Vector Watch is a smartwatch company based in London, United Kingdom. They produce smartwatches that are designed to look sleek and modern while retaining their core purpose of telling the time. Unlike most smartwatches, the focus isn't on health or sport, but on being a subtle addition to the users' smartphone, which provides the benefit of not having to pull a phone out every time a simple task needs to be completed, such as changing a music track or checking the weather.
The company offers apps for all major platforms including Windows Phone, Windows 10, iOS and Android. We recently covered their new Universal Windows App that supports all Windows 10 devices, which comprises of Windows 10 Mobile, PC, HoloLens, Xbox One and the Surface Hub. A truly universal smartwatch.
Vector Watch sent us one of their Luna watches, in the Rose Gold colour variant, a couple of weeks ago. I've been giving the watch a run for its money for a couple of weeks now and it has become a go-to companion for my Lumia 950 XL, I almost feel lost without it. The Rose Gold colour on the clip shines brightly against any light and truly shows off the aesthetics of the watch, although, not so much when it gets fingerprints on it. In fact, fingerprints are so far my biggest annoyance with this watch - everything from the screen to the clip gets covered in them and they're stubborn to get off - a simple wipe with a cloth doesn't seem to clear it. Over time, this makes it particularly difficult to see what's being displayed on its screen.
It's power efficient
With this being a Bluetooth device, of which I have poor experiences when it comes to battery life, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) works. First off, the watch itself lasts around 30 days without having to be charged, according to the specifications - and that seems to be true - as I have only had to charge it when I first pulled it out of the box and have not even thought about charging it since. In terms of the 950 XL's battery, that's running well too; in fact, I don't notice any difference, the battery on my phone lasts just as long as it did before, around 24 hours with medium-heavy usage.
The Vector Watch App
The main point of the entire experience, however, is the app that comes coupled with it. The app acts as the centre hub, where every setting is managed as well as the Vector App Store. Upon first installing the app, I had to connect the watch to it. This was a fairly simple process; simply enable Bluetooth on my phone and then tap the watch code that is showing on the watch's screen. After that, it checked for updates, installed some new firmware and I was all set to go in around 10 minutes. My main use of a smartwatch is not for fitness but for productivity and making some tasks a little faster, so I decided to take a look at the Vector App Store. It doesn't have many apps currently, although, I've been informed that more apps will be added, such as Uber. In the meantime, there were apps for things such as BBC News, Music, Stopwatch, Alarms, and a Timer.
Vector App Store
I decided to install the Music and Alarm apps. The music app works as expected, it connects to the phone's music controls to display the current track playing, whilst also allowing you to pause, skip and rewind, all from the convenience of your wrist. I found that sometimes the music app wouldn't respond to my input, meaning I would, on occasion, still need to pull my phone out of my pocket. I then moved on to the alarm app, as I wanted a more direct way of waking me up for work in the morning and what better way than to vibrate my wrist?
The alarm app is quite straightforward. Tap 'Add', enter the time you'd like it to be set for and then type a name for it. My only issue with this is that it isn't clear if the alarm has been saved or not, there's no visual feedback or button to tap to save it, it just does it automatically in the background, which is fine. The next morning, I was awoken at 6AM to my wrist vibrating (in addition to the alarms I also set on my phone to wake me up, you know, just in case!). Pressing the main function button stopped the alarm and up I got; a simple, easy experience.
Streams of useful data
There's also a Streams feature, which effectively allows you to display certain pieces of information on the watch's display. I decided to show the weather for my local area as well as Microsoft's current share price (MSFT), followed by any upcoming Outlook Calendar events. At first, the weather refused to set-up correctly, it always threw an error about connecting to the server, luckily a quick reinstall of the app fixed this. Once that was done, the weather showed instantly on my watch face and gave me options to show just the temperature, in either Fahrenheit or Celsius.
The stocks stream works well - dragged it onto the watch face, typed in 'MSFT' and there we have it, Microsoft's latest share price showing on the watch's display, updating several times a day with the latest information.
I was sceptical that the calendar stream would work at first, as I wasn't sure if it would be able to detect Outlook Calendar, however, it did... with some problems. After first setting it up, my upcoming meeting event wasn't appearing on my watch face. Eventually, it did show up but not for long, it seemingly disappeared after a while. I decided to add a new event and see if that showed up - I received a similar experience, where sometimes it would show and other times it wouldn't.
A capable device, with room for improvement
Overall, my first impressions of the Vector Luna smartwatch have been fairly positive. It doesn't feel like it is ready for widespread consumer adoption due to inconsistencies in its UI, as well as the lack of visual feedback to actions. It also has several issues when adding certain streams, such as the Calendar stream, which could prove detrimental in day-to-day use for those needing to be aware of upcoming events. It does, however, have the foundations of a great platform already in place - with it offering a Universal Windows App, on top of a separate app for older Windows Phone devices. Vector also provides their Vector App Store and a developer centre for those wanting to create their own streams or watch faces, which is handy.
With a little more work and asking for feedback from users of the watch, it has the potential to be a good player in the increasingly busy smartwatch space. If I were to give the company a couple of points to focus on, it would be:
- Feature parity - it is obvious that there is disparity when it comes to the apps available for iOS and Android in comparison to the various Windows platforms
- User interface - text boxes don't state what they're wanting the user to input and there's a lack of visual feedback
Stay tuned for a full, in-depth review over the coming weeks as I get to grips with this device and work alongside Vector to offer an improved experience across the board.
Disclaimer: Vector Watch provided the Vector Luna smartwatch to us on a timed-basis to provide an unbiased review. The company has had no input in the content shown here and has only been provided with feedback throughout the experience. Your personal experience may differ from what is depicted here, however, this is the experience shown at the time of writing. Experience based on a Lumia 950 XL running the Anniversary Update.