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Smartron t.band review: A worthy entry into the wearable-device market

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 5 July 2018, 17:36 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

The budget wearable-device market (those under Rs 5,000) is stacked with products offering identical features -- mostly equally inaccurate when it comes to tracking steps. Factors that differentiate them are screen sizes, overall design and comfort.

The newest model to jostle for market share is Smartron's t.band. Smartron is among the few players thinking out of the box. The company isn't exactly focusing on the fitness side of things. Instead, its attention is more on the health aspects. Besides the usual tracking of steps, sleep and heart rate, the t.band can track your blood pressure and electrocardiography (ECG). This differentiator, a first for the segment, will help lift the sales of the t.band for Smartron.

I used the band for three weeks and came out fairly impressed. The t.band comes with an OLED display, heart rate monitor, IP67 rating, ECG and BP monitoring, activity tracker and swappable bands (there is a bundled brown colour leather band).

Smartron is known for its smartphones and now laptops, but the t.band will give it a commendable entry into the wearables market. The t.band isn't a charmer. It isn't sleek. It isn't designed to impress. The t.band is a simple looking fitness band. Though the bands are swappable, Smartron has not released any funky or crazy colours. The t.band comes with a soft black strap and can be changed to the brown leather strap included in the box.

There is a 0.96-inch OLED display that is good indoors but it's a struggle to read it in the sun. The whole band feels rugged and solid but isn't much comfort for long periods. The t.band comes with no physical buttons and the screen isn't touch-enabled. One needs to tap the metal sensor next to the screen to toggle through the various screens.

The t.band is a little bit thick compared to the likes of Mi Band. It isn't heavy but neither is it light. The band is waterproof up to 1 metre, but just consider it splashproof. This band cannot be taken into the pool.

Pairing is done via Bluetooth and is fairly easy. The t.band works with both iOS and Android.

The basics of step counter, distance and sleep tracker are strictly average. The readings are close to what you'd get from a smartphone app but aren't exactly accurate. Then again, neither are any of the other bands in this price range. They all merrily count steps even when you're sitting in the back seat of a car. The t.band also doubles up as an alarm and sends alerts for inactivity. If one pairs it with a smartphone, then it can be used as alerts for calls and messages.

The battery backup is lower than the competition but those bands don't have the BP or heart rate sensor. In my daily usage, it lasted me a maximum of two days. By the third morning, this had to be put for a charge. Charging is very simple with the magnetic charging dock that comes with the band.

The crowning jewel of the t.band is blood pressure monitor. The front uses ECG electrodes while the back uses PPG electrodes. They combine to measure PWTT (pulse wave transit time). Essentially, it measures sudden changes in blood pressure.

The PPG electrodes are the first to light up. They illuminate the skin and check for changes in light absorption. This determines fluctuations in blood volume. All the consumer has to do is place their finger on the front facing sensor with any movement.

The blood pressure readings are close enough to a proper blood pressure machine, which is good news for both Smatron and consumers.

Heart rate sensors in fitness bands are not anything new but there is only one other band that can measure blood pressure in this price range.

With decent fitness features and a differentiator in having a blood pressure monitor, Smartron's t.band is a worthy entry into the wearables market.

First published: 5 July 2018, 17:36 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.