Lenovo Ego Smartwatch HX07 Review has a design similar to that of Casio G-Shock.
It comes with battery life that is amongst the best in this price segment.
The fitness tracking data is not the most accurate among fitness wearables.
Wearables were once supposed to take the industry by storm, but they hardly caught the attention of consumers. Their failure as a consumer electronics device can be owed to their lack of strong features and inability to transform into a must have device. The most successful wearable till date is the Apple Watch but its install base is small when compared to over a billion active devices running iOS.
It is also important to note that it took Apple more than two years to make Apple Watch a must have companion device for iPhone. While wearables struggled to gain mass appeal in their first few years, they are now becoming a consumer electronics device that consumers are picking up from retail shelves. Their newfound success is evident in a recent report by Counterpoint Research, which shows that global smartwatch shipments grew by 48 percent year-over-year during the first quarter.
This renewed interest and demand for wearables in general and smartwatches in particular could be owed to introduction of several low-cost devices from brands like Mobvoi and Huami. While Apple and Samsung are the leader in the wearable segment, Huami and Mobvoi with their cost-effective devices are making a wave in the market.
Lenovo, the leader in the PC segment, wants to take a bite of that segment, especially in a market like India. The company has launched Lenovo Ego Smartwatch HX07 in India at Rs 1,999 and here is our review, taking a look at its features and whether it makes a potent competitor to Xiaomi Mi Band 3 and Honor Band 3.
Design and Display
Lenovo Ego Smartwatch HX07 is basically an amalgamation of a watch and a fitness tracker. It is designed like a smartwatch but does the work of a fitness tracker. In order to design the Ego, Lenovo didn’t seem to have looked much further than Japanese watchmaker Casio. Casio G-Shock is one of the most successful wrist watch of all time and its legends cannot be conveyed in mere words. Lenovo Ego looks just like G-Shock. I am not a G-Shock person, but I own Casio’s Edifice series and on the first day, I went to see friends wearing Lenovo Ego, the first question was when I bought the G-Shock.
From a distance, it looks identical to Casio G-Shock with a thick chassis and rugged look. In fact, the Ego comes in black, which is one of the trademarks colors of G-Shock. It also has four pushers, two on either side, like the G-Shock. There is also a buckle strap finished in the same color as that of the watch face. The real difference between Lenovo Ego and Casio G-Shock comes to view when you look at the display and the underside of the watch. The back is bolted to the chassis with the help of four screws and houses the heart-rate sensor. The display does not just display time, but also shows other fitness parameters.
The similarity between Casio G-Shock and Lenovo Ego starts and ends at the design of the watch and in some ways, I think Lenovo was wise enough to copy the good bits. The display, as one would expect from a hybrid smartwatch, is a monochrome one, that shows date, time and heart rate in the main screen. In order to see additional data like step count, distance, calories burnt and sleep time, you need to push the button at the top right called Mode. Other buttons have specific functions as well. There is a Start button, which is used to start the smartwatch while the buttons labelled Reset and Light are useful to reset the device and see the watch in dark using light. The display measures 42mm in diameter, which falls on the larger side of watch faces and if you have a tiny wrist, then it won’t look natural.
The labels are marked in yellow color, which adds nice contrast to the black frame of the smartwatch. There are also big indicators marked as “N”, “S”, “W” and “E” giving the watch the style of a sports watch. The design is refreshing against offering from lifestyle brands like Fossil, Skagen and others. While it looks like a G-Shock, it does not like one when you wear it. There is extensive use of plastic, which does not give a premium feel and the plastic strap sits too close to the wrist, and leaves mark and can even get itchy after a point.
The buckle strap does not seem replaceable, which leaves out the opportunity to install a better-quality strap. In a nutshell, I have mixed feelings about this design. While I like the overall design elements even though it is inspired by Casio, the strap does not give happy feelings and it is important since you will be wearing this one on your wrist all day.
How does it work?
The Lenovo Ego Smartwatch HX07 works well as a watch. The display is adequately bright under direct sunlight and the font is easy to read time, date or heart rate on its 42mm face. Lenovo could have devised a more intuitive way to look for other data like step count and sleep time. Pushing the mode button to go through these values is not easy and at least one occasion, I found myself accidentally push the Reset button and thus lose data for several days of activity in the past. However, when it comes to tracking of individual parameters, it does remarkably well.
It is accurate when it comes to tracking step. For reference, I tested the step count by wearing the Lenovo Ego Smartwatch on my left hand and a Garmin fitness tracker on the right. They both measured almost identical number of steps and the difference was too small to be ignored. I have seen between 1 and 5 percent difference in values with other wearables that cost less than Rs 5,000. If all you need to do is track steps, then you don’t even need a smartwatch or fitness tracker. All you need is a smartphone and an app like Google Fit, or a native service found on most Chinese smartphones.
