The Verge Reviews the Withings Activité ➝

David Pierce:

It’s one part standard wristwatch, one part fitness tracker. It tracks your sleep, steps, and activity. It costs $450. It’s beautiful: made of carefully machined sapphire, calf leather, and stainless steel. It looks like a watch in the most traditional sense.

It’s exactly what you think it is, exactly what it should be. It’s not the future of smartwatches — it’s not even a smartwatch. It’s just a watch, with more in common with century-old chronographs and calculator watches than the Apple Watch. And the Activité, or something like it, is almost certainly the future of watches.

I’ve never really worn a watch — my entire adult life I’ve had a cell phone in my front-left pocket and don’t understand why anyone would wear something around their wrist that does what their smartphone already does. And, the difference between turning my wrist and pulling my phone out of my pocket isn’t large enough to warrant the cost of a smartwatch (both in terms of monetary cost and time spent managing the device).

But watches shouldn’t be about features, they should be pieces of jewelry that are meant to be worn for their looks. If I was ever going to wear a watch, this is pretty close to what I would want in a smartwatch. I would wear it, not because of what it can do, but because of how it looks. It would be a fashion accessory, not something meant to be fiddled with for several minutes every hour or two.

It doesn’t have to be charged every day, it doesn’t beat you over the head with a long list of features, and it doesn’t steal your attention from social situations with a bunch of notifications. It’s simple, just some sensors and a beautifully made time piece. It’s exactly what a smartwatch should be.