After laptops and smartphones, Indian company Smartron is now getting into fitness gadgets. Their first device is a fitness band called tband and it can measure heart rate, sleep, steps and even the blood pressure. It is available at Rs4,999 on Flipkart.com.

Here is what we think about it.

The tband is not designed to impress and has very straightforward looks. There are no funky colour bands or straps to go with. But one can switch from the soft black strap to the leather strap (bundled with the pack). The tband’s main body includes a 0.96-inch screen carved inside a metal frame with steel buckle. This gives it a rugged and solid feel.

There are no physical buttons on the tband and the screen doesn’t support touch input. One can toggle through the various screen readings by tapping on the metal sensor next to the screen. To change time and date user needs to connect it to the thealth app (free; Android, iOS) via Bluetooth. Pairing is easy and quick, but the band needs to be fully charged.

There are two light sensors at the base for tracking heart rate. When combined with the metal sensor next to the screen it can calculate blood pressure.

The tband looks a little thick compared to a regular fitness band, but it doesn’t feel heavy. It comes with IP67 rating which means it is water proof up to 1 metre, but you can’t take it for swims.

Basic functionalities such as steps counter, distance and sleep quality tracker work fine. The readings were close to the steps and distance data on the Google Fit on the smartphone. It can also serve as an alarm and send alerts for long durations of inactivity by user. When connected to a smartphone, tband can provide alerts for incoming call and messages. The other advantage of linking with the app is the access to all the historical data collected by tband. It shows all this data in a neat and easy-to-understand layout.

There are two light sensors at the base of Smartron tband for tracking heart rate.
There are two light sensors at the base of Smartron tband for tracking heart rate.

The tband’s key highlight is the blood pressure monitor and to calculate that it relies on the two sensors on the back and the one on front. The front sensor uses ECG (electrocardiogram) electrodes while the back sensors use PPG (photoplethysmograph) electrodes to measure PWTT (pulse wave transit time), which is a non-invasive method to measure sudden changes in blood pressure.

The PPG electrode first illuminates the skin to see the changes in light absorption to determine the fluctuations in blood volume. To get the ECG reading, user will have to place their finger firmly on the front facing sensor. Slightest of shakes can disrupt the reading prompting user to start the process again.

• The blood pressure readings were not exactly the same when we compared their readings with a cuff based blood pressure machine. However, the readings were quite close enough for a reference.

• Its battery backup is lower by the standards of a regular fitness band without BP or heart rate sensor. It barely lasted two to three days on single charge. Charging is simple and requires to be placed on the magnetic charging dock available with the band.

While we have seen fitness bands with heart rate sensors at this price point, the only other band which can measure blood pressure is the Riversong Wave BP (Rs 3,299). It comes at a lower price tag, is water proof and uses PPP sensors to measure BP.

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