Bangalore based Smartron calls itself India’s first global OEM and IoT brand. True to their name, the company has dabbled in a range of products including the t-book and the t.phone. The products might not have been smash hits in the market but they’ve certainly proven that Smartron has some good ideas and the capability to deliver on those. The Smartron t.band is the company’s entry into the wearable space and here too, the promise goes beyond what the competition offers. The Smartron t.band claims to track not just the standard measurements like steps, exercise, heart rate and sleep but also your blood pressure. Does it deliver? Let’s find out in our review.
Amongst budget fitness trackers, there’s not a lot of design differentiation. Within the constraints of having a small screen, the need to fit all relevant sensors while keeping the entire device compact, understandably there’s not too much that can be done. The Smartron t.band does try to take a somewhat unique approach towards design but unfortunately falls flat.
Like any other fitness band, the core of the design is a central rectangular module. This is encased within a stainless steel shell with a shiny sheen to it. The 0.96 inch OLED panel stands proud of the body. The monochrome screen has a resolution of 128×64 pixels which shouldn’t matter much since it’ll just display basic text. The screen is pretty visible outdoors but under bright sunlight we found it to be a bit dim. The lower half of the screen has a stainless steel plate that does double duty as a touchpad as well as the sensor for capturing blood pressure data. You’ll need to tap the touchpad to cycle through different menu items. There is a bit of latency between touching the steel pad and relevant on-screen action.
The silicon band bundled in with the fitness tracker is utilitarian but looks decent enough. Smartron sent along a spare leather band that looks much better. There’s also a number of colored bands that you can buy separately to personalise your fitness band. The t.band uses a standard 18mm quick release pin style strap so you go ahead and buy any watch strap off the internet and it’ll work just fine with your fitness band. All said and done, the Smartron t.band is definitely not going to win any beauty contests but is pretty comfortable for all day use. Hide it under a shirt and you’ll hardly notice it there.
Slimmer than our Fitbit Charge 2 and lighter as well, you won’t have any issues keeping it on even when you’re asleep. The IP67 rating makes the t.band a truly all-condition fitness tracker.
The Smartron t.band is capable of measuring your heart rate, steps, calories burnt, blood pressure and even heart rate variability. Except, it doesn’t really do that.
We’ve been wearing both our Fitbit and the t.band simultaneously for the last few days to do a comparative analysis of the tracking. Unfortunately, the t.band fails miserably at giving reliable data. On one occasion it calculated a total of 157 steps over the course of a full day. This despite a multi kilometre walk.
Unlike most activity trackers, the Smartron t.band has a single fitness mode that can be activated by long pressing on the relevant screen. We ran a couple of laps around a known park. The Fitbit was in connected GPS mode while the t.band was set to exercise mode. After a 30+ minute workout, the Smartron t.band once again showed 0 steps taken. Meanwhile, we had clocked more than 5000 steps over the 4 kilometre run according to the Fitbit. The t.band is not the watch to carry if you are training for a marathon.
Now, one of the key highlights of the Smartron t.band is the ability to analyse your blood pressure using PWTT or Pulse Wave Transit Time. PWTT is measured by the constant monitoring of ECG and pulse wave. You’ll need to press down on the touchpad for 30 seconds for it to analyse your blood pressure. Compared to a standalone blood pressure monitor, the readings were off by 10-15% on average but that’s understandable. What isn’t though are the wildly inaccurate readings generated every few times.
HRV or Heart Rate Variability is the other statistic that can be calculated by the watch. HRV calculates the variations between your beat to beat interval. We have no way of checking if this data is accurate. The watch also measures your stress and fatigue levels. Now, I do lead a fairly stressful life but I doubt even I would call myself tensed the moment I wake up. And after 4 hours of sleep, I certainly wasn’t feeling tired or fatigued.
The Smartron t.band fails to perform the very basic functions of an activity tracker. It regularly skipped out on counting steps and sleep. The exercise mode too was erratic.
Blood pressure readings were relatively reliable but if you need to track your blood pressure as part of your health requirements, this is not going to cut it. Which brings us to the question, should you shell out Rs. 4,999 for the Smartron t.band? No. The erratic data makes it an instant no go in our opinion. The similarly priced Honor Band 3 is a much more reliable option while the Mi Band 2 too does the job at half the price. In other words, steer clear of the Smartron t.band.