Where the watch differs from gyroscope and accelerometer-based tracking on phones is that these step count tend to be more accurate. While it does track steps with fair amount of accuracy, it misses out on calculating elevation. More calories are burned while climbing stairs than while walking on a flat surface and while Xiaomi Mi Band 3 and Honor Band 4 in this price segment also lack this feature, Lenovo could have added that to set itself apart.
Like other trackers, it uses step count to display two additional information: distance traveled, and calories burnt. This information can vary across wearables and none of them can be described as 100 percent accurate. It also monitors sleep, and this is an area where I found the data to be both good and lacking at the same time.
It tracks sleep and displays the information on the watch itself but there were times when the app recorded the data, but watch did not display it. For instance, the app shows that I slept for six hours and 43 minutes last night, but the watch shows 0:00 hours as bed time. It breaks down sleep information into deep sleep, light sleep and awake times, giving you a fair understanding of your sleep cycle and helps you get better sleep. It also records heart rate in real-time and sends the data to the app every five minutes.
I saw a clear difference between the heart rate measured by Lenovo Ego smartwatch, a Garmin Forerunner model and that measured by Honor Band 4. The heart rate measured by Lenovo Ego was often on the higher side and crossed the 100 beats per minute multiple times.
For an adult, the resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute and the elevated levels recorded by Lenovo’s smartwatch is a concern. The most accurate way to record heart rate is to use ECG-based chest straps, worn by runners and athletes, but the data offered by these cheap wearables are not the most accurate representation of your physical health.
Watch: Android Q First Look
Lenovo Life App, Connectivity and Battery Life
Lenovo Ego Smartwatch HX07 connects with your smartphone with the help of Lenovo Life app. The app is also the central place to see all data including some of the fitness parameters. The main screen of the app shows a dial giving a look into your step count and starts syncing with the wearable as soon as you open the app. There is almost no lag between the smartphone and smartwatch, and it shows data such as calories burnt, and distance walked below the ring.
That data is followed by body records, mainly weight and you can pair the app with a Lenovo digital scale to automatically record your weight. Next data in the app is average heart rate and then it shows sleep data, not in the form of hours, rather in the form of a guidance. Since I have been sleeping less than 7 hours every day, the app always showed me the message “Need more rest” as can be seen in the above screenshot.
Below there are four navigation buttons. First is home, which shows the above data and is followed by a discover option allowing you to track your run, look for inspirational posts that motivate you to exercise and create a plan for fitness activity. Honestly, I was never inspired to engage in any fitness activity despite reading number of posts on the discover section. It is followed by a social engagement platform called Circles, where you can see what other people are up to and look at other Lenovo products. The last section, called Profile, is an important one. It lets you see your account details, connection with the wearable, battery life and other options. Two options that particularly stand out are option to locate the watch and use it as remote shutter for taking photographs. There is also a setting to control permissions accessed by the app.
If there is one reason to consider Lenovo Ego Smartwatch HX07 then it must be battery life. I charged the watch on May 2, 2019 and have been wearing it daily, even while going to bed, and have continuous heart-rate monitoring enabled for all the time. Even then, I have 60 percent of battery life, left on the wearable. Lenovo claims up to 20 days of battery life and I am inclined to believe that it will last at least 10 days with continuous heart-rate monitoring and can be pushed to 20 days without heart rate monitoring. Lenovo has embedded a powerful battery inside its Ego smartwatch and it just delivers. If I must do some nitpicking, then I will say that the charging mechanism could have been better. The magnetic charging cradle does connect to the smartwatch, but it is positioned in such a way that it could get displaced easily but since you would be charging it once every 10-15 days, it is not a deal breaker.
Should you buy?
I am in that camp of people who believe that smartwatches are yet to offer one feature that make them a must buy device. With Apple Watch Series 4, Apple has made significant strides in converting it into a major fitness and health device but its rivals, Samsung and Fitbit, are still focused on fitness tracking data that has little or no impact on your daily life. Smartwatches and most wearables lack one feature that make them worth putting your hard earned money into and until they start recording some of your health vital with clinical accuracy, it would be fine to not buy one.
However, a wearable like Lenovo Ego smartwatch falls in a segment where they try to offer features found on expensive wearables and yet cost the same amount of money that you would have to spend on an analog wrist watch. This makes for a promising device which serves as a watch for most part and then does additional things like tracking your steps, heart rate and sleep cycle. While these data may not be accurate, you can always ignore and use it a regular watch and at least, I intend to do so.