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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Syska SW-100 review: Big-screen watch now more affordable

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The smart wearables category has exploded unlike any other product segment in India. Whether you have an unlimited budget or just a few bucks to spare, chances are there’s something for you. Syska, after venturing into smart bulbs, has now come with a smartwatch. It’s called the SW-100 (sounds like a robot from the movie “Terminator”) and costs Rs 2,499. It looks a lot like the Amazfit Bip S Lite and is very close to it in terms of functionality. Also Read – Amazfit Bip S Lite smartwatch review: Good fitness tracker under Rs 5,000

The SW-100 looks interesting on paper and for someone seeking a large screen wearable, it definitely draws attention. It also has fitness tracking functions and long battery life. However, for similar prices, you will find other fitness trackers with more-or-less similar features. Hence, does the Syska SW-100 make a special case for itself or simply blends with the others? Let’s find out. Also Read – Noise Colorfit Nav smartwatch launched in India: Check details

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Apes an Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is the gold standard for smartwatch design and that’s why everyone tries to copy it. Syska pulls off a similar design with a squarish dial complemented by a curved frame. There’s no button to the sides and all you get is a touch button on the display. The touch button makes for a chunky bezel at the bottom, making it look odd. Additionally, the small circular marking makes it feel obsolete. Also Read – Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Review: This is how you improve a perfect device

The display itself is a 1.3-inch LCD unit and for the most part, it does its job fairly well. The screen looks colorful and the text appears sharp. Syska has chosen nice fonts to complement the minimalist UI. However, brightness levels are not enough under direct sunlight, making it difficult to see the content on the display.

Moving ahead, the watch has a plastic body that’s nicely shaped to hide the optical sensor bulge at the bottom. The sensor here is present for heart-rate tracking. The straps on either side can be detached in case you need to replace the current one. The straps are made of rubber and for the most part, are comfortable on the wrists. The presence of IP68 water resistance is a peace of mind in the sweaty Indian weather.

Lots of fitness functions

One of the reasons you may consider buying the Syska SW-100 is for fitness tracking. The SW-100 comes with 11 sports tracking modes, including running, walking, elliptical trainer, yoga and more. All of these modes rely on the heart rate sensor as well as the accelerometer on-device to come up with activity data.

I am no fitness freak and the only activity I do mostly is walking. Hence, I strapped on the watch and went out for a short walk around my society. For most of my sessions, the tracking came up with relatable data to a Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro. The step count was fairly correct and with the additional miles as well as time tracking, it made for a decent overview of my sessions. The heart rate was on par with what I saw from a Mi Band 4 and a Gear Fit 2 Pro. Hence, you can rely on the data from the band.

Syska SW-100

There’s a breathing mode too that guides you to breathe calmly with a cute on-screen animation. This mode also tracks your heart rate and presents with data on the mobile app.

Speaking of the app, Syska has a SYSKA Fit app available for both Android and iOS. The app is neatly laid out and allows for a few additional settings for the watch. Fitness is a major function though and there are two tabs dedicated to it. The Homepage shows a summary of all activity data, sleep and heart rate. There’s also a My Day section that collects all the activities into a mini timeline-like view. It is here when I started to see the shortcomings of the SW-100.

While the heart rate and steps tracking need a medical device to see the accuracy, sleep tracking is far easier to figure out. The SW-100 has irregular sleep tracking and often comes up with false data. For example, I kept it on the desk for an hour while eating and the watch recorded it as sleeping. Even while wearing at night, the distinction between sleep modes was inaccurate. Maybe Syska needs to fix this with a software update.

Not that smart

Although Syska terms the SW-100 as a smartwatch, it is, by all means, a fitness tracker with a large display. The OS on the watch is basic and is nicely laid out. The UI is minimalist and it’s not as laggy as the Amazfit smartwatches. I also liked the colorful icons and legible fonts. The one-button navigation is easy to grasp and quicker to open the modes on the move. Sadly, that’s where the niceties end.

The SW-100 allows for custom watch faces and by default, you can choose between four. There’s a fifth one that lets you choose your own wallpaper via the app. However, I wish the app allowed for more custom watch faces to make use of the large display.

Syska SW-100

Secondly, there’s the issue with notifications. The SW-100 can show notifications from limited system apps as well as this-party apps. I was able to see WhatsApp message contents on the watch but the small font made it difficult to read easily. The same tends for Messages and other app notifications. However, with Gmail or other email apps, you can read the subject of the mail. Hence, all it shows is a small text notifying you of an email. Additionally, there’s no way to reply to a text message.

The watch is only able to show a single notification at a time. If you get other notifications, the watch just vibrates but you can’t see them. Moreover, you cannot see previous notifications on the watch. This is a missed opportunity for Syska given the large display this watch has.

Syska SW-100 lasts long

Syska SW-100

Syska promises a long battery life of 15 days on a single charge with the heart rate tracking set to automatic. In my usage, I managed to get an equal figure for stamina. It lasted me for almost two weeks with regular outdoor walks and heart rate tracking. The watch comes with a magnetic dock-style charger and it takes almost two hours for a full refill. I was impressed with the battery life given its large color display and the heart rate tracking.

Syska SW-100: Should you buy it?

On the whole, Syska has got a lot of things right with the SW-100 in its first attempt at a fitness tracker. It has got a big display with a good user interface, a decent amount of health tracking modes and a well-laid-out app. It looks good too and with the 2-week battery life, it appeals further. Moreover, at a price of Rs 2,499, it feels like a reasonable deal for a basic fitness tracker with a large display.

Mi Band 5 vs Mi Band 4 fitness band: Price, specifications compared

However, if you want a feature-packed fitness tracker for less than Rs 3,000, there are several good options at lower prices. The Mi Band 4 for almost the same price offers more accurate fitness tracking and sleeker design. The Realme Band at Rs 1,299 offers a similar proposition at a much lower price. The Noise ColorFit Pro is another similar package at a similar price. The Syska SW-100 is a good option in this range but does not bring anything new to the table. Hence, it all depends on whether the SW-100 catches your fancy. If it does, you will be happy for what you get given the price of Rs 2,499.





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