It seems like a very long time since Puma signed its 10-year partnership with the Fossil Group – and, after 18 months of labor, we now have the primary piece of package from the brand new duo, the Puma Smartwatch.
The uninteresting title would not give an excessive amount of away, however, expectedly, Puma’s first foray into the world of smartwatches focuses totally on exercises and exercise.
That is a troublesome space to compete in these days, with the Apple Watch Collection Three and Fitbit Versa 2 locking up the funds finish and the Apple Watch Collection 5 remaining the undisputed ruler of something above $200.
The Puma Smartwatch sits in the midst of this pack. It is a£249, operating Google’s Wear OS and debuts with GPS, coronary heart price monitoring and a swim-proof design. That basically places it head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Lively 2, which appears essentially the most pure various look ahead to Android smartphone customers.
Does it do sufficient to justify its place among the many sports-focused smartwatches? We have been residing with the Puma Smartwatch with a view to discover out.
Puma Smartwatch: Design
We first noticed the Puma Smartwatch again at IFA in September, and our preliminary impressions had been beneficial – this appeared like a stable first effort from the design staff.
That was with the white mannequin, which includes a rose gold trim across the bezel, although there’s additionally a black variation with a gray bezel and, our assessment mannequin, the enough-to-blind-you yellow.
Selecting up this mannequin is, clearly, a courageous determination, however bear in mind the straps are interchangeable. If you happen to simply need that yellow/black bezel, you may merely scout round for a much less jazzy band.
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When it comes to specs, although, all three fashions are the identical. You get a 44mm face (so, not one of the best for these with barely smaller wrists, but additionally not a behemoth), a 1.19-inch AMOLED show (with the choice for an always-on display) and an 11mm thick case that is additionally waterproof to 5ATM.
That is skinny, matching across the identical thickness as one thing just like the Fitbit Versa 2, which additionally means you should not end up catching it on keyboards, doorways and, nicely, anything life throws at you.
Like the remainder of the Wear OS clan, Puma’s watch has little design options to assist it stand out from the remainder of the pack. The bezel is accented with the long-lasting Puma emblem, which can be matched by the identical element on the adjoining facet.
Once we had one other mess around with the Puma Smartwatch on the sports activities model’s headquarters in Nuremberg in October, the design started to remind us of the Fossil Sport and Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3.
That is doubtless Fossil Group’s affect within the design course of, which, once we requested Puma’s world artistic director, Torsten Hochstetter, was described as a “very 50-50” partnership.
In all, we expect it is a stable design for lively customers. It nonetheless would not essentially blow us away, nevertheless it does obtain precisely what it units out to, and that is remaining gentle, but sturdy, for exercises and each day use.
And there might be extra growth in design in future gadgets, although Hochstetter indicated it isn’t clear whether or not Puma shall be with identical yearly cycle as the remainder of Fossil Group’s companions.
“We have to get suggestions from this primary watch. Issues evolve so shortly and we simply have to spend our time actually ensuring that no matter we put out there’s true to what Puma is all about,” he mentioned.
Puma Smartwatch: Options and Wear OS
It could include a svelte design, however there’s nonetheless a decent quantity of options locked contained in the Puma Smartwatch – GPS for location monitoring, NFC for contactless funds and a coronary heart price monitor.
This could come as no shock, clearly – these options have been commonplace in Fossil Group’s companions for the reason that final era, however they’re nonetheless important in a fitness-first smartwatch.
Sadly, although, as we level out with each watch operating the software program (and there is tons), Wear OS is simply not an amazing expertise.
It is undoubtedly change into extra highly effective and speedy with the introduction of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 processor, nevertheless it’s a far cry from what you get with Apple, Fitbit and extra.
And this is not essentially a criticism of the apps, watch faces or extra low-level smartwatch capabilities – all that stuff is okay, and doubtless on par with all however Apple.
That is actually extra about health and well being monitoring, which is held again by the mind-numbing usability of Google Match and the limitless cohort of on-watch (Google Match Exercise, Google Match Exercise, Google Match Breathe) and smartphone cronies (Google Match and Wear OS by Google) required to get essentially the most out of it.
Once more, repeating what we have mentioned in different evaluations, issues are undoubtedly higher than a few years in the past, however there’s far an excessive amount of emphasis on Transfer Minutes and Coronary heart Factors.
