Vector Luna Review

Watch functionality

Vector's OS is quite barren in terms of features and apps and is no match for Android Wear or Apple's watchOS2

As mentioned in the introduction, one of the defining characteristics of the Vector Luna is its compatibility with all three of the major platforms—iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. This puts it in a rather unique position when compared with the majority of smartwatches on the market, which are generally limited to just two operating systems at best. All you need to establish contact with any popular smartphone, therefore, is Bluetooth and the VectorWatch companion app.

Unlike other smartwatch operating systems, the Luna's interface and feature set are pretty unimpressive and will require some getting used to if you're accustomed to Android Wear, for example. The basic premise of the system is that you can add up to 5 watch faces, any one of which different from the other, and navigate them by using the up and down buttons on the side of the watch. Depending on the watch face (of which about 20 are available in total), you can add different “streams”, which are just tiny widgets. For example, you can add a calories burned counter, steps, date, distance, stocks, weather, and that's about it. Some watch faces support up to 4 or 5 “streams”, but you can delete any of them to simplify the interface. Overall, these all look pretty utilitarian and dull.


Smart functionality 

Critically limited app selection

Whenever notifications hit your smartphone, a solid white line will encircle the outer bounds of the Luna's display, and the watch will vibrate. To explore notifications, you press the crown once. Pressing it a second time dismisses the notification. As long as you tick a setting within the companion app, dismissing a notification on the Luna will also clear it from your smartphone, which is great.

Only 8 apps in total are available for the Luna, and there's so little free space on it that you'll have to delete some of the default Vector apps (Timer, Alarm, Stopwatch) to install them. We tried the BBC and ESPN apps, both of which serve news titles that aren't even displayed in full if too long. You can't read the actual articles on the watch, nor is there a way to jump on your phone and start viewing them, making us wonder what the point is. All apps are essentially yet another watchface to cycle through and you navigate them using the up and down buttons on the side, but need the circular crown in the middle to enter them. Long press returns you back to the respective watch face.

Performance and Battery life

If you're coming from Android Wear or Apple Watch, you'll be blown away by the battery life.

Navigating around the interface of the watch isn't exactly slow, but it does not match the performance of competing solutions from Samsung and Apple. This is mostly the result of the slow response time of the E Ink display. Still, it was consistently reliable in our experience.

As for battery life, it's nothing short of mind-blowing, and is certainly in line with the marketed 30-day battery life. After a week of using it, we're only down to 81%, which is pretty amazing. For that reason, and we suppose in order to not clutter the display, there's actually no battery indicator in sight—it is shown only when charging.

Speaking of charging, Vector provides a tiny magnetic charger with a full-size USB port on the other side of it. Contact is established through the four pins that are supposed to easily attach themselves to their counterparts on the back of the Luna. Unfortunately, the magnet is attracted to the entire case, and since the (steel) charger is so small, successful contact is rather awkward to achieve. Thankfully, since you'll be charging this so rarely, it doesn't really matter. Still, Vector should improve on this with their next design.

Conclusion


When smartwatches first came out, there were three overarching questions in front of manufacturers, at least from our point of view: What are these things supposed to do? How do we design them? And how do we solve the problem of battery life? Vector solves two of these, but doesn't much bother with providing truly innovative functionality. So you can't Shazam a song, you can't send heart-shaped drawings to friends, and you can't control music playback. If those are among the things you want out of a smartwatch, the Luna isn't for you. The Samsung Gear S2, the LG Watch Urbane, the Motorola Moto 360, and the Apple Watch will all do that for you.

But if you're like us, and see smartwatches as more of an accessory that simply expands on the timekeeping paradigm with some neat extras, then the Luna is one way to go. With its industry-leading battery life and compatibility with all three major smartphone platforms, it's uniquely positioned. On the other hand, we don't quite like the pixelated display, nor the fat bezel around it, an we can't say it's very competitive in terms of pricing (starts at $299). For those reasons, and again—despite the incredible battery life—we can't rate it higher than far more feature-rich offerings like the Gear S2.

Pros

  • Unrivaled battery life
  • Water-resistant up to 5ATM
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Cons

  • Display resolution is on the low side
  • Very limited watchface and app selection
  • Very fat bezel surrounding the display
  • Friction between band and lugs results in annoying, creaky sound

PhoneArena Rating:

6.5

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