HTC Grip hands-on
With the introduction of the RE camera last fall, it propelled smartphone maker HTC into a whole new segment – the lifestyle category. To an extent, HTC’s Zoe service kind of started the whole dive into the connected lifestyle segment, but it’s manifesting itself even more now with HTC’s first wearable. In partnership with Under Armour, the HTC Grip is a smart fitness tracker that’s GPS-enabled and works hand-in-hand with health and fitness network, Under Armour Record, to give fitness junkies all the data and information they need to keep track of their lifestyle habits.
Considering that this is a first time effort for the smartphone company, HTC’s brilliance in design shines with the HTC Grip. Undeniably a fitness band that goes around your wrist, the two-toned black and lime green color of the HTC Grip allows it to come off as a sporty styled accessory. The band is available in three sizes (small, medium, and large), where it features a rubbery finish to give it a rating of IP57 for water and dust resistance – though, it's not something that's meant to be submerged under water.
For the most part, the design is uniform, clean, and attractive. Sure, there’s a profound element of substance to the HTC Grip, but it’s not obnoxiously bulky like the Microsoft Band. To tell you the truth, we do like the textured pattern and straightforward design approach of the fitness band. In making it unique, it’s one of the few out there to offer built-in GPS for real-time tracking – as opposed to relying on an app. At the same time, the 1.8-inch 32 x 160 PMOLED curved display provides us with relevant information on the go. It looks pretty cool and it’s touch sensitive too, allowing us to view things like the time, date, message notifications, incoming calls, and other relevant fitness data. There’s a pleasant glow in the dark, as well as a strong potency under bright light.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to see how it sends data to an Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth – nor what the UA Record app has to offer in terms of fitness guidance or coaching. Naturally speaking, that has a lot of bearing because a fitness band is only useful when data compiled from it is put into meaningful work. However, if we’re to compare it to some of the more recently announced and released fitness bands, it’s missing a built-in heart rate sensor – albeit, Under Armour sells one of its own that could work with it.
Set to go on sale starting in spring of 2015 in the US, where it’ll be priced at $200, there’s no arguing that it’s attached with a premium price point. In fact, that directly puts it in the same price category as the Fitbit Surge. Hardcore fitness folks have plenty to choose from, so it’ll be intriguing to see the HTC Grip’s progress in attempting to be a force in the space – one that’s dominated by names such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and much more.