Fastrack launched its first fitness-focused wearable last month with the hope to carve its place in the wearables market. The company wants to focus on youth and leverage the brand popularity to gain a foot-hold in the market. Fastrack has emphasised that it has focused on keeping the cost down and to introduce a stylish product to make it lucrative for youngsters.
One thing to note is that this is not the first wearable by the parent company, Titan. The company launched its first wearable smartwatch Titan Juxt Pro, last year. However, Reflex seems to be a completely new product without any inspirations in the design and the platform.
Fastrack’s focus on keeping the prices down has put Reflex in direct competition with the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 as both of these wearable devices are in the same price bracket while providing similar features.
So for this review, I will be comparing Fastrack Reflex with the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. I have used all the three generations of Mi Bands from the time the Mi Band launched in India almost three years back. So let’s dive in to see how Fastrack Reflex performs when compared to Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Build and Design
Fastrack has focused on the build quality and design to make sure that the new product by the company stands out in the crowded wearable market. Fastrack has also paid attention to the texture of the band and even the dual-tone colours, Reflex comes with a touch sensitive button on the front which is used to cycle between different screens.
The combination of the textured strap along with the watch like form-factor does look good but the fact remains that it does not translate much into practical usage. By practical use I mean that the ‘style’ factor does not make my usage of the band more easy or convenient. One of the main concerns for me with this textured strap is that dust gets accumulated on the textured surface of Reflex after continued usage.
The only way to stop this is by cleaning it regularly in the morning with water and hope that not much dust enters inside the designer cavities of the design. Other factors of design are completely subjective to the users and may change according to individual preferences. I would much rather prefer the tablet-like design of the Mi Band 2 than the wider smartwatch-like design of the Reflex.
The build quality of the Reflex is good and the company has used a relatively sturdy variant of the rubber to make the strap to give the product an overall solid feel.
Everything observed and said, Fastrack Reflex has a major ‘flaw’ as it tries to call itself a fitness tracker. The flaw that I am referring to here is the fact that this device is splash-resistant with IPX6 rating to some extent but beyond that, it would not be able to resist water and it definitely is not water-proof.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 comes with a waterproof body along with the IP67 rating. This means you can bring your Band 2 in the shower or hold it under running water without worrying about anything. This is one of the most basic hardware features that fitness trackers should have, specially as perspiration is the first thing that can interfere with the working of any electronics on your wearable.
Another glaring concern which ties in with the lack of waterproofing or extended water-resistivity is the presence of a full-sized USB port sticking out on one side of the fitness tracker. Now this may be convenient as people no longer need to carry a special adapter to charge Fastrack Reflex, the ease is a huge trade off in terms of the lack of waterproofing.
Fastrack Reflex comes with basic features starting with the Time function to show time in 12-hours or 24-hour format along, a fitness tracker that tracks the number of steps, distance, time of exercise, target progress during exercise and the number of calories burnt.
Other features include vibration alarm, sleep monitoring, reminders, unread SMS notifications and notifications to alert about phone calls. The fitness tracker can allow five alarms at the same time along with Sedentary Reminder that reminds you to start walking after a certain period of inactivity.
It comes along with a caller ID where it will show the name on the band if the name is saved in the English language otherwise the band will only show the phone number.
In comparison to the Reflex, Xiaomi Mi Band 2 does all that and more including tracking your heart rate. The company added a relatively new feature in one of the updates by the name of ‘Behavior tagging'. Xiaomi has gone further and integrated a social element by integrating WeChat, QQ and Sina Weibo options in the app.
Other features that are absent in Fastrack Reflex include Screen unlock, option to make the device discoverable, DND mode, Goal notification, ability to find the band, and the most important ‘Lift wrist to view info’ along with the ability to ‘Rotate wrist to switch info’.
Both Xiaomi Mi Band 2 and Fastrack Reflex come with monochrome OLED displays. The only difference between both the bands is the colour of the OLED display illumination, with Mi Band 2 emitting white light while Reflex emits blue light. The intensity of the lights in both is not too harsh. The display on the Reflex enters power saving mode after 15 seconds while the Xiaomi Mi band enters the power saving mode after 5 seconds.
‘Mi Fit’ app that controls the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 wins hands down in terms of the polish, responsiveness and is quite literally miles ahead in terms of the overall design.
The Reflex app that controls the Fastrack Reflex band looks unpolished in terms of design and the data sync too is unreliable at times as even after successful data sync it does not appear in the app. Sometimes there is a delay of 2-3 seconds before the data appears.
Both ‘Reflex’ and ‘Mi Fit’ have received two software updates in the one month that I have tested them and Xiaomi seems to have improved its algorithm to track automatic sleep and awake time while the ‘bug fixes’ don’t really seem to be helping Fastrack Reflex. One important thing to note here is that Xiaomi does not limit the amount of data and syncs all the data with Xiaomi cloud while Fastrack has limited the sync time to 90 days from the day you are using the Reflex band on the Fastrack servers.
The band itself can hold exercise data of 15 days at a time after which it starts overwriting the exercise data of the oldest day. The company needs to work quite a bit when it comes to the software quality of the app and make it more robust in Sync to eliminate the delays and failures in syncing the data.
Over the period of about a month, I have noticed that Fastrack Reflex tends to be over sensitive when it comes to tracking. It tends to track even when a person is travelling in a bus or a taxi on a smooth road. Sometimes it does not register the tracking at all and other times you can make it track false steps just by shaking the band in the air. Such behaviour is bad for a fitness tracker and undermines the entire experience of the product.
This is a far cry from the accuracy of Xiaomi Mi Band 2 which I have confirmed by manually counting the steps while walking back home from the office. Fastrack needs to up its game in tracking algorithms.
Fastrack Reflex lasts for about 15-17 days on one charge which is okay when it is compared to smart watches in the market. However, the battery backup pales in comparison to Xiaomi Mi Band 2 as the Band 2 lasts about 22-26 days on one charge including occasional heart rate readings.
The charging experience for the Reflex maybe much better as you simply need to plug into any standard USB port and it will charge the band in one hour but that takes away the water-resistant nature of the band as discussed above. Charging speed is the only good thing that I can talk about where Reflex beats the Band 2.
Verdict and Pricing in India
Fastrack Reflex is available on the online store of Titan for Rs 1,995 which is essentially the same as Xiaomi Mi Band 2 for Rs 1,999. With the price difference of literally Rs 4, there are few reasons for me to recommend Fastrack Reflex in place of Xiaomi Mi Band 2 to anyone out there.
Fastrack has tried to carve a niche userbase for youth but the lack of features, unpolished app, inaccurate tracking and the attempt to infuse 'style' that backfires ultimately, is something that the company needs to fix. It needs to improve the product on most fronts in the next iteration for me to take it as a serious contender in the fitness tracking wearables market.
Published Date: Apr 17, 2017 09:15 am | Updated Date: Apr 17, 2017 09:15 am