Entry-level fitness bands are a rage these days. However, they can be a bit restrictive due to the small screen. That is where the entry-level smartwatches are making a strong case for themselves.
Available on Flipkart at ₹2,999, Lenovo's Carme is one such option that offers the features of smartwatch at the price of a fitness band. It offers a big enough 1.3-inch colour LCD display nestled at the top of the square metal casing that curves just enough around the edges to tone down the sharp looks. The case also looks thin and light, which will endear it to users who prefer light smartwatches. The rubber strap enhances flexibility and also feels comfortable around the wrist.
Adding to the watch’s ruggedness is the water proofing. It is IP68 certified, which means users won't have to put it away when washing hands or taking a swim.
In terms of features, it is placed between a fitness band and a full-fledged smartwatch. What it misses out on is the touchscreen, leaving users with a tiny circular touch button at the bottom of the screen to navigate through the smartwatch’s various screens and features. There are two physical control buttons that function as return and screen lock/unlock keys.
The circular touch button responds promptly to the swipe up/down and left/right gestures, but the long press to select an option is a bit inconsistent and simply no match to the comfort factor that a touchscreen brings to the table. Among rivals, Amazfit Bip has a touchscreen but it costs a bit more at ₹4,599.
Lenovo Carme’s 1.3-inch LCD screen feels a lot roomy than a fitness band, but it its slightly smaller than 1.28-inch screen on the Amazfit Bip. Also, its screen looks dull, even at maximum brightness, but the black background ensures the on-screen content remains clearly legible in outdoor conditions. The Amazfit Bip has an e-Ink screen that stays on even when the screen is switched off. The Carme can detect position and if the user raises hand, it automatically lights up the screen to show time, date and steps.
The UI on the Carme is custom built and easy to operate. It has dedicated screens for tracking steps, sleep, training and measuring heart rate. Like all smartwatches, it can be paired with any Android smartphone and Apple iPhone and used for checking call and message alerts. On the smartphone app, users can get a detailed report of their progress over several days. Customisation options are limited to a few bland looking watch faces. Battery backup is impressive and we got 5 to 6 days out of it with ease. The readings for heart rate, steps and sleep are by and large dependable enough for reference purpose and are in the vicinity of other fitness bands and smartwatches.
Overall, Carme impresses with its polished looks, easy to use UI, dependable battery and water proofing capabilities. The lack of touchscreen is a bit frustrating and is reason enough to check out other options like the Amazfit Bip.