is also boring. The design is ordinary, like most of the wannabe Fitbit-like fitness trackers available on the e-retail websites. Now that this bit is out and I have made my peace with the boring looks of the Lenovo HX03F, let me talk of what it offers. And it actually offers a lot. On paper.
In practice, while it does justify its price occasionally, it also falters on some crucial parameters. And that could be an issue because even though the HX03F Spectra will give you a general overview of your physical activity, you will learn to not completely rely on it.
Setting up Lenovo HX03F Spectra-
Setting up the Lenovo HX03F Spectra is easy. The device is compatible with both Android phones and the iPhone, which means you don’t have to burn a 30-grand hole in your pocket by buying an Apple Watch. All you need to do is download Lenovo Healthy app from Google Play Store or App Store and follow these simple steps:
1. Sign into the Lenovo Healthy app and add your profile details such as your name, age, gender, height, weight and your target weight.
2. Turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone and then turn on the fitness band by long pressing the circular button on the screen.
3. Next, search for the fitness band in your Lenovo app. Once you do so, it will automatically sync the fitness tracker with your app.
The Lenovo HX03F Spectra is loaded with features. In fact, it is the most feature-rich fitness tracker in this price bracket, considering it also offers sleep tracking.
Once you have synced the fitness band with the app, tap on the device in the app to set features such as goal reminder, which keeps you informed about your daily target, sedentary reminder, which reminds you when you have been inactive for a long time, smart reminder, which gives you notification for calls, SMSs, Emails, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Skype among other, and alarm clock. Once you have set all the features, you are good to go.
Boring design. Again
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing new or unique about the design of the Lenovo HX03F Spectra. In fact, Lenovo Spectra will remind you of one of the earliest offerings by Fitbit, that is, Fitbit Alta which comes with a hefty price tag of Rs 12,999. The Spectra has the same vertically-placed OLED display that is characteristic of Fitbit Alta. However, the curved edges and the silicone strap do give it a more natural look than the Fitbit fitness tracker, but the build quality, the feel of the materials used to make it, and the finishing is decidedly keeping in line with its price. In other words, good enough but definitely not something that will feel premium, although at this price point it is not fair to expect a gadget that is jewel like some of the Fitbit or Samsung bands.
The Spectra is a lightweight tracking device, and that is exactly how I like the fitness bands. They are supposed to be worn 24X7 and because the Spectra is so light I can comfortably do so. On the wrist it also feels better against the skin compared to some of the cheaper bands, most notably the one from Xiaomi.
I reviewed the Spectra that had a dull black strap. But if you want a dash of colour on your wrist, you can look at other options. Lenovo offers the fitness tracker in three other peppy colours including tangerine, blue and red.
Good sleep tracking
First the good part: The Lenovo HX03F Spectra is loaded with features. In fact, it is the most feature-rich fitness tracker in this price bracket, considering it also offers sleep tracking.
But before we talk of more goodness, a few words about the display of Spectra. As mentioned earlier, Lenovo Spectra comes with a 0.96-inch OLED display. The screen essentially has five cards that you can swipe through. These show clock, the heart rate monitor, step count, information screen and a sports mode for tracking all your vitals while you are working out.
The clock can be customized in five different ways. And depending on what you are tracking, the screen of the fitness tracker can be adjusted to show time and the heart rate in the sports mode and step count and calories burnt in the general mode. You can also track your heart rate on the screen by tapping on the round on-screen button. While the wearable is extremely simple to use, my only gripe with the device is that its display isn’t bright enough when you are out in the sun. In my week-long experience with the device, looking for time on the screen even in moderate sunlight was difficult. It is clear that display is one area where Lenovo has cut some corners in a bid to keep the price of the product affordable.
Lenovo Spectra monitors heart rate continuously, detailed record of which can be found on the Lenovo Healthy App. Unfortunately, the heart-rate monitoring is not very precise
As far as the smart features are concerned, Lenovo HX03F Spectra gives you notifications about incoming calls, SMSs, WhatsApp messages, and Facebook and Twitter notifications among other things. And when it comes to messages, it basically relays the entire message from your phone to your fitness tracker which is again a problem. The messages are shown horizontally on the screen, which means you literally have to twist your arm (or perhaps your head) to read the message. Personally, for me, this wasn’t a good experience. I would rather read the message vertically along the lines of the clock. Although, if it becomes too much you can turn off the notifications if you are not comfortable reading them on the screen.
But display quirks aside, the Spectra is a decent tracker, even if it is not always consistent. Lenovo, while launching the fitness tracker back in April, had said that it monitors your heart beat 24 hours a day in 15-minute interval. And true to its words, Lenovo Spectra does monitor your heart rate continuously, detailed record of which can be found on the Lenovo Healthy App. Unfortunately, the heart-rate monitoring is not very precise. When I used the Spectra, most of the time it showed lower reading than what I got with the heart rate monitor built in the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the phone reading was closer to my actual heart rate. Another issue that I found with the device was with the accuracy of its pedometer. When I compared the steps walked with the ones recorded on my phone, the numbers were completely off the mark most of the times.
Still, I would not dismiss the Spectra. Even some heart rate monitoring can give you a hint of how hard you are working out or jogging and it can be useful for finding out a general trend in how your heart beats during exercise.
Despite the constant monitoring, Lenovo fitness tracker gives decent battery backup of 6-7 days depending on your usage. If you are not a fitness freak, just like me, Lenovo Spectra will serve you without any hiccups for 7 days on a single charge. But if you enjoy going out on a run every day and tracking your fitness level, the battery will last probably a day less than the regular usage.
Another interesting feature of the Lenovo fitness band is its sleep tracking system. Lenovo Spectra tracks your sleeping pattern and gives you precise details of when you were in a state of deep sleep, when you were sleeping lightly and the what time you woke up. This can be particularly useful when you are trying to correct your sleeping habits. Not only it is surprising to get this feature in a fitness band that is this affordable, but an even more impressive bit about sleep tracking in the Spectra is that it is fairly accurate.
Another helpful feature on board Lenovo Spectra is its alarm clock called the “anti-sleep alarm” that can be set using the Lenovo Healthy app. Unlike all other alarms that wake you up with scary screeching sounds, this one wakes you up with a gentle nudge by vibrating on your wrist.
Is HX03F Spectra worth buying?
The answer is simple: No.
Although, if you want to get a general sense of physical activity, including your heart rate monitoring, the HX03F Spectra is an affordable option. It is also quite good at tracking sleep.
As mentioned earlier, the Spectra is comfortable to wear and easy to use. But it is not always very accurate. So, if you are planning to gift your parents or your spouse a fitness tracking band anytime, I would suggest that you get this one only if you want sleep tracking feature. Otherwise the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is cheaper and I believe more precise in counting steps, and so for the matter is most likely your phone which will also accurately track steps or jogging sessions.
At a price of Rs 2,999, the Lenovo HX03F Spectra offers value for money. But nothing more than that.
Lenovo HX03F Spectra review-7/10
Easy to Use