With more people getting health-conscious, fitness trackers are getting very popular. Although certain brands such as Fitbit, Garmin and Jawbone dominate the market, a definite impact has been made by affordable options such as the Rs 1,995 Xiaomi Mi Band 2. And when you consider that you can buy an excellent smartphone for around Rs 10,000 today, those affordable options look even more attractive.
Designed to take on the affordable fitness tracker market is the Fastrack Reflex. Priced at Rs 1,995, the Reflex is designed with Fastrack’s typical brand positioning in mind; it’s a budget tracker with a bit in it for the fashion-conscious. I’ve spent a few days with the Fastrack Reflex, and here’s my review.
Stylish, but in a typical way
Titan’s Fastrack brand is typically a budget offering targeted at consumers in the 17-25 age bracket, and has certain points of appeal in this regard. I wouldn’t shy away from calling the styling ‘funky’, and this is something that the Fastrack brand takes very seriously. This youth-centric image also makes fitness trackers a very sensible department for Fastrack to take on, and it makes sense that the Titan-owned brand would try its hand at technology wearables with this.
Similar to the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, the Fastrack Reflex features a capsule encased within a rubber strap. The strap itself is dual-tone, and our sample unit featured an interesting combination of blue on the outside and orange on the inside. Wearing it is easy; loop it through the gap and fix the two notches in. The notch itself has Fastrack branding, and you can also find the Fastrack logo at the top of the strap near the tracker capsule. The look can safely be called youthful and exuberant, but it certainly feels a level below the premium looks on offer when you buy a Fitbit fitness tracker.
The tracking capsule itself is small and, well, capsule-like. The top has a simple LED screen, which isn’t touch-sensitive. There is, however, a small portion on the top which serves as a touch button, which activates the screen and lets you scroll through the various display options that show you your fitness information. The bottom of the capsule leads to a USB type-A plug, allowing you to charge the device by directly plugging it into a computer or mobile charger.
Since the capsule fits into the wristband in only one particular way, you will have to make sure you wear the band the way you prefer the orientation. Additionally, there’s no way to set the band to display information vertically; you will have to hold your wrist a particular way to be able to easily read what’s on the screen. This is unfortunate, as a vertical visibility mode would have made the device a lot easier to use.
The most basic offering of any fitness tracker is counting steps, and this is something that the Fastrack Reflex is geared around. Tracking is basic, and accurate to a certain degree. There isn’t much of a problem with ‘ghost’ steps; and step counting is mostly accurate to within a few hundred steps here or there. There is also calorie-burn tracking and distance tracking, but these are calculated purely based on the number of steps you’ve taken, and figures displayed aren’t necessarily too accurate, considering they’ve been calculated by an algorithm rather than concrete fitness data.
There’s also sleep tracking, but this needs you to manually input the hours that you will be asleep to trigger the tracker to analyze movement data and rate your sleep. Additionally, you need to turn on auto-sleep tracking, as the band doesn’t do this on its own. If you toss and turn a lot in your sleep, this may turn out to be a bit inaccurate, and as such I wasn’t too impressed with the Reflex’s sleep tracking.
There’s also very rudimentary smart functionality, with the Fastrack Reflex able to show you caller ID when you’re receiving a call on your paired phone, along with support for showing notifications. While the former works as advertised, I wasn’t able to get a proper show of notifications when they popped up, and the counter for notifications is inaccurate at all times. Still, the caller ID alone means that there’s enough on offer here to classify the Reflex as a hybrid between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker.
Additionally, you can also set vibration alarms through the app, as well as set the Reflex reminder, which reminds you to get up and stretch your legs a bit if you’ve been inactive for too long. Battery life is claimed to be 10-12 days on a full charge, and during our time with the device it certainly seems that the Reflex can run for that long between charges.
Flaws in the app
As with all fitness trackers, the Fastrack Reflex comes with an app that lets you connect your phone to view and analyze data, as well as control certain aspects of the device. The Fastrack Reflex app is available for download on Android and iOS, and uses Bluetooth to maintain the connection between the phone and the Reflex. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very good app, for a number of reasons.
The primary reason for this is the lack of stability in maintaining the connection between the phone and the app. On my OnePlus 3, the Reflex could not continuously hold a stable connection, which affected the device’s caller ID capabilities. Often, rebooting the phone would fix the issue for some time, but the problem would often start again if you took the tracker out of the phone’s Bluetooth range, and would constantly have to reconnect. This is particularly annoying because this causes the band to keep buzzing when it re-establishes a connection, and sometimes displays a ‘connection successful’ message on your phone’s screen continuously, which obviously gets in the way of your using the phone.
If you do manage to get a stable connection going, the device synchronizes data fairly easily and lets you quickly adjust settings and functions. You can view all of your fitness and sleep details on easy-to-read graphs, and records are maintained by date so you can even go back and see how you’ve been doing. However, on the whole, the app was far too bothersome and disruptive, and certainly needs a lot of work in the form of development and bug-fixes.
The Fastrack Reflex has a few key advantages in its favor, the biggest of which are looks and price. It sticks to the Fastrack philosophy of funky looks, and will certainly appeal to the brand’s typical demographic. And although it doesn’t quite compete with parent company Titan’s Juxt Pro in terms of capabilities, it’s definitely more affordable. At its price of Rs 1,995, the Fastrack Reflex offers about as much as you can expect for the price.
Although the identically priced Mi Band 2 also offers a heart rate sensor, the Fastrack Reflex has the advantage of easier availability through brick-and-mortar stores as well as online retailers, and I daresay it looks better too. It does its basic job of fitness and sleep tracking as advertised, and although some flaws exist in the app and the device does not track sleep automatically, it’s still a decent product to try out, considering the price. This is a good entry point into tracking your fitness and sleep, and worth a try for its funky looks and affordable pricing.