The company’s first smartwatch has a premium feel, rough edges and plenty of potential
Last week, local audio accessories company Boult Audio announced its foray into the smartwatch market with two devices – the Boult Drift and the Boult Cosmic – aiming to capture the entry-level segment.
The Drift is available in black, white, and silver gray, while the Cosmic is available in rose gold, blue, and black. The company said the launch price is Rs 1,999 for the Drift and Rs 1,499 for the Cosmic. I received a review unit of the Drift in Black, although the packaging sets the price at Rs 7,999.
I’ve been using the Drift since June 30 and have some thoughts:
This is where the smartwatch scores the highest points – its square aluminum case with rounded edges, a comfortable silicone strap and an almost dark gray black give the Drift a premium feel, so much so that it is hard to believe it comes at this price. I wore the watch continuously for 10 days, only taking it off when showering – the watch boasts IP68 water resistance, but I was reluctant to put it on. proof, of course – and the bracelets don’t rub against your skin. In fact, thanks to its lightness, I sometimes forgot there was a watch on my wrist. The watch survived a brief spell of rain when I was out walking, so the IP rating has some merit.
Design aside, that’s the one area that’s crucial in judging a smartwatch and, sadly, the Drift falls short in that department. There are lags and jerks when scrolling, and the watch’s almost complete reliance on its companion smartphone app for a holistic experience takes away from its primary health-tracking function.
Don’t get me wrong – the watch certainly lets you scroll sideways and then down to track different metrics – heart rate, sleep, activity, etc. – but the software’s lag and roughness make it a slow and frustrating experience. That said, the watch I received may have been on pre-release software and future updates will fix this issue.
Now what do I mean when I say the watch is almost completely dependent on its companion smartphone app? For starters, downloading the app is a confusing experience, at least on iOS. The documentation inside the box tells you to scan a QR code to go directly to the BOULTFIT app, but scanning the code takes you to the page for an app called “Da Fit” instead. It took me a long time and a lot of hesitation before downloading the application. Luckily, name aside, this appeared to be a legit app that has three simple tabs: watch settings, personal profile, and health tracking.
The first two are self-explanatory. The watch settings allow you to configure the watch according to your personal needs, such as notifications, watch face, etc., as well as update the software of the watch. Some software design elements seem heavily inspired by the Apple Watch, like the charging indicator, the three activity rings, and more.
The health settings tab was, for me, the most frustrating part. Metrics such as monitoring blood oxygen (SpO2), heart rate, sleep and blood pressure can only be triggered using the app – the watch will then measure the metrics and send data to the phone app, which will then display the information. While the app interface itself is nice, what isn’t is the fact that you have to pull out your phone to check your vitals every time.
The watch faces are purely cosmetic. Although different faces display different information (steps, heart rate, time, date, battery level, etc.), they are not interactive. By this I mean the watch face is completely static – you have to scroll sideways through each section to see the data collected by the watch.
The data itself seems accurate enough – steps are counted and added to your daily tally in the blink of an eye, although sleep tracking can be hit or miss.
The device has a crown, but it only performs the function of a home/power button. You can only return to the home screen of the watch, or turn it off/on. While rotating, the crown cannot be used to scroll up or down.
The smartwatch also offers Bluetooth-enabled calling, but it essentially acts as a Bluetooth speaker for your smartphone. Not ideal, but a pretty good start.
The watch is also let down by its poor resolution. The screen is pleasantly bright, but the low resolution makes the user experience less than adequate. You can almost count individual pixels if you look closely enough.
Overall the user interface is not very intuitive and hopefully Boult will fix it through software updates or tweaking it in future versions of the watch.
This is the one area where Boult Drift takes gold – on a single charge, the battery, with regular use, lasted me about 8 of the 10 days of the review period. Coming from an Apple Watch user who needs to charge it at least once a day, the multi-day battery life was impressive, to say the least. This is an area Boult must not tinker with.
Boult got off to a decent start with the Drift, although the overall experience was somewhat lacking. But considering the price range and the target consumer, that’s hardly a complaint. That said, it’s a perfect match for all other first-gen devices – there are plenty of rough edges, but the foundation on which Boult can build its future devices is rock solid. The gist is there – it’s up to Boult to capitalize on it and keep releasing smartwatches that are an improvement over previous generations.