So here’s the Wellograph Sapphire Wellness Watch, first unveiled at CES 2014 earlier this year. When it came out, it was touted as sleek and stylish, and the first tracker with a sapphire screen (which shows in the high price tag). Finally, the people had a choice of a fitness tracker that didn’t look like a toy. As for its fitness capabilities, it’s got a basic set of features, including a motion sensor and heart rate monitor. So does it live up to its name and graph your wellness? Tune in and find out!
Cardio: The Wellograph has a basic system of tracking your jogs. There’s a screen on the watch to display distance travelled during a workout. You can choose to show your pace, speed, or calories burned. It’s a nice feature that helps distract me every once in a while from the pain as my body screams for more oxygen. It updates live by-the-second, and seems to represent some average of the last few seconds in time.
In terms of accuracy, however, the measurements weren’t entirely up to par. For example, one of my runs was measured 7 km on a map, but the watch registered 4.5 km. On another, I ran 2.4 km according to the map, but the watch registered 1.55 km. It seems to consistently underestimate my runs (roughly 66% of the actual distance), but perhaps I just have a long stride length. So like all wrist trackers, this is personalized to the wearer and you’ll have to scale your own workouts to compare accordingly.
Heart Rate Monitor: On the backside of the watch are three green LEDs and a sensor. Setting the watch to Pulse Mode displays a light show where the LEDs fire repeatedly and the sensor actively takes readings. This is fairly accurate in my experience, with a reading that pops out after 10-15 seconds of recording. The downside is that you pretty much have to be completely stationary for it to work. Even walking with my wrist raised and stabilized would set off the vibration detection feature and pause the recording until I stopped moving.
A nice feature is that it automatically takes readings throughout the day. According to Wellograph, it takes a reading every 10 minutes, and if there’s too much motion, it retries after 1 minute until it’s successful. In a day, the Wellograph might pick up over 100 readings of my pulse to get an accurate measurement.
Pedometer: The Wellograph works like a charm when I’m walking normally. So if I’m walking along the street and count 50 steps, I can be sure it’ll count 50 with me. When I’m resting, I can wave my hands around and it generally won’t pick it up as a step, but I’ve caught the pedometer clicking upwards from hand motion here and there, especially if it’s a repetitive action. If I pronate/supinate my wrist back and forth, it’ll start picking up steps after about 6 cycles. If I’m at my desk for a morning, it might rack up an extra 200. Overall, it works fairly well and is a fair indication of my amount of activity throughout a day.
Hardware: The design is the main strength of this activity tracker. A stylish, sleek, minimalist piece, the Wellograph is appropriate for most social engagements. A stainless steel frame sits on top of the anodized aluminum backing, and the face of the watch is topped by a rounded piece of sapphire crystal. Two large buttons sit on the distal edge of the watch for navigation of menus. These layers all piece together aesthetically, and overall, it looks almost Apple-esque (even the packaging felt pristine). The brown leather strap has a nice stainless steel clasp that complements the piece well.
On the downside, it’s too thick – at 12.5 mm, the watch feels a little chunky, and because it protrudes so much from my wrist, I’ve smacked it off a few walls and the undersides of tables on the first few days of getting used to it. Good thing the face is made of sapphire, or this review may have been all about the scratches it’s picked up. To test out the strength of the sapphire, I took to it with keys, metal nails, and corners of concrete walls, pressing with considerable force. At the end of it all, it was still shiny and smooth as ever with no visible scratches in any light. Quite a frustrating experience trying to destroy something that wouldn’t give. But also so satisfying to see something stay in pristine condition after putting it through a solid roughing.
Now for the face itself. The bezels look too large for my liking – especially the top edge, which is almost twice the width of the other three sides. The design of both the analog and digital clock on the LCD feels too plain and out of place with the hardware. The recent firmware update gives the watch a new face, which I took a liking to immediately. Time, date, and steps taken, are displayed in clean, thin letters.
The poor viewing angle needs a mention. There are times when I want to check the time with a quick inconspicuous glance, and while wearing the Wellograph, I’ve noticed on a few occasions that when my hands are in my lap or on the table, I can’t see the time unless I really rotate the face towards me. The total viewing angle in both directions is probably a combined 120 degrees. This isn’t a dealbreaker, as I can compensate by practicing my fake-yawn-and-check-the-time manoeuvre, but its is still a definite annoyance.
The Wellograph is advertised with a 7-day charge, and it holds true to that promise. Once I had streamlined the watch into my routine and was not playing with it every 10 minutes, I found myself only needing to dock it to charge on the weekend.
Software and App: The Wellograph has undergone three firmware updates and an app update since I’ve received it. Each time the performance gets a little better, and they’ve just added a new home screen to show the time, which I find cleaner, and which shows more information (steps are now added) than the original two.
The app itself is clean, smooth, and intuitive. You can check your activity (step tracking) and your heart data (heart rate monitoring) and scroll between Day, Week, Month, and Overall views. One downside is that the app only allows display of heart rate data over the current week or month. So when it’s Sunday, the previous week’s data is wiped, and I’m left with an empty Week view. At the beginning of the month, the graph also resets and is empty again until a few more days are recorded. It really would be nice to be able to scroll to previous records. The Sessions menu graphs your workouts and shows you how hard you worked over time in an aesthetically-pleasing graph and various stats. I’ve discovered that the app crashes when I try to sync a workout in Lap mode, but the customer service at Wellograph has been quick to reply so far, and they promise an app update to fix the issue in the near future.
Wrap-up: Overall, I like wearing the Wellograph on a day-to-day basis. On the plus side, it has a stylish design that’s not seen in many fitness trackers, a sapphire screen to prevent blemishes, and accurate pedometer and heart rate monitor. However, the $350 pricetag, the clunkiness, and inaccuracy while tracking workouts and distances leaves a bit more to be desired. You’d expect more from a fitness tracking watch with this price, but the Wellograph is designed for its looks, and really, who can put a price tag on getting compliments at the water cooler? All-in-all, the Wellograph is a stylish digital watch with basic fitness capabilities.
Product page: Wellograph…