If you happen to care about sleep monitoring, your resting coronary heart price or really need to choose some well being and exercise objectives (like, say, you may on Fitbit), Google Match cannot do a lot for you.
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There’s nonetheless a particularly questionable steadiness between simplicity, which is important once you’re making an exercise watch aimed largely at informal sporty varieties, and in-depth each day exercise suggestions, required to maintain folks invested over the long-term.
As we are saying, issues like Google Pay, Google Assistant and Tiles are good options we will dwell with, however the Puma Smartwatch – and another sporty Wear OS watch – has an innately low ceiling on account of Google Match’s limitations.
Now, you could possibly make the argument the Puma Smartwatch also needs to have the identical new options as Fossil Gen 5, too, however, actually, that is the inclusion of a speaker and a few barely improved internals. It ought to undoubtedly have the most recent options, we simply do not think about it a dealbreaker on this occasion.
Puma Smartwatch: Monitoring
On this part, we sometimes showcase just a few graphs evaluating how the watch compares to a rival gadget – on this case, we had been testing the Puma Smartwatch towards the Fitbit Versa 2 and Apple Watch Collection 4.
Nevertheless, such is the demented nature of current day Wear OS and Google Match, our two check runs with the gadget have seen us encounter two totally different, but equally catastrophic, issues.
First, GPS. We had been testing the Puma’s location accuracy towards the Apple Watch Collection 4. To take action correctly, the gadgets must be away from a cellphone and brought on a run. Easy sufficient, proper?
Unsuitable. Whereas Apple’s smartwatch is ready to independently discover a sign inside round 5 seconds of indicating you need to begin a exercise, the Puma Smartwatch couldn’t.
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It took round two minutes of wanting on the ‘Buying GPS’ tag for us to lose endurance, earlier than beginning the run with out sign after which getting a buzz on our wrist a minute or so later.
Probably, this was to point it had discovered the sign – nonetheless, if it will possibly’t, distance will nonetheless be estimated. We’re nonetheless undecided whether or not it tracked via the accelerometer.
GPS inconsistencies – or simply flat-out refusal to work – is not only a downside on this watch; just about each gadget for the reason that arrival of the Fossil Group’s Gen Four has struggled with this. And that is to not say each gadget will undergo the identical points, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly one thing to remember.
Nevertheless, that is additionally compounded by the second downside – syncing.
Publish-workout, we might have often been in a position to examine if the Puma tracked our location, however no matter train we did monitor on the watch refused to sync via to Google Match on our cellphone. This can be a new downside, and one we have not encountered earlier than on a Wear OS gadget, however we won’t say we’re shocked.
We examined the Puma Smartwatch with an iPhone, which admittedly is not as pleasant with Wear OS as Android smartphones, however, frankly, this actually should not be a difficulty, both.
For what it is value, the info the Puma Smartwatch did accumulate (which we will see on the watch) appeared bang according to the 2 smartwatches we examined towards. Common coronary heart price was inside 1-2 BPM of the Fitbit, and placement was inside 0.1km of the Apple Watch.
Puma Smartwatch: Battery life
One of many plus factors within the newest generations of Wear OS – and sure because of the extra environment friendly Qualcomm processor operating the present – is the brand new battery modes.
Clearly, how a lot juice you get is relative to how closely you are utilizing the gadget, and this nonetheless cannot attain the week-long benchmark set by the likes of Garmin and Fitbit, nevertheless it’s good.
It means that you could have the selection to go for giant use and cost it again up the identical day, or you may strip again options like coronary heart price and the always-on show and get a few days.
It’s also possible to create a customized setting, if, say, your utilization is pretty constant and also you need to get via a sure interval with out having to cost it.
We discovered it to have provide round 24 hours in commonplace use, however the truth there’s now choices at your disposal to tune the gadget to your habits is a pleasant characteristic.
By Fossil Group
The Puma Smartwatch guarantees a lot on paper, however sadly falls sufferer to the identical points as different Wear OS gadgets. It is clear the Fossil Group and Puma have labored exhausting to develop a smartwatch that matches the lively person, but frailties with GPS sign and syncing shortly undo this. Merely, there’s higher choices obtainable from Apple and Fitbit for a less expensive value.
- Light-weight, sporty design
- Correct HR and GPS information
- Helpful battery modes
- GPS sign inconsistencies
- Google Match syncing points
- No speaker