Activité Pop Review: Hands-On With Withings' Simple and Stylish $149 Activity Tracker

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Apple Watch is fantastic because it lets you receive notifications, communicate with friends, access apps from your iPhone, and record a wealth of activity-related data, but it's also a device that requires a heavy amount of interaction.

It demands that you look at your wrist when you receive a notification, it taps you on the arm when you're not standing up every hour, and it often reminds you about your fitness goals. It needs to be charged every night and it has to be taken off with every shower, so in short, it's not a device you can slap on your wrist and forget about.

For that reason alone, not even taking cost into account, the Apple Watch is not a device that's suitable for everyone. There are many people who may prefer smart devices and activity trackers that require far less interaction and our Withings Activité Pop review is aimed at those people.


The Activité Pop is almost the exact opposite of the Apple Watch. Where the Apple Watch commands your attention, the Pop unobtrusively integrates itself into your life -- you don't need to charge it, it's waterproof so it can be worn at all times and never removed, and you only need to glance at it when you want to know the time or your progress towards your daily movement goal.

Design

The Activité Pop has a gender neutral design that harkens back to the simple plastic analog Swatch watches that were popular in the 80s and 90s. It's a modern take on a classic watch with clean lines and colors that fit a range of tastes: Bright Azure, Shark Grey, and Wild Sand. The Pop is monochrome -- watch faces match watch bands.

With the blue watch, for example, the face and band are both blue, giving it an understated look that's not going to draw attention to your wrist. The available colors are benign enough to match most outfits, and the tasteful design doesn't stick out at the gym or at the office.


I have a small wrist (137mm or about 5.4 inches) and the Pop fit well (if a bit loose) on the second-to-last wrist band hole. The watch face did not look overly large on my wrist, nor did it look too small on someone with a larger wrist. I found it to be similar in size (33mm) to the 38mm Apple Watch, but slightly wider and shorter due to the round face.


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Article Link: Activité Pop Review: Hands-On With Withings' Simple and Stylish $149 Activity Tracker
 

Nykwil

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2002
1,010
23
Boston, MA
I wonder if Withings fixed the problem w/ the "Pop" in their Pop line of watches yet.



Extreme temperature changes will cause thermal shock to break the "crystal"
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,618
3,225
California
I wonder if Withings fixed the problem w/ the "Pop" in their Pop line of watches yet.

Image

Extreme temperature changes will cause thermal shock to break the "crystal"
Yeah, they did fix this. They updated the glass, models with the new glass have a blue dot on the packaging.
 

Iconoclysm

macrumors 68020
May 13, 2010
2,419
1,673
Washington, DC
My first impressions of this last summer were that it was the way to go as far as a smart watch went. Enough time with Band and Watch have changed my mind.
 

Karma*Police

macrumors 68000
Jul 15, 2012
1,894
1,386
Apple Watch can be set up to require as much or as little interaction as you'd like. And you still have quick access to info like the weather, stocks, health activity, etc. I think comparing a health tracker (with a clock) to a smartwatch is apples and oranges.
 

diegogaja

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2009
360
163
It demands that you look at your wrist when you receive a notification, it taps you on the arm when you're not standing up every hour, and it often reminds you about your fitness goals. It needs to be charged every night and it has to be taken off with every shower, so in short, it's not a device you can slap on your wrist and forget about.

The Watch doesn't DEMAND anything. It does what you've told it to. You don't have to look at it every time you get a message (gasp! Just like a phone!). You can turn off the stand reminders. I shower with it daily so, no, you don't have to take it off when you shower.
 

aajeevlin

macrumors 65816
Mar 25, 2010
1,028
423
I wonder if Withings fixed the problem w/ the "Pop" in their Pop line of watches yet.

Image

Extreme temperature changes will cause thermal shock to break the "crystal"
Haha, I was just about to post that. Either way, not dropping $150 for this one.

Also what is this: "Accurate heart rate monitoring through app"
This is not a function of the watch, it's from the iPhone using the app. How can you write it as one of the pro's for the watch? This is extremely misleading. I disagree with this statement.
 

ob81

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2007
1,406
356
Virginia Beach
I have the Activite and it is a great watch. I got the non-pop version because of the Swiss Made label. It is a great watch and I never took it off. It serves a different purpose than the Apple Watch. I have been wearing the Apple Watch since I got it, but after that initial newness wears off, I plan on alternating with the Activite depending on the situation. It is a really nice watch.
 

Nykwil

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2002
1,010
23
Boston, MA
Haha, I was just about to post that. Either way, not dropping $150 for this one.

Also what is this: "Accurate heart rate monitoring through app"
This is not a function of the watch, it's from the iPhone using the app. How can you write it as one of the pro's for the watch? This is extremely misleading. I disagree with this statement.
Agreed. Everything the watch does, the app does alone through your phone.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,618
3,225
California
Haha, I was just about to post that. Either way, not dropping $150 for this one.

Also what is this: "Accurate heart rate monitoring through app"
This is not a function of the watch, it's from the iPhone using the app. How can you write it as one of the pro's for the watch? This is extremely misleading. I disagree with this statement.
I don't think this is misleading. If you purchase the watch, you have to install the app, and this is a nice feature within that app that complements the function of the watch. A perk in an app you *have* to use with the watch is worth a mention, especially as it's a useful feature.

The Pop and the Health Mate app are inextricably linked and I'd argue that a feature in the app is a feature for the Pop and its ecosystem.

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Any word on what kind of material?
Not a new material, but a revised manufacturing process. During production, manufacturing equipment was putting stress on the glass, weakening it.

http://www.cnet.com/news/withings-addresses-shattered-activite-pop-watches/
 

extricated

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2011
438
55
Arkansas
If, and that's a very big "if", Apple had not developed a smart watch (which I now own and love), then this from Withings would be perfect for me.
 

Nykwil

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2002
1,010
23
Boston, MA
Not a new material, but a revised manufacturing process. During production, manufacturing equipment was putting stress on the glass, weakening it.

http://www.cnet.com/news/withings-addresses-shattered-activite-pop-watches/

What about the movement? What's the difference between the Pop and the more expensive @$450 swiss-casing and swiss-glass only model? Does that one have a swiss movement, or are they both the same movements? Is it quartz? Also, why does their cheaper digital Pulse O2 device, have more onboard monitoring features that aren't in-app only like their watches? Seems to be the better deal there in the Pulse. Weird pricing structure. Seems they value form over function...with function being put...on your phone...the more you pay.
 
Last edited:

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,925
3,788
After reading this MR review, I went to my local Best Buy last night and bought one of these. So far, I like it.

Time is kept in sync automatically with my iPhone, it's waterproof, and it keeps track of swimming, walking, running, step count, and sleep. Those are the only things I need a fitness tracker to track (I don't do cycling). As a bonus, I can tell at a glance how I'm doing on my daily step count with a quick glance at the dial on the watch face. I like that everything on the watch face is analog.

The single biggest reason this particular watch/tracker interested me is that it runs for ~8 months on a standard watch battery. That's very handy since I didn't want to have something else that needed to be charged daily or weekly.

I plan to wear it 24/7 so I should know within a week or two if it's a keeper. So far, it looks promising.
 

inscrewtable

macrumors 68000
Oct 9, 2010
1,627
390
Gender neutral? It's looks a bit masculine on a girl's wrist and it looks a bit feminine on a hairy arm. More like gender confused.


so it can be worn at all times and never removed
That's gonna get stinky after a while.
 

waldobushman

macrumors regular
Mar 3, 2011
110
0
Generally agree

Because there was no way I was going to buy the Apple Watch, as soon as the Pop was available at Best Buy, I bought it (I received an email from Withings that said it was available at my local store; wasn't yet on display and the clerks didn't know about it yet).

I own both the Withings scale and their blood pressure device, and like them both, so the Pop for me as an easy sell. I can confirm the writers review that I always fell asleep in 2 minutes. Of course, no way is that true, and the sleep cycle stuff I had no confidence in.

I bought the watch primarily for its promise that it would track swimming activities. Doesn't seem to as yet.

I have to admit, the author did put the Pop in perspective, as being an activity tracker of sorts with a watch face.

Well, I did what I said I wouldn't do, and got the Apple Watch. Ordered it online for Father's Day on April 27, but received it a week later. So, I got a $600 watch and my wife got a card for Mother's Day. Seems fair.
 

Benjamin Frost

Suspended
May 9, 2015
2,405
4,999
London, England
I much prefer the look of this to the Apple Watch. That photo just emphasises how ugly and naff the Apple Watch looks.

I notice that the Apple Watch strap end looks like a penis.
 

mazz0

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2011
1,951
1,176
Leeds, UK
What about the movement? What's the difference between the Pop and the more expensive @$450 swiss-casing and swiss-glass only model? Does that one have a swiss movement, or are they both the same movements? Is it quartz? Also, why does their cheaper digital Pulse O2 device, have more onboard monitoring features that aren't in-app only like their watches? Seems to be the better deal there in the Pulse. Weird pricing structure. Seems they value form over function...with function being put...on your phone...the more you pay.
If it auto-corrects several times a day does the movement matter? It's effectively digitally controlled.

----------

The Watch doesn't DEMAND anything. It does what you've told it to. You don't have to look at it every time you get a message (gasp! Just like a phone!). You can turn off the stand reminders. I shower with it daily so, no, you don't have to take it off when you shower.
Exactly what I was thinking. So far the only reason I've heard people suggest for not wearing it in the shower is that Siri doesn't work while there's water in the mix hole. Oh no!
 

iKen1

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2012
81
34
I much prefer the look of this to the Apple Watch. That photo just emphasises how ugly and naff the Apple Watch looks.

I notice that the Apple Watch strap end looks like a penis.
If your, or your friend's, penis looks like the end of an Apple Watch you need to seek urgent medical advice. :eek:
 